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In photos: Going home with Usain Bolt

Last updated on: August 12, 2017 22:45 IST

As the sprinter runs his last race, we veer off the trodden tourist trail in Jamaica and revisit his hometown, Trelawny Parish. 

Usain Bolt

Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters

For decades, tourists to Jamaica have flocked to Kingston city (Kingston Parish) and Montego Bay (St James Parish). But a journey to the Carribean island nation can no longer be considered complete without a stop in Trelawny Parish.

Less than an hour away from Montego Bay, Trelawny -- one of the 14 parishes that Jamaica is divided into -- is sedate, full of history and hidden gems, and the home of the world's fastest man.

Usain Bolt grew up here -- in Sherwood Content, a tranquil little village where his parents still live and the starting point of this journey.

Sherwood Content

The drive to Sherwood Content might not be the smoothest, but the smiling locals -- who are happy to point you to the Bolt legacies in their hometown -- more than make up for it.
Photograph: Ian Walton/Getty Images.

 

Usain Bolt Sherwood Content

You might run into Usain's mother, Jennifer Bolt, when you stop outside the family home.
Photograph: Ian Walton/Getty Images.

 

Usain Bolt Sherwood Content

Or meet his father, Wellesley Bolt, if you stop at the grocery store he owns.
Photograph: Ian Walton/Getty Images.

 

Sherwood Content is also home to the Waldensia Primary School and the Willam Knibb Memorial High School, which Usain attended and still returns to whenever he can.
Photographs: Ian Walton/Getty Images.

 

Usain Bolt Sherwood Content

You just can't miss Usain's presence in the village.
Photograph: Courtesy: @ulfsantjer/Instagram.

 

Cockpit Country

Sherwood Content is cradled in the south by Cockpit Country, which is an uninhabitable rainforest and, therefore, a natural reserve.
It is home to Jamaica's 27 endemic bird species (pictured above, a Jamaican Spindalis in Cockpit Country).
It is also inhabited by the swallowtail butterfly (the largest butterfly in the western hemisphere), yellow snakes, owls, bats, and frogs.

Cockpit Country with its huge trees, rocky cliffs and deep caves and near impenetrable terrain spread across two parishes became a haven for the Maroons (slaves who escaped to freedom) in the 1700s. The used to area to launch guerrilla raids on the British until the later gave in and signed a peace treaty in 1739.
Photograph: Courtesy: Ron Knight/Flickr.

 

Trelawny Caves

There are about 48 caves in Trelawny, including the well-known Windsor and Carambi Caves (known for its phosphate deposits). There are several other caves with carvings by the Taino, who were among the indigenous people of the Caribbean, on the walls.
Photograph: Courtesy: Kortniecoles/Instagram.

 

Usain Bolt Famouth

Some kilometres north of Sherwood Content is the picturesque town of Falmouth -- the capital of Trelawny. Trelawny was named after Sir William Trelawny, 6th Baronet, the then Governor of Jamaica, whose family had originated at the manor of Trelawny in Cornwall, England.
Photograph: Courtesy: Chad Sparkes/Flickr.

 

Martha Brae River

Falmouth sits cradled between the coast and the emerald Martha Brae River.
Though Usain recommended the shores of the river as a good running spot to a New York Times reporter who wanted to run in the spots where Usain ran, most tourists prefer to sit back and enjoy the river from a bamboo raft, oared by a gondolier.
The river lends its name to the town of Martha Brae, the parish's first capital. In fact, Falmouth, which later became the capital, was earlier called Martha Brae Point.
Photograph: Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons.

 

Famouth Burwood Beach

Falmouth is a good base to explore the uncrowded beaches of white sand and azure waters of the north coast -- like Burwood, five miles away.
Photograph: Courtesy: @aetoft/Instagram.

 

But it is also steeped in history (pictured above, the Parish Church).
Most of the town's Georgian architecture is crumbling, but the buildings represent both the fortunes (Trelawny was once Jamaica's largest sugar producing parish, and home to vast estates belonging to English landowners), and the misfortunes (there still remains a building that housed slaves) of those who lived in and built the parish.
Guided walking tours through the town give a peek into that rich history.
Photograph: Vincent Parsons/Flickr.

 

Falmouth port

The former slave port -- which, according to The Guardian received 'up to 30 boats a day' -- today welcomes tourists who arrive in cruise ships.
Photograph: Wikimedia Commons.

 

Famouth Trelawny

The visitors here have even included the likes of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales.
Photograph: Chris Jackson/Getty Images.

 

Falmouth stadium

Trelawny Parish is home to at least 12 world-class sprinters, including Ben Johnson, who was once the fastest man in the world, and 200m Olympic champion Veronica Campbell-Brown.
Another Falmouth highlight is the Trelawny Multi Purpose Stadium, which hosted the opening ceremony for the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2007.
Fun fact: This photograph from that time captured a match between West Indies and India.
Photograph: Paul Gilham/Getty Images.

 

Melia Braco

A good place to end the trip is lazing in the Melia Braco village in Rio Bueno, one of the deepest harbours in the island.
Photograph: Courtesy: Barney Bishop/Flickr.

 

Jamaican Jerk

And eat your self into a Jamaican Jerk coma.
Photograph: @thegrubfather/Instagram via @visitjamaica/Facebook.

Rediff Get Ahead Bureau