Bog Walk, St Catherine
On the road from Spanish Town to Ocho Rios, between Spanish Town and Ewarton
The Bog Walk gorge was formed by the Rio Cobre cutting a deep channel in to the surrounding rocks. The sides of this valley are comprised of towering rocks, reaching hundreds of feet in to the sky. Through the centre runs the mighty Rio Cobre (Spanish for "Copper River"). The river flows all year round and can become a raging torrent after heavy rainfall. The entire gorge is rich with lush and varied vegetation which makes for some impressive and dramatic scenery.
The Spanish name for the gorge was "Boca de Agua", meaning "Water's Mouth". After a period of British occupation, the name became corrupted to "Bog Walk". A road was cut through the gorge in 1770, making it one of the first roads to be built in Jamaica. The road has been upgraded and maintained since that date and today it is the main road linking the north and south coasts of Jamaica.
The main attraction for visitors to Bog Walk is the range of fruit available from road-side vendors. The bog walk area has many citrus plantations and vendors line the roads selling fresh fruit to passing traffic. Being situated on the main route from Kingston to Ocho Rios, Bog Walk is an ideal place to stock up on fresh fruit for your destination or for the journey. Vendors typically stock oranges, bananas, pineapples and sugar cane year round as well as many more seasonal fruits.
The other main industry in Bog Walk is dairy products, with Nestle having a milk condensary here.
The last point of interest in Bog Walk Gorge is the infamous "Flat Bridge". This bridge over the Rio Cobre forms part of the road through the Gorge. However, it is only wide enough to accommodate a single lane of traffic and has no side barriers, only stone bumps. For a long time there was no system in place to regulate the traffic and right-of-way over the bridge was determined by a battle of wills, with one motorist eventually having to reluctantly reverse back to allow the other to pass. Fans of the film "The Harder They Come" may recall the scene from the beginning where Ivan's bus gets held up on a bridge - this is flat bridge! However, during the 1990s a traffic light system was installed to ease the flow of traffic. The system works well but the bridge can still cause lengthy delays, particularly on Sunday afternoons when Kingstonians are returning from a weekend on the north coast.
Care should be exercised when crossing the bridge, partly because of the lack of side railings and partly due to the risk of flooding. When the Rio Cobre floods (which it often does), the water level can rise as high as the level of flat bridge. You should not attempt to cross the bridge in these conditions. Many brave / foolish motorists have attempted this over the years and the results are often tragic.© 2008 Jamaica Travel and Culture .com