The mu­si­cian ex­plains why he loves walk­ing the North Head Trail near Sig­nal Hill in St. John’s

Canadian Geographic - - CONTENTS - —As told to Carys Mills

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.

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