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French Carvings Found on Epine Cadoret Trail, Croque, NL

The Great Northern Peninsula is full of unique places to visit and explore. We have over 5,000 years of inhabitation from our first indigenous people to the Norse a millennia ago to more recent Europeans coming since the 1400’s.

The Epine Cadoret Trail is found leading to the mouth of Croque Harbour and exhibits carvings from French sailors made in mid-1800’s. Very similar to French photograph Miot in Sacred Bay who graffitied the word Album on what is now known as “Album Rock”, these sailors have forever left an inscription in stone that has indeed stood the test of time.

There are a couple of ways to find yourself at the Epine Cadoret trail which is 2.4 KM return on the road to St Julien’s or Grandois. Head north on the Viking Trail (Route 430), you can exit at Grenfell Drive (Route 432) at Plum Point to head toward Roddickton and then take a left to Main Brook and 6 KM prior to Main Brook you would take 438 to Croque which is nearly a 20 KM gravel road. You turn left toward St Julien’s road and will find a gazebo, sign and parking area. Alternatively, you can drive Route 430 (Viking Trail) to St Anthony airport and turn right on Grenfell Drive, Route 432 it is a loop road) for about 30 KM past Main Brook to Croque road which is Route 438. I will issue a warning though that the trail is in very poor condition in places and use at your own risk.

My first attempt to traverse this trail was during the Grandois Come Home Year in 2015. The first time I walked to the end of the board walk, not realizing these carvings ever existed. I was telling some locals I had done the walking trail. They had advised me I had not gone far enough, so the next day I did the walk again but made it nearly to wear the carvings were but came across fresh bear dung that was quite large. Given I was in the forest, without cellular coverage and alone, I opted to leave the trail and return to my car. At the time I would say I was an very inexperienced hiker.

It is hard to believe five years would pass before I would reach the carvings. The trail obviously has fallen into further disrepair since 2015, however, you can still navigate the trail along the pathways or shoreline, just watch for broken or rotted wood on the boardwalk. Use the trail at your own risk and discretion.

Along your journey you will see a waterfall, natural views of the sea, coastline, flowers and Croque from a distance in addition to the French carvings. It’s a very relaxing walk. One where you truly feel alone with nature.

Croque was once the headquarters for the French Navy and played a critical role along the French Shore. Today, it is home to a tiny population. The French cemetery remains and so do many red fishing rooms along the harbour. There are many stories left to be told of this place and shared with the world.

I always loved visiting Croque and St. Julien’s (Grandois) and The Epine Cadoret Croque Harbour Walking Trail is another reason for anyone who hasn’t been to get out and explore. The 2.4 KM return trail takes you to more than 150 year old rock carvings from French Sailors. Get out and explore the Great Northern Peninsula and another part of the French Shore!

Learn more about the Great Northern Peninsula’s trails by clicking here.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore

French Shore Historical Society

At least 80 reasons to visit our Great Northern Peninsula!

I’ve put together a list of walking/hiking trails and lookouts on the Great Northern Peninsula from Bellburns and all communities to the North. I’ll be linking these with posts with images and more information on each trail as I am able to update. In 2020, I created a challenge to get them all completed, so now I encourage you all to join the challenge when you visit the Great Northern Peninsula for yourself.

Quirpon Island
Table Point Ecological Reserve, north of Bellburns
  • Trails from Bellburns to Reef’s Harbour (GNP Central-South):
  • Table Point Ecological Reserve (between Bellburns and River of Ponds)
  • River of Ponds Walking Trails
    • trail to the beach 3 km
    • trail to big pond (section still under development)
  • Hawke’s Bay
    • John Hogan Trail, 6.4 km
  • Port Saunders
  • Port au Choix
    • Dorset Trail
    • Coastal Trail
    • Phillip’s Garden Trail
    • Point Riche Trail
    • Barbace Cove Trail
  • Bartlett’s Harbour
  • New Ferolle
    • Old Ferolle Lighthouse Trail
  • Reef’s Harbour
    • St. Margaret’s Bay Trail
White Point Walking Trail, Bartlett’s Harbour
  • Trails from Plum Point to Eddies Cove East (GNP West):
  • Bird Cove
  • Plum Point
    • Basque Site Boardwalk
    • Mount St. Margaret Ski Club and Trails
    • St. Genevieve River Trail
  • St. Barbe to Forrester’s Point (interconnected trail network)
  • Anchor Point
    • Deep Cove Trail
    • Deep Cove Trail extension to gazebo and beach
    • Deep Cove Ski Club and Trails
  • Flower’s Cove
  • Nameless Cove
    • Flower’s Island Lighthouse Trail
  • Sandy Cove
    • Ecological Reserve for Longs Braya
Captain James Cook Cairn, Dog Peninsula, Bird Cove
  • Trails from Englee to Croque (GNP East):
  • Englee
    • Barr’d Island Trail
    • Locker’s Point Trail
    • White Point Trail
    • Shoe Pond Hill Trail
  • Roddickton
    • Heritage Trail
    • The Farm
    • Underground Salmon Hole
  • Bide Arm
    • Armistice Park Trail
  • Conche
    • Sailor Jack’s Hill Lookout
    • Glass Hole
    • Fox Head Trail
    • Captain Coupelongue Trail
    • Sleepy Cove Trail
  • Croque
  • Main Brook
    • Main Brook Park Rugged Trails
The view from the gazebo, Shoe Cove Trail, Englee
  • St. Anthony Basin Region (GNP North)
  • North Boat Harbour
    • Highlands Boardwalk
  • Wild Bight
  • Cook’s Harbour
    • Garge Coates’ Lookout
  • Goose Cove East
    • Pumbley Cove Trail
  • St. Anthony
    • Bottom Brook Trails
    • Lamage Point
    • Tea House Hill
    • American Base Trail
    • Daredevil Trail
    • Cartier’s Trail
    • Whale Watcher’s Trail
    • Santana Trail
    • Iceberg Alley Trail
  • St. Anthony Bight
    • St. Anthony Point Loop
    • Silver Point Trail
  • St. Carol’s
  • Great Brehat
    • Flat Point Trail
    • Little Brehat Walking Trail
  • Triple Falls Trail (Route 430), 0.8 km
  • Aurora Nordic Ski Club and Trails
  • Raleigh
    • Burnt Cape Ecological Reserve
    • Cannon Holes and Big Oven Hike
    • Nuddick Trail
  • Ship Cove
  • St. Lunaire-Griquet
    • Gull Pond Municipal Park
    • St. Brendan’s Trail
    • Dog Head Trail
    • Camel’s Back Trail
  • L’anse aux Meadows
    • Birchy Nuddick Trail
    • Norstead Trail
    • Lacey’s Trail
    • Beginning of the Iceberg Trail
  • Gunner’s Cove
  • Hay Cove
    • Noddy Bay Head Trail
  • Straitsview
  • Noddy Bay
    • Squidjigging Point Trail
  • Quirpon
  • The Iceberg Trail (multi-day)
  • International Appalachian Trail
Sea Cave on Lacey’s Trail at L’anse aux Meadows

If there is a trail I’ve missed, please let me know and I’ll make an update. The Great Northern Peninsula, north of Gros Morne National Park and the gateway to Labrador offers visitors and residents hundreds of kilometres of trails and very unique experiences. There is beauty around every corner and so much to experience and explore when on a nature walk, hiking trail or a look-out.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore #NeverStopExploring

Embroidered Bread & Conche Caplin

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The creative community of Conche is where I purchased this tapestry of embroidered bread and caplin. It sits in the public gallery at the Straits-White Bay North Constituency Office at 279 West Street, St. Anthony along with other art for anyone wish to view them.

Local artist and the local arts community is still budding on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula. I get inspired each and every time I see new product, visit people’s homes and see them rug hooking, crafting, painting or making something by hand. The residents of the Great Northern Peninsula have been making things by hand since the beginning of their existence – it was essential for those Maritime Archaic Indians, Paleo-Eskimo, Groswater Eskimo and recent Indians to make clothing, tools for hunting and history shows their use of chert and red ochre for face painting and design. This dates us back 5,000 years ago, as the Great Northern Peninsula is the authentic place where the World Came Full Circle. It happened more than 1,000 years ago when the first Europeans to re-discover North America were the Vikings. L’Anse aux Meadows World UNESCO Site, still have the remnants of the sod huts that would have been made by hand. They found many artifacts that are replicated today, including a whorl (or spindle). This is evidence that people on the Great Northern Peninsula have been making things by hand more thousands of years.

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The Basque, French & English settlers would come and reap the wealth of our natural fish, whale, seal and timber resources. During their stays they would leave some of their culture behind, such as the clothing, the French ovens and the way they prepared for their daily lives, from the boat making to the fish flakes.

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It likely wasn’t until Dr. Grenfell came that all the localized art making was formally commercialized with the industrial department as part of the Grenfell Mission (International Grenfell Association). People are familiar with Grenfell Handicrafts and the rug designs of Lady Grenfell. Under the leadership of Jessie Luther, the rug hooking and handicraft business had retail outlets in the United States and a network of local artist. This process flourished up until Dr. Grenfell’s death in 1940. Approaching 75 years later, the Grenfell rugs are still being made on a much smaller scale by a group of local woman and for sale at the Heritage Shoppe at the Grenfell Interpretation Centre, St. Anthony, NL.

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Local art is so important to our region, our culture and our heritage. Let’s embrace our legacies and also capitalize on new opportunities. Art is all around us and we should be quite proud of all the art forms that are part of landscapes, community or something that hangs on a wall.

Whether the Embroidered Bread & Conche caplin is hanging on your wall or at your dining table it surely makes for a wonderful memory – knowing a local person worked hard to present you with a piece of art by hand.

Experience the Great Northern Peninsula & Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)

Croque – “Administrative Headquarters” of the French migratory cod fishery on GNP

Today, Croque is a tiny settlement on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula that still maintains strong connections and has a storied past as the former administrative headquarters of the French Shore.

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In the 1600’s all French fishing ships were to register at Croque upon arrival at le Petit Nord. This created a hub of activity during the presence of the French migratory cod fishing fleet in this area. This community continued to play an important role for the French navy, as they used Croque as their headquarters on the French Shore.

Croque has the only official French cemetery on the French Shore and is the final resting place for both French and English seamen, which is depicted below. The French Navy kept up the cemetery long after the French Shore Treaty ended in 1904. During their visits, they would provide medical services to the local residents with the ships doctor.

It is hard to imagine that our communities were so disconnected and isolated just a few decades ago, but the road connecting this community to the outside was not complete until 1975. Dog teams and ships were the avenues in which those would travel to gain access to a doctor, which may be as far away as St. Anthony or a nurse at Conche. During the era of re-settlement, of the late 1960s and early 1970s several families from the Grey Islands and Northeast Crouse resettled to Croque. Residents today, still talk about their home or ancestors of the Grey Islands.

Although the last official visit of the French Navy was in 1971, there is still lots of evidence of both the French and settler history by viewing the historic waterfront buildings, the French cemetery and just outside of town the names of ships are carved on the rocks by French fishermen.

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We have to reflect upon our past, there is a cultural connection to be made between Newfoundland and Labrador and France to pursue other opportunities to share artifacts, stories and our heritage past and present. Our early settler to the community was Patrick Kearney, which the Kearney namesake is still present today, who was responsible for being a caretaker of the French fishing rooms in the early 1800’s.

Let’s do more to tell our stories of the past, because Croque, Petit Nord and the Great Northern Peninsula have played a very important role and it is a place you must experience!

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)

Population of Grandois will hit high-water mark in mid-July!

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Most people will never experience the serene beauty of Grandois. It can be found at the end of almost 30 kilometres of gravel road on Route 438. On my visit yesterday, most residents brought up the “winter pavement” they now have given the snow has settled and the road solidly frozen. It was evident that Transportation & Works was working hard to maintain this winding road and from my observation doing an incredible job!

This place is part of the French Shore with a strong connection to the migratory fishery and even current residents have connections to the Grey and Fishot Islands. There are many stories to be heard over a cup of tea or coffee, which will be offered at every homestead, because of the incredible generosity and hospitality of the livyers, to this very day!

Grandois has an historical church with an altar carved from a pocket knife in the early nineteen hundreds, it is certainly a place you will want to visit while in the community. The French connection is ever present with a bread oven at the end of a walking trail. There are rocks remaining in the location where the French dried their fish and a trail leads to rings in the cliff where the French tied up their boats.

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The community is only a fraction of what it was based on the 2011 census, with more lights out as residents move on or sadly pass away. It is difficult to tally and realize vacant properties out number those with permanent residents. It is quite clear many of our rural communities are struggling to cope with an aging population and trying to maintain a strong vibrant community.

I was very happy to be in Grandois – the residents are passionate about the place they call home. It is evident from the photos and views, who wouldn’t fall in love with this special place? There is activity in the works as a Come Home Year Celebration in July will bring people home in droves. A recent project supported employment and saw additions to the Community Hall. I was told at the last Come Home Year, people congregated and filled the Hall well past capacity and even ended up to the roadside.

These are the stories I love hearing, about all the activity, community interactions, the fishery as the boats leave the harbour, the mystery of the re-settled French Islands and the quest for the copper cod. There is hope for this community, since its depletion of its people after the 1992 cod moratorium as there was a mineral find near the community, as well a former marble mine sits idle. As time passes, and with the right investment we could see a small place like Grandois boom with economic activity.

Legend says, “there’s gold in them hills”

I look forward to more stories and celebrating the strength of community in July as the population hits the high-water mark for 2015. Bring on the accordion music and song…

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)

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