January 6 is the date of the annual Accompong Maroon Festival in the mountains, celebrating the victory over the British by the Maroon led by Colonel Kudjoe. Read more of the fascinating history here:
It was an adventurous ride up into the hills of Coptic Country (or Cockpit Country: look it up) on one-lane country “roads” with frequent two-way traffic, but worth the trip.
Though not as colorful nor well-presented as Sam remembered, Accompong provides a look into a singular independent culture preserved in a clean, lovely town. The Maroons paraded to music of drums and horns from the sacred burial grounds to the kindah tree, then up to a crowded street fair.
The drive back to Culloden was a big misadventure including two delays near the festival (one to move parked cars so the bus in front of us could pass through; another due to a wrong – way bus disabled by a busted clutch, and blocking all traffic).
But the highlight was what Sam termed “a right turn at the wrong time,” which led us on a winding, trying, rutted-road trip north (i.e. wrong way) across all the mountains of St. James to ….. Montego Bay. It took us a total of 4.5 hours to get back “home” via this scenic route, but we mostly took it gamely.
We are on vacation, mon, and every ting is every ting.