The musician explains why he loves walking the North Head Trail near Signal Hill in St. John’s
Musician Alan Doyle on why the scenic Signal Hill hike in St. John’s still inspires him
The first place I take people when they visit me in St. John’s is the North Head Trail at Signal Hill National Historic Site. It’s one of the most beautiful walks in any city in the world, rivalling the seawall route around Vancouver’s Stanley Park or any of the walks between the beaches in Sydney, Australia. The first time I was on the trail would have been when I was about 19 or 20, shortly after I moved to St. John’s, but it’s the same now as it was 25 years ago. It’s got the same beauty and the same physical challenge — I now find myself doing it for exercise a few times a month in the summer. It’s also still pretty tricky because parts of it haven’t really been modernized: in some places, you still have to hold a chain for stability, but that’s part of what makes it so authentic. If you go up to Cabot Tower at the top of Signal Hill, then you’ll get this amazing view of the ocean on one side and the city on the other. From there, you can take the trail right out to where you can see Cape Spear, the most easterly point in North America, and, if you’re there at the right time of year, icebergs or whales. It also leads you along the steep rock-faced hills above The Narrows, the entrance to St. John’s Harbour. When you’re on that part of the trail, you can turn, look back at the city and imagine you’re seeing what some of the first sailors here would have seen so long ago.