The beauty of Gibbet Island and its idyllic facing coves belies an ugly past. Its name refers to the gallows post that once stood on the island, a site where slaves and criminals were hanged, their bodies on public display as a warning to passing maritime traffic. Such history remains a sore spot for the island’s black—and white—communities in the ongoing effort to foster harmonious race relations over 170 years after Emancipation in Bermuda.
Today, Gibbet Island is owned by a private family trust, so the beach is officially off-limits, though the public Railway Trail runs through the land to Flatts Inlet. Here, a bridge once carried the train on to Shelly Bay and points further east. To recoup the trail, you need to retrace your steps, walk through Flatts Village and around the inlet, following North Shore Road into Hamilton Parish.
© Rosemary Jones from Moon Bermuda, 2nd Edition