La Grande Falaise (The Great Cliff)

La Grande Falaise (The Great Cliff)
Photo 4 of 25: La Grande Falaise (The Great Cliff)
Taken 2006 August 6 from Lighthouse Road west of Gros Cap on the north end of Chéticamp Island
1.1 km (0.7 mi) from the gate at the lighthouse compound
GPS 46°38.88?'N 61°01.02?'W

La Grande Falaise (”The Great Cliff”), seen in the middle of this photo, looms over many a view of Chéticamp; such is its size and height that it can be easily seen from a considerable distance down the coast! The Cabot Trail passes below it shortly after you enter the Cape Breton Highlands National Park from Chéticamp; there is a picnic area there where you can gaze up at it above you as you eat lunch or snack. But you really need to be some distance away to truly appreciate its massive size.

Almost in the centre of the photo, across the Cabot Trail from La Grande Falaise, is a much smaller cliff from which rises diagonally a hill known as Le Buttereau (roughly, ”The Big Hill”), easily seen here as it obscures the lower part of La Grande Falaise. A fine walking trail follows an old cart path (Le Chemin du Buttereau (”Buttereau Road”)) used by the early settlers to go from Cap Rouge (between Presqu’Île and French Mountain) to Chéticamp. Starting at its northern end, the trail ascends the hill (a brisk climb that leaves me puffing, but affords an excellent view of La Grande Falaise) and continues past the ruins of some of the homes of the early settlers; 3 km (1.8 mi) one way, it is a beautiful walk and, thanks to the interpretive panels at various points, an informative one as well. Birds and wild flowers are abundant in summer, adding to the interest. One can also start the hike at the southern end of the trail; this is an easier walk, as one can then avoid having to cross the hill itself. From the northern end of the trail, there are fine views of the coast, Pillar Rock, and the mouth of the Chéticamp River. This is a beautiful area well worth examining on foot and at leisure.