GRAPPLING BROOK FALLS
Englishtown, Victoria County
N 46° 19.216 W 060° 28.988
20T E 693756 N 5132711
photos Robert Pierrynowski (2006)
RIVER: Grappling Brook
SIZE: 20'. (multiple)
RATING: excellent (***1 /2)
TRAIL: woods trail
HIKING TIME: 4-6 minutes
NS Atlas Page: 10/V4
NS topo map: 011K08 (Bras D'Or)
DIRECTIONS: from Baddeck, follow the TransCanada Highway (HWY1 05) northward 22.5km to
Exit1 2. Proceed northward on HWY31 2 to Englishtown. Follow the highway past the ferry
landing and drive to the end of the pavement. The road ends at a fork in the road, a driveway is
on the left and the trail is on the right hand side. Park at N46 17.814 W060 31.132.
Trail Description: This trail follows an old and overgrown logging road which has undergone
serious erosion over the years making spots along the road tricky. Follow the trail for
approximately 5 km (going left at the fork about 20 minutes in) to the bridge over Grappling
Brook (the third bridge on the trail). Downstream, the trail takes you down to
Grappling Beach, a beautiful cobblestone beach overlooking St. Ann's Bay.
To reach the falls, of which there are seven in all along this brook, either hike straight upstream or follow the trails along the top of the gorge There are seven waterfalls along Grappling Brook, the
coordinates goven are for the sixth falls, which are the tallest of the group, at about 20 feet.
Englishtown is one of the oldest settlements in North America, having been established as a
French fishing port in 1597. In 1629, Charles Daniel, a member of de Champlain's Compagnie
des Cent-Associés, who had been given a monopoly on the fur trade in New France in New France, constructed the first French fortification in Ile Royale using the Scottish prisoners of Lord Ochiltree Stuart that he captured during the raid on Baleine, Nova Scotia, naming it Fort Sainte Anne.
His settlement here was also the site of the first Jesuit mission in North America. This fort was occupied until 1641 , and then again between 1650-1669 by Nicholas Denys, after which, Cape Breton remained unsettled until the construction of Fort Dauphin as a second port comparable to the main settlement in Nouvelle France at Louisbourg.
Fort Dauphin was established by Jean-Baptiste Hertel de Rouville in 1713, and was briefly the capital of Ile Royale, before government was moved to Louisbourg. Fort Dauphin was destroyed during the
capitualtion of Louisbourg of 1745. Plans had been drawn up for a new fortification to be built at
St. Ann's Bay, but these never came to fruitinon.
Fort Saint Anne is a National Historic Site of Canada, and there is a cairn erected on the north side of the higway at Englishtown memorializing the settlements here. Also in Englishtown, you might visit the gravesite of Angus MacAskill (1825–63), who was known as the Cape Breton Giant. He was born in Harris, Scotland, one of 13 children, and emigrated with his parents to St Ann's in 1831 . He was 7' 9" tall and weighed 425 pounds, measuring 3' 8" across the shoulders, 12 inches across the palm of his hand.
Called a modern day Hercules, his feats of strength became legendary. He was reputed to have lifted a 2,700-pound anchor on his shoulder. At the age of 24 he joined a travelling side show and toured Quebec, the United States, the West Indies, and Cuba, between 1849-53, even once having an audience with Queen Victoria. When he returnied to Englishtown, he opened a store and a grist mill. He died of ‘brain fever’ at St Ann's in 1863.
The area around Grappling Brook has its own share of history, reputedly haunted by the spirit of a fisherman who had drowned and is locally referred to as Spooky Hollow, in what is commonly called Black Head.