Sunday, 23 August 2009

Signal Hill

It's a long trudge to the top of the hill, especially on a hot day, but every time I go to St John's I just have to do it. Signal Hill dominates the entrance to the harbour, and there's a fantastic view over the city of St John's in one direction and the Atlantic Ocean in the other.

At the top, the sandstone Cabot Tower was built in 1897 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of John Cabot's discovery of Newfoundland, and Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. Inside is a small museum detailing the first transatlantic wireless signal, the letter "S" in Morse Code sent from Cornwall, England, and received here by Guglielmo Marconi in 1901.

A winding narrow staircase took me to the very top, where there's a stunning view over the harbour, but my visit was cut short by swarms of flying ants, so I didn't stay up there long.

The small stone building in the foreground is the 18th century Queens Battery, built for defence of the harbour. The French-English struggle for Newfoundland ended here in 1762 with the last shot fired on the hill.

The French may have been vanquished back in1762, but the cannons remain.... just in case!

There have been harbour defences for St. John's here from the 18th century to the Second World War. As early as 1673, a heavy chain was stretched from across the Narrows from Pancake Rock to Chain Rock to protect the harbour from incoming enemy vessels. During WWII, an anti-submarine boom was attached to prevent the entry of German U-boats.

Across the entrance to St John's Harbour is Fort Amherst. The WWII gun emplacements down near the water are still there, but no public access any more. ('Elf'n'safety rules, no doubt.) On previous visits we have been able to walk through the bunkers and actually climb on the rusty guns.

The Fort Amherst lighthouse was built in 1952, replacing former structures built in 1813 and 1852. The lighthouse keepers house has been converted to a delightful tearoom with a spectacular view of The Narrows.

And in the far distance is the lighthouse at Cape Spear, the most easterly tip of land in North America. Start swimming.... next stop.... Europe.

For more pics of Newfoundland, see my three previous posts. As always, click on any pictures to enlarge.

21 comments:

Charles Bjørnsen Ravndal said...

Look at that lovely view. It's very picturesque and it's a good subject for photography as well.

Vagabonde said...

You have beautiful pictures of St John’s. When we went up Signal Hill last year there was heavy fog and we could hardly see anything. I love Newfoundland also and would love to go back but there are still so many other places I have not been to, so I am not sure when we’ll go back. I think the music there is so beautiful, I bought at least 5 CDs. In 3 weeks we are going to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI and Cape Breton. I enjoyed all your posts very much.

Wendy said...

I like lighthouses too! They look so serene looking over the water. Too bad you got chased out of the tower by those pesky ants!
Beautiful old buildings and history.

Your EG Tour Guide said...

I guess St. John's has it's very own castle. How cool is that!

No storm here last night. Just a bit of rain. But you do know, don't you, that on Thursday evening a tornado damaged a riding school on Davis Drive, which is in East Gwillimbury and NOT in Newmarket as the newspapers have reported? Quite a mess!!

Luke said...

The cannons are no doubt massive and heavy!

Peter said...

A beautiful coast line that I once almost visited; unfortunately the trip was cancelled. Now I regret it even more!

Changes in the wind said...

Wow! this is awesome and I got to see it without the climb:):)

Marguerite said...

Hi Shammickite, Enjoyed this post about St John. Your blog and your photos are fabulous! Thanks for visiting my blog and for your kind comment.

photowannabe said...

Simply gorgeous view of the harbor and surrounding areas. I am enjoying this tour immensely. Sure would love to visit sometime.

Craver Vii said...

Too bad about those flying ants. Those cannons are intimidating! Nice pics!

rosemary said...

Just more enticement for me to go there...I showed Steve your blog this morning....he read it at least so that's a start.

Linens and Royals said...

Thanks for visiting, love those Canadian views.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

A lovely little history lesson. Thank you!

Eddie Bluelights said...

Shammickite - Thanks for the visit and I shall get off my backside soon and write the play, "The Wizard Of Oz". I do a biggy production on ocassions where all bloggers can feature. Last time was my Grand National Horse Race which caused a lot of amusement.
I am most intrigued to hear where you noticed my post - was it on someone's blog or did you find it on google?
I know Devon quite well but I live near Bristol.
I enjoyed your interesting post.
Please call round again and I will put on the kettle. Very best wishes ~ Eddie

Xtreme English said...

gorgeous. have you thought of publishing this stuff?

butlersabroad said...

I've been enjoying the photos from this area, I've never visited before, so many beautiful places to go and see! Reminds me of parts of the West Coast of Scotland.

Ginnie said...

Swarms of flying ants...that high?? I'll be! Well, at least you got your picture, so good for you. I LOVE stuff like this, Sham.

Hilary said...

These are great. There is such a historical feel to this setting. Time hasn't changed much.

Neva said...

I love your photos of Newfoundland. What a beautiful place. I am surprised they left the cannon's but I guess it would be a question of where to put them........

Eddie Bluelights said...

Hi Shammickite,
And a very big thank you for visiting my other blog, Plato's Procrastinations, where you left a very encouraging comment.
Once again loved this post about St Johns ~ Eddie

Rajesh said...

Awesome historical place. The snaps are beautiful.