Fox Island is a grassy cliff protruding far above the sea, a 2.7km loop overshadowed in tourism books by its big brother the glorious Skerwink Trail. We didn’t know much about this trail, so we decided to explore.
The little information we were able to find on this trail described it as a cliff walk that includes a scramble up onto the island itself, with the aid of the generously provided ropes.
This much the books have right: one must scramble, altogether unglamorously, up a path made by sheep (according to the sign), steep enough to smell the wet dirt as it rises to meet your face, and certainly steep enough to warrant the rope long-ago installed by some considerate trail maintenance volunteer.
This climb is adventure enough. And what the books don’t tell you is that once at the top, the combination of 40 km winds, and spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding community of Champneys East, West, and English Harbour, and finally the backdrop of the striking Skerwink Cliffs, make this trail by no means inferior to the more manicured Skerwink – but rather its evil twin: full of steep drops onto sharp rocks and never ending paths winding all over the cliff face, that seem that much closer thanks to the gales blowing you around, and the lack of tree coverage to protect you.
What else the tourist books don’t tell you? The base of this stunning curving cliff spine is the site of a Bald Eagle’s nest, and the family of circling predators were far from welcoming hosts to the visitors clamouring over the beautiful rocks to take more and more and more and more and more … photos.
They circled above us in the blinding curtain of the sun’s glare, ominously casting shadows across our path as we fled their gusty home. I have seen many bald eagles, but never like this — never as the focus of their all seeing eye — and it was incredible, and made for some wonderful pics.
The main thing that the books don’t tell you, is that Fox Island is a stunning trail full of breath-taking views. A hike that gives you the feeling that you are exploring some mysterious, magical land that holds more secrets, and even greater views over every rock.
More visits to Fox Island soon — that much I know for sure.
Make sure you check out our facebook page for more photos!