Roads go ever on and on…

Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of June,
Over grass and over stone,
And under mountains in the moon.

J.R.R. Tolkien*

One of my favourite sorts of adventures is the kind that you take by simply stepping out the front (or back) door. Today I decided to take advantage of the sunshine and go for a stroll through Torbay, taking paths not yet travelled. After I looked at the photos I brought back with me, the above verse just sprang immediately to mind.

I wandered up the street, to where I startled a flock of Pine Siskins who were grabbing the avian equivalent of coffee and a muffin at the local café.

Siskin Central
The breakfast buffet. Pine Siskins enjoy a morning feast. (Focal length 200mm, Shutter: 1/350, Aperture: f8)
My presence distracted them momentarily, but it didn’t take long for them to hop right back to business. This one looked particularly chilly….
Fluffed up against the cold. (Focal length 200mm, Shutter: 1/1000, Aperture: f6.7)

Then I crossed the street, and spotted a neat birdhouse on Coppertop Place…

Birdhouse. Unoccupied.

Which somehow meant that I was supposed to go down Coppertop Place. So I did. It is a dead-end street, but I hopped the guardrail and mosied down into the woods.

It was just as well that it was winter, as the area off the end of the road was quite boggy (but mostly frozen) and the parts that weren’t bog were threaded with wild rose bushes. I flailed about in those for a time, before hitting the tree line and threaded my way between some astonishingly immense trees (mostly fir) sporting some impressive bolls. The sunlight filtered through quite nicely. I was able to make my way down to the edge of the cliffs and watch the surf pounding from above. (I steered clear of areas that appeared undercut).

Filtered sunlight

It looked like no one had been down there in years. I came across some very, very old longers (longers = Newfoundland-speak for trees, limbed, and used as fence rails) that appeared to give shape to an old fence. It was likely there to stop animals from looking over the edge of the cliff and watching the pounding surf. I took the hint and stayed near the fence-line, figuring that whoever had placed it probably knew where the edges of the cliff face were soft.

Old Man's Beard
Old Man's Beard

At one point I came to an opening in the trees and was able to make this shot, which shows a sea cave in the foreground and a startlingly yellow house (not saturated in post-processing at all – that’s the real colour!) at the rear. In the books of my childhood, it’s precisely the kind of cave that would have had a secret tunnel at the rear leading up into that yellow house. There would have been pirates or smugglers or kidnappers and the tide would have come in and the secret passage would have been the only way of escaping certain death….

My childhood reading was much more interesting than reality.

Secret passage
Secret passage. You can see the Father Troy path cutting over the cave.

There were animal tracks here and there, showing the presence of rabbits and squirrels galore, but this was the most interesting set of tracks for the day:


It looks to me like a bird of prey caught something and tried to reposition it while the prey attempted escape. Possibly a mouse? Who knows. There were no other tracks nearby.

I made my way down onto Torbay beach, poked around there for a bit and couldn’t resist snapping a few wave shots. The water was a strangely tropical-looking colour, but cold!


Then it was back up over the main trail (because you’re allowed to take roads on the way home from an exploratory ramble) and home.

*This is the version from “The Hobbit”. There are many versions of this verse throughout Tolkien’s works)


2 Comments Add yours

  1. robstroud says:

    Thanks for inviting us along on a delightful journey!

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