Meadows Side Trails


The area at the foot of Beinn Bhiorach (Steep Mountain) adjacent to the mouth of MacKinnons Brook forms the locality of MacKinnons Brook, formerly a community inhabited until the early 1940’s, when its last resident, Hugh MacKinnon, “an elderly man by that time and a widower” was “taken away from his home by relatives who were concerned for his well-being.” [Liner notes to the CD, MacKinnon’s Brook Suite, composed by Scott Macmillan] According to an A. F. Church map dating from the 1880’s, in its heyday, the community had a store and numerous homesteads, as did Cape Mabou more generally. Today, this area is known as “The Meadows”: protected by the Nova Scotia Nature Trust, it is a flat, grass-covered area, colonized by numerous evergreens since its abandonment, that sits atop the cliffs that run along MacKinnons Brook as it reaches the Gulf and along the Gulf itself. A side trail from the MacKinnons Brook Trail leads to the edge of the cliffs above the Gulf, with a fork that descends the cliffs along MacKinnons Brook to the mouth of MacKinnons Brook. Both side trails are discussed here.
Google Maps Name
Not Shown
Local Usage
The Meadows side trails
Southeast to Northwest
Start Point
46°09.843′N 61°26.120′W on the MacKinnons Brook Trail, about 245 m (800 ft) northwest of the MacKinnons Brook Trail Head
End Point
Left fork: 46°09.957'N 61°26.324'W at the mouth of MacKinnons Brook; Right fork: 46°09.987′N 61° 26.279′W at the edge of the cliffs overlooking the Gulf
Left fork: 420 m (¼ mi); Right fork: 355 m (⅕ mi)
Hiking Trail
Grassy footpath; the left fork has a needle tread where it passes through the evergreens and then turns to gravel/stone as it descends to the brook
Route Description
From the MacKinnons Brook Trail, the grassy footpath heads across the vegetation on The Meadows towards the cliffs above the Gulf. Sometimes overgrown with rose bushes and exuberant grasses, the trail can be a bit hard to see in the early spring before it has well been trampled down, but you can’t go wrong if you just head towards the water. After passing along a strip of grass between two stands of evergreens, at about 280 m (⅙ mi) beyond the MacKinnons Brook Trail, you will reach the fork. The left fork passes through the trees to reach the edge of the cliffs above MacKinnons Brook, where it then descends sharply on a path down the cliffs to arrive at the side of the brook, which you can follow out to the mouth of the brook. If you instead continue straight ahead at the fork, you will shortly reach the edge of the cliffs above the Gulf.
Vic’s Scenic Rating
The cliffs are dangerous whichever fork you take. If you go straight to the Gulf, keep a safe distance (10 m/yd) back from the edge: the cliffs erode from beneath and, if you get right up to the edge, your weight might be just enough to cause the ground on which you are standing to give way. If you take the left fork to MacKinnons Brook, you will be between cliffs very close to the brook on both sides at the mouth. Be very attentive to the possibility of falling rocks! And watch your footing near the mouth, where the rocks can be quite slippery.
The grassy area beside MacKinnons Brook above the mouth is a favourite spot for a picnic lunch as you listen to the brook falling over the rocks and ledges on its way down to the mouth and to the waves splashing on the boulders at the mouth of the brook. It is a place I enjoy immensely each time I visit it. The views are much better, however, from the cliffs above the Gulf, where I could easily wool-gather for hours soaking in the fantastic scenery of the Highlands meeting the Gulf.

Photo Catalogue

Click on any thumbnail to be taken to the photo essay page for that photo.

Thumbnail Date GPS Locality Where Caption
../essays/2/thumbnails/p8042610.jpg 2005
46°09.940'N 61°26.285'W MacKinnons Brook at the end of the left fork of the side trail through “The Meadows” at the mouth of MacKinnons Brook MacKinnons Brook enters the Gulf of St Lawrence
../essays/2/thumbnails/p6241152.jpg 2005
46°09.957'N 61°26.324'W MacKinnons Brook at the mouth of MacKinnons Brook The coast to the north from MacKinnons Brook Mouth