Welcome to the year 2017!
As promised we are starting this year off by letting you in on a secret, well a few secrets actually, to help bulk up your 2017 to-do list!
We want to share with you some of our favourite spots on the Bonavista Peninsula. We’re not talking about our favourite cafes or bars, though we will bring you those too (Watch This Space!). We are talking about a few hidden gems that make our part of the world so unique, mysterious, and in some ways down-right creepy!
To start us off, I want to talk to you about Burgoyne’s Cove. Said Bur-goine. Like groin.
And no, this isn’t just another article about funny Newfoundland place names. Though who doesn’t love a sign that says “Dildo Trading Post”.
No, our interest in Burgoyne’s cove lies in it’s history. A history that you can visit, walk through, and experience a return to the Cold War.
On the 18th of March 1953 one of the biggest military aircraft ever, a B-36 Bomber, also ironically nicknamed The Peacemaker, was flying back from the Azores to their home-base in South Dakota. This huge plane with 10 engines, and a wingspan of 77 metres was navigating by sight. They were flying low to avoid radar detection, and planned to come in over Maine to test the US air defense network.
Unfortunately the crew got lost, and found themselves cloaked in the soup-like Spring fog so common in Newfoundland. They didn’t realize they were over land until they hit it, a measly 800-metres above sea-level.
According to the official report “the six whirling propellers chopped the tops off numerous pine trees before the left wing struck the ground. The left wing ripped off of the airplane, and spilled fuel ignited a huge fireball. The fuselage and right wing impacted 1,000 feet beyond the left wing. The entire crew was killed on impact. Wreckage was strewn for 3/4-mile across the hillside.”
Perhaps you’re wondering why I’m telling you this tale. The answer is, because the plane is still there.
60 years later this remains a unique crash-site because of the amount of the plane that is still intact. A 40 minute hike from the road, visitors are able to explore the huge area, and see well preserved sections of this enormous plane.
In addition to the rubble, a memorial has been made using one of the original propellers, in honour of the 23 crew, and the 11 additional men that disappeared on board a search and rescue aircraft that same evening returning from the site.
Time: Half Day Activity 5h30m
Equipment: Good shoes, water, and snacks.
To get here:
From the Skerwink Hostel make you way toward Clarenville on Route 230. After 54 kms turn left onto the 230A following signs to Clarenville. When you reach the ocean take a left onto Route 232/Main Rd following signs to Harcourt and Burgoyne’s Cove. Continue straight through Barton, Harcourt, Gin Cove, Clifton and eventually Burgoyne’s Cove.
Once in Burgoyne’s Cove, take a left after the church, following signs to the Newfoundland Slate Company. Following the road until you see a sign to the crash site and Nut Cove Trail. The road gets rough toward the end, so depending on your car you may choose to park and walk the last bit.
The hike can be slippery so good walking shoes are a must! From the end of the road it is about a 40 minute hike up a steep hill, so bring a snack and some water to keep you going. There are benches along the way to rest.