Coast at L’Archevêque

Coast at L’Archevêque
Photo 16 of 30: Coast at L’Archevêque
Taken 2008 June 10 in L’Archevêque from L’Archevêque Road near its end
GPS 45°37.62?'N 60°34.58?'W

3 km (1.9 mi) beyond Fergusons Lake, a side road leads off to the south. The Nova Scotia Atlas labels the junction as the locality L’Archevêque (The Archbishop); I have been unable to glean from any source a clue as to why it is so named. Turning down the gravel road brings one after 0.8 km (0.5 mi) to L’Archevêque Harbour. One is now clearly and unambiguously on Cape Breton’s Atlantic coast. This sparkling view to the southeast shows the eastern edge of the horseshoe cove on which the fishing harbour is located. The gravel beach one sees in the foreground continues all around the southern and eastern sides of the cove. A couple of channel markers are visible at the far right of the photo.

So far as I could tell, there is no longer any permanent population in L’Archevêque; I saw no houses in the area beyond Grand River, not even at the junction, and suspect that the homes of the fishermen who frequent this harbour are elsewhere. The building perched on the hill at the right of the photo is electrified, as the row of utility poles leading out to it attests, but it does not appear to be a house as another telephoto shot of this building reveals that it is perched on cement blocks and would therefore be very cold in the winter time! Below the building on the beach are the underpinnings of what appears to be a former wooden pier, so there may have been a permanent dwelling here at some previous time. My best guess is that it is a fishing camp occupied only in the warmer months, though perhaps it has some other purpose. There is also a large wooden platform beside the house to its right that is equally mysterious. The dearth of houses in the immediate area makes the fishing camp hypothesis more likely, as similar structures are seen on the other side of the cove.

Notice the shape of the hill just right of centre in the photo; it mimics pretty well the one seen in the far distance at Grand River, though it’s clearly not as tall. I suspect that such hills are the result of some common cause, possibly the result of the ocean piling up gravel over long periods of time shaped by the constant and often fierce winds off the Atlantic; the glaciers that once covered Cape Breton Island likely also played a rôle in shaping them. In any case, these are clearly not sand dunes such as one sees at many sand beaches, for these hills are littered with large boulders and rocks and appear to be composites of earth and gravel.

[2012] As I discovered when I first drove it, the previously mentioned Eastside Grand River Road, has a couple of houses near its end on the Fleur-de-Lis Trail in L’Archevêque, though it’s not clear to me whether they are currently inhabited year round or not. I have returned several times to L’Archevêque and am always enchanted by the beauty there; it is definitely worth walking towards the southwest along the sand beach and dunes that line the coast there.