An adventure, of sorts

I think it must be this seemingly never-ending winter. It makes me feel pent-up and claustrophobic in the house; like someone who has been living in a very small room for a very long time. Whatever the case, I decided to get out for a bit today and to go on a Quest.

For a Quest, it is commonly known that you need three things:

  1. A trusty steed.
  2. A good sword.
  3. Provisions (which, until I was ten, I thought had to be contained in some sort of flask).

For my Modern-Day Quest, I allowed myself the liberty of substitutions.

  1. A 2003 Toyota Echo.
  2. A Nikon D70.
  3. One Rice Krispie bar, one large coffee and two green apples. (None of which I could fit into a flask.)

I had no idea of where I was going at first; I was Don Quixote, tilting at windmills…… Windmills! That reminded me of Fermeuse. Fermeuse is…. south! I looked south on this cold, grey old day and saw a glimmer of sunshine. My Quest was, therefore, to Follow the Sun and Find the Light!

So my trusty steed Caroline and I drove out the Trans Canada Highway and took the Witless Bay Line (and for those of you reading from afar, yes, that’s its real name. Apt, for this occasion, yes?) down to the Southern Shore Highway.

At around Tors Cove, we caught up with one beam of sunlight:

Tors Cove
Tors Cove

Sunbeams are tricksy things, though, and this one was determined to blow down the shore. Back into the car we went. In the spirit of adventure, I took to detouring down little roads here and there and seeing things off the main drag. One of the things that I saw (and that saw me) was a pair of Ruffed Grouses. They moved pretty quick, but I managed to snap one:

Ruffed Grouse
Ruffed Grouse

I drove down into Bauline East, not having been there in a couple of years. There was a very orange house adjacent to a splendidly purple one (sporting an orange door), which made me wonder if the Grumpy Goat Gallery has a Southern Shore branch.

Bauline East
Bauline East

Clearly, at this point, my Quest was flagging. The sunbeams were zipping right along and I was dipsy-doodling into places where women with bright purple coats, bright red hats and DSLRs are not commonly found. Time to head through Ferryland.

Lately I have taken to trying the handles of church doors, to see if they are unlocked. In winter, it’s nice to be able to dodge out of the cold and into a building, heated or not. Sometimes there are some interesting surprises in churches, too, particularly old ones out around the bay.

The old stone Holy Trinity Church in Ferryland was unlocked. From the exterior, it’s a nice little stone building that has been reparged and taken care of and it was a delight to see that the insides match the exterior. It was as neat as a button, with the paint all tidy and clean and everything looking as if it were brand new. I had been wanting to get inside for years, but never thought to simply try the door. I like that churches are often unlocked in smaller communities. They should be places that people can go to for respite, prayer, sanctuary or thought. Initially I felt odd about simply walking in, but I’m always careful to leave everything exactly as I found it and not to disrupt anyone’s worship. No one is the worse for a few photographs being taken of a lovely building.

Holy Trinity
Holy Trinity

After I made my way out of Ferryland, I zipped on down toward Fermeuse. Then I saw a sign that said, “Port Kirwan 2km”. So I turned left and drove for 2km until I found a placard that told me that I was almost in Port Kirwan and that there were neat things to see there. While I was reading the storyboard, I spotted a wreck across the harbour (turns out it was the S.S. Ilex):

The SS Ilex - caught fire and burned in 1948.

I also found those windmills that started me in this direction in the first place:

Windmills in Fermeuse. I love how they dwarf the town from this angle.

So I headed toward Port Kirwan, wondering what was in store for me and hoping I might be able to spot the 19th century British gun battery which was apparently a ten-minute walk up the hill.

I parked at the spot designated for hikers at the base of Folly Road and trekked up the hill. I never did find that gun battery first nor last. After I got back and looked a the map again, I realized that in ten minutes I had gone twice as far as the battery. Note to self: henceforth interpret distances on signs as guidelines for asthmatic, rheumatic folks who never walk, let alone run.

What I *did* find was a place called Clear Cove and a beautiful meadow that looks like a wonderful place in which to be a horse. Sadly, there was no horse in evidence. Maybe it’s a seasonal horse. The gate struck me as odd, as it’s the sort usually found on a graveyard or near a church. It’s less usual to see them on farms, although it does happen. I wonder if it was recycled, as the chain atop the fence so evidently was.

A Clear View
A Clear View in Clear Cove.

A quick glance at my watch told me I was in danger of running out of time. I needed to hoof it back to the car, and soon. Regretfully, I didn’t get a chance to go out onto Southard Bill (a very cool-looking headland) or poke around further for that gun battery. Next time I come back (when it’s warmer), I’ll plan on doing the Berry Head section of the East Coast Trail, as well.

On my way back to the car, I could hear the persistent baying of beagles on a chase. I rounded the corner next to a campground ($10/night, unserviced tenting sites, in case you were wondering) and stopped as a rabbit bolted out of the woods straight at me, stopped, looked utterly confused and hared off (literally, in this case) to the left. Seconds later, three beagloids shot out of the trees, took one look at me and changed their “we’re going to chase and sniff and chase and kill” howls to “who the hell are you?” barks. Then they remembered what they were doing and tore off to the right. Rabbit: 1, Dogs: 0.

Just as they disappeared from sight, a wind-borne wave of hail started flaying me, driven by sudden and ferocious gusts. I ran down to the car, keeping my face protected by my mittens, jumped in, shook off the snow, looked out in wonder as less than three minutes after it has started, the hail was gone and the skies, blue. Yep, we’re definitely in Newfoundland.

On my way out of town, I cruised through metropolitan Port Kirwan, noting a very, very old looking cemetery worthy of further exploration and several roads heading up into hills that quite clearly needed climbing. Saving those for another day, I took a couple of quick snaps of some very neat rock walls on Yellow Hill, noting that the upper-most one had an interesting aperture.

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Walls in Port Kirwan on Yellow Hill.

You can see it better here:

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Aperture in a wall on Yellow Hill.

I thought at first that it was a root cellar, but it’s a very small door, if that’s the case. I suspect it might be a drain for a higher terrace. I could be wrong, though. When we head back, I’ll have another look.

Just as I was leaving, this fellow came over to say hello. He was quite chatty and seemed friendly. I asked him why he had  porthole in his barn, but either he didn’t know or he wasn’t telling.

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Porthole and a pony

Out of time and having successfully completed my Quest to Find the Sun (it’s in Port Kirwan), I headed back into town just in time to pick Katherine up from school.

How was your day?

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6 Comments Add yours

  1. Wonderful imagery – how did you get the fantastic shot of the stained glass window? I love the way it’s all light and no background.

    1. VickyTH says:

      Glad you liked it! I took my light reading from the window and deliberately underexposed the surrounding wall.

  2. John P. Meyer says:

    A worthy quest indeed.

  3. Phil Coady says:

    I stumbled onto this blog accidentally. The three beagles in your story are mine. Too funny.

  4. Brenda Aylward says:

    It’s so entertaining to read a strangers perspective of our little town. The pony is Sherroco, she is a 27 year old Belgian/Quarter Horse who has spent her life wandering those hills and probably also wondering what was once inside those walls scattered on the yello hill, the porthole is her window to the world during the cold dreary winter months. The field in Clears Cove with the little red hayhouse is ours and is also my favorite place in the world. Indeed, many a time a horse has run there, although always with me upon it’s back when I could sneak in for a quick gallop through without ruining my winter hay supply. My father, Patrick Aylward has spent decades turning that land into the beautiful place it is today. The arch was his design, not recycled, as he always likes to adorn our pastures with something unique. It was at one time adorned by some lovely metal work but some idle hands removed it,,,,story left for another day….thank you for posting

    1. VickyTH says:

      It was so nice to hear the truth behind my inferences! Thanks for your comment! The land that your father owns is a beautiful, serene spot and he has succeeded admirably in his goal. I’ll have to venture to your town again and wander up into those hills that called me last time!

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