Twenty six is one of those numbers that seems to just be there :). It’s the atomic number of iron, so I’ll go with that connection.

Who has ever heard of Mont Nimba? It’s one of those astonishing places on Earth, being made almost totally of iron. When you pick up a piece of ‘rock’ it may be rusty looking, because…it’s iron, an estimated 6 billion tonnes of ‘ore grading 68% iron metal’. Literally, loads of iron. 

It’s located in the south-east corner of the Republic of Guinea, close to the borders with Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire. 

It’s certainly one of the world’s really picturesque places. 

But, apart from the enormous reserves of iron ore that’s there, which has been the bone of contention for years, because it’s also in a national reserve–a UNESCO National Heritage Site, and Strict Nature Reserve, it’s full of bio-diversity. It has endemic species such as the viviparous (giving live birth’) toad and chimpanzees that use stones as tools.

I went up the mountain in a four-wheeled vehicle, with my father, on his visit during my posting. It seemed that we were driving at a 45 degree angle for a long time. I remember my father wanting to take a piece of rock/iron as a souvenir, and a long discussion about whether that was allowed. He took it, and it sits in his home as a door-stop.

All a far cry, literally, from the rag and bone men who used to collect scrap iron on the streets of England, during my boyhood days.

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Any old iron?

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