Newfoundland turned out to be beautiful. We drove northwards as the day broke, and the shadows looming to our right revealed themselves as gorse-covered rocky hills. Intermittent sun made the golden leaves glow in the trees and as we closed in on 50 degrees the landscape frequently opened up onto picturesque lakes and bays.
We came to the small fishing village of La Scie on Cape St. John, and after building up a band of spectators from our repeated trips up and down the main street we asked directions for the best track out onto the headland. A few minutes later we worked out what we’d been told – the Newfoundland accent is surely the strangest in the world! A peculiar mix of Irish, Canadian and Westcountry, which even us three with Irish and westcountry roots struggled to understand. It felt a very different place to the rest of Canada.
The track took us to the site of an old radar station, but we still wanted to go further, so after scouting for a while we bumped Roxy over some rocks and down onto a narrow mud track that seemed to be used by quad bikes. With Pete at the wheel Spike and I jumped out to grab photographs and examine the track ahead. It was a gnarly route, heading down a muddy, rock-strewn gully with trees in close attendance either side, but as seasoned experts/fools (delete as appropriate) we were confident of our and Roxy’s abilities.
Sadly the margin for error proved too small as Pete, showing uncharacteristic concern for the bodywork steered to avoid bashing a tree and in doing so the front wheel slid off a rock which then wedged itself between two parts of the chassis. Yes dear readers, after our north american holiday we were back to the glory days of Kazakhstan, we were back to the worms eye view of the world. We were stuck.
There were relatively few options, so after we’d settled on the appropriate jack we lifted her up and reversed her free, but enough time had been wasted to discourage further attempts. We walked up the rest of the way to 50 degrees, watched a beautiful sunset and had a beer. It had taken us six months but we had arrived at our last bit of land before returning to the Lizard. The line that had guided our lives for the last half year was plunging into the sea beside us, the stars were coming out, the wind was making our beer bottles sing…and it was bloody freezing! There was only one thing for it, we headed for the pub.
Playing on the iPod: ‘To the end’ by Blur