Doyle’s Delight, with UTM
coordinates 1,824,500 North and 281,600 East (North
American Datum 1927. Zone 16N), lies on the Maya
Mountain Divide, approximately 6.5 kilometers north
of the eastern margin of Little Quartz Ridge, and
32 kilometers west-southwest of Richardson Peak.
With its elevation of 1124 meters, Doyle’s
Delight is the highest point in Belize. It is generally
assumed that the highest peak in Belize is Victoria
Peak but this peak is apparently slighty lower with
only 1120 m. Victoria peak which is located east
of the Maya Mountain Divide in the Stann Creek District,
is with clear weather quite visible from the coast
and shows a dramatic peak while Doyle’s Delight
is located on a less visible location and is part
of a more gently sloping range, not showing such
a dramatic peak.
The name Doyle’s Delight was first coined
in by Sharon Matola in 1989 and based on Arthur
Conan Doyle book "The Lost World" (1912),
which contains the quote "there must be something
wild and wonderful in a country such as this, and
we're the men to find it out!".
This name has meanwhile achieved widespread
acceptation. The official
Government of Belize Website lists Doyle's
Delight as the Highest Point for Belize and Belmopan, the
capital of Belize has a “Doyle’s Delight Street”.
Recently there has been an attempt to rename the peak to
“Kaan Witz” which is Maya for “Sky Mountain”.
But until now, this name has not found common acceptance.
A number of scientific expeditions have
aimed at Doyle's Delight. The latest one being an expedition
led by Sharon Matola in 2004 (Draft report from this expedition
can be downloaded here).
The latest expedition is the August 2007 one, again led
by Sharon Matola. As in the 2004 expedition, the focus was
on mycology but other disciplines were not forgotten. Below
is a group picture of all 15 participants also listing their
The Doyle's Delight 2007
team from left to right: Timothy J. Baroni - Mycology, Gregorio
Sho - Support Team, Sharon Matola - Team Leader, Paul Labus
- Lepidoptera, Peter Kovorik - Invertebrates general, Celso
Cawich - High Altitude Passilidae Coleoptera, Cathie Aime
- Mycology, Juan Sho - Birds, D. Jean Lodge - Mycology,
John Shuey - Lepidoptera, Shannon Kenney - Birds, Raul Balona
- Support Team, Colin Young - Botany, Jan Meerman - Ecology,
Ecosystems, Bruce Holst - Botany.
While the focus of the expedition was Doyle's Delight,
research and collecting took place in a total area of approximately
15 sq km2 (See map below). Largely,
the same trails were used as in 2004. While Doyle's Delight
is situated on the Maya Mountain Divide and is thus situated
on the boundary of the Cayo and Toledo Districts, by a curious
coincidence, virtually al the research took place in the
Cayo district (and therefore in the Chiquibul National Park).
This choice was partly by design (similar habitats (Little
Quartz Ridge) have been researched in the Toledo
District, but largely because the access from Doyle's Delight
into the Toledo District was much more difficult due to
the generally much steeper slopes.
View of Doyle's Delight and surrounding area. The
ridges are dominated by the palm Colpothrinax
Colpothrinax palm bending in the wind during the passage
of Hurricane Dean on August 21.
logistics were provided by British Forces Belize;
BATSUB 25 flight. With special thanks to Col. Peter
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