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Penguins and Battlefields

January 11th, 2012 No comments

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No one would ever go to the Falklands for either the weather or the view.  That at least has been the traditional opinion ever since Darwin commented on his first arrival, ‘scarcely any views can be more dismal than that from the heights: moorland and black bog extend as far as the eye can discern, intersected by innumerable streams, and pools of yellowish water….. These islands have a miserable appearance.’

Like the Hebrides though, catch them on a good day with a bit of sun and they have their own wild beauty.  Throw in some accessible colonies of penguins and you have the beginnings of a tourist trade;  a surprising amount of passenger boats now stop there for a combined ‘Penguin and Battlefield’ tour, with fish and chips in one of the pubs in Port Stanley afterwards.

One reason for the bitterness the islanders feel towards Argentina is apparent as soon as you drive out of Stanley – the amount of land that is still uninhabitable because of landmines, including many of the beaches which they used to play on as children. The cost, both human and economic, of trying to clear such large areas has proved too much.

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