While “Assorted Footwear Hill” doesn’t really have the same charm as “Boot Hill”, it would be a more accurate description of the assorted shoes on stakes that litter this Falkland Islands hilltop.
This isn’t the only place empty shoes have mysteriously accumulated. Across the U.S., fanciful shoe trees have periodically popped up here and there. In the case of the shoes on the Danube, the empty vessels were left there to honor thousands executed on the riverbank during World War II. Boot Hill has a couple of explanations, but as it often is with these kinds of communal effort of weirdness, nothing is known for sure.
Located between Port Stanley and the local airport, one of the explanations for Boot Hill is that retired employees posted at the airport leave a work boot behind on the hill as they move on. Another, slightly darker legend offers a story of a local man whose leg was blown off by forgotten landmines left by a tussle over the islands between the UK and Argentina. The injured man impaled his boot on the hill, and soon the staked boot was joined by a continuously growing number of sympathy shoes.
Perhaps the most likable legend surrounding the hill’s collection of assorted footwear is that if you leave your own behind as your visit to the islands come to a close, you are meant to return.
Know Before You Go
Off Darwin Rd, few miles outside of Stanley. Pay mind to the signs denoting areas with mines.