The Grenfell Loop

Distance - 171km

A Medical Missionary's Story

Near Plum Point is Route 432 which takes you to communities on the east side of the Great Northern Peninsula. About 53 km from Plum Point, Route 432 turns northeast to the tiny hamlet of Main Brook, and loops back along the west side of Hare Bay to Route 430 near the airport about 40 km from St. Anthony. The tiny villages of Croque, St. Julien's and Grandois can be reached via an unpaved Route 438. Route 433, which is paved, and 434 which is not, will take you through an other-world landscape of glacial boulders, rocky bays and eerily flat sea-level terrain to Roddickton, Conche and Englee, small fishing communities that are surrounded by incredible wilderness.

The river systems and large ponds are great places to canoe and there are many small islands and isolated parts of the shore where you can really get away from it all. You can fish for feisty Atlantic salmon in the scheduled rivers and tackle record-sized fish in any number of great trout pools. There are extraordinary limestone barrens and caves in the area and quarries at Roddickton, and some excellent trails for exploring the area.

Route 432 connects with Route 430 at the St. Anthony airport, about 50 minutes from St. Anthony, the largest town on the Northern Peninsula. This is the home of the Grenfell Mission, established by the International Grenfell Association to provide medical services to the scattered and isolated population of northern Newfoundland and Labrador. This Mission was founded by Dr. Wilfred Grenfell, who first served on the Labrador coast in 1892 and spent the rest of his life raising funds for hospitals, nursing stations and children's homes.

Grenfell Handicrafts provide training and a marketing service for beautiful, hand-embroidered parkas and other unique products that can be purchased. A visit to this craft centre is a must for anybody visiting St. Anthony. Another popular stop is Fishing Point where there are walking trails and platforms to view whales, birds and icebergs.

The northern half of the Great Northern Peninsula is also the basis for E. Annie Proulx's Pulitzer-prize winning novel "The Shipping News," which has been adapted for the big screen. Proulx invented characters, events - even landscapes - for her book, which explores how an American, led by his newfound aunt, adapts to the land his parents came from after he escapes the madness of modern New England. The movie version was filmed in the Trinity Bight area of Eastern Newfoundland and stars Kevin Spacey, Julianne Moore and Dame Judi Dench.

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