Coast from Black Point to Cape St Lawrence

Coast from Black Point to Cape St Lawrence
Photo 1 of 25: Coast from Black Point to Cape St Lawrence
Taken 2006 August 17 in Black Point from the Meat Cove Road Road at the “Patio” look-off
GPS 47°01.577'N 60°32.181'W

The road to Meat Cove is always a stunning drive; this view, taken as I rounded Black Point on my way to Meat Cove to start my hike, shows off the coast line under the early morning sun all the way to Cape St Lawrence, which is out of view just behind and at the base of the promontory sticking out at the middle right of this photo in the far distance.

The mostly placid blue waters of the Gulf of St Lawrence attest to what a beautiful high summer day this was. Blackrock Point is the promontory in the middle ground that defines the upper end of Meat Cove (the water); I have been unable to learn the name of the mountain in the middle of the photo which rises from Blackrock Point. According to the fascinating PDF document Community Profiles Inverness County 2003, which I downloaded from here, ”Blackrock Point is characterized by a wide coal seam seen from the water” and, sure enough, about a fifth of the way to the left along the cliffs towards the hamlet of Meat Cove from Blackrock Point that dark grey-coloured seam jumps out at one’s eyes.

Meat Cove (the hamlet) itself sits below and to the left of that mountain roughly 70 m (230 ft.) above the water on a hillside that ends in a cliff; its houses can be seen just to the left of the middle of the photo. According to the aforementioned PDF document, Meat Cove counts about sixty residents; it also tells us that:

Historically, subsistence farming took place in Meat Cove; the present soil characteristics suggest the presence of areas of significant and fertile top soil. The chief livelihood in Meat Cove has been fishing since the inception of the community. There are six fishing boats (28–40 ft) from Meat Cove berthed at Bay St Lawrence. Lobster, crab, herring, mackerel, and ground species such as flounder and hake are harvested in season. Logging and pulp cutting is not a viable resource industry in Meat Cove because of the Protected Area status of the land around Meat Cove. In the 1950s, zinc deposits were discovered in the Meat Cove area, and they may be connected with the mine in Lowland Cove which was open for a few years in the 1950s. There was another proposal to explore open pit mining of dolomite in the past few years, but the community requested more consultation and there was no follow­up.

Meat Cove’s camping and picnic grounds, found close to the end of the Meat Cove Road, are probably its best-known facility, but the newly opened Chowder Hut across from the picnic grounds, at which I had a fine bowl of chowder after finishing my hike, and the Meat Cove Lodge (visible as a white spot amongst the trees near the top of the mountain at the far left of the photo) attest to the increasing importance of tourism to this community. The PDF document says that over 4000 visitors came to the Visitors Centre in 2002.

In addition to the hiking trail which is the subject of this essay, there are several other trails in the Meat Cove area that I have not yet explored, but hope to do so in coming years. In addition, the area is ideal for kayaking and sailing and for whale and eagle watching, so recreational opportunities abound in this beautiful, pristine, remote spot.

The trail that leads to Cape St Lawrence and Lowland Cove starts at the end of the Meat Cove Road and climbs to the left around the mountain rising from Blackrock Point and up through the natural pathway that a brook has carved over the æons, arriving eventually at the ridge which can be seen running to the left of the photo some 250 m (820 ft) above the Gulf of St Lawrence. It actually looks a good deal worse climb than it proved to be in fact: I amazed myself by doing the roughly 2 km (1.25 mi) in a bit more than fifty minutes, including numerous stops for breath, but of course I had been hiking all summer long and so was in better shape than I usually am.

[2012] I have since hiked most of the trails in the Meat Cove area; the Meat Cove Mountain, Meat Cove Look-Off, and Little Grassy Trails are all hikes leading to excellent views. As noted in the “Revision of 2012” section of the introduction to this photo essay, I do not know what the current state of any of these trails is following the damage of the 2010 flash flood, except that the Meat Cove Look-Off Trail is on the schedule for the 2012 Hike the Highlands Festival, so it must be hikeable. The Meat Cove Boardwalk hike was a pleasant walk along Meat Cove Brook, but the boardwalk was destroyed in the 2010 flash flood and has not yet been restored.