Battle Harbour is a neat historic island in Newfoundland and Labrador. It offers a unique glimpse into the hardships of the sealing and fishing industry. Battle Harbour was founded in the 1970s with most people resettling in 1966 when the fishing industry declined. It is now a historical site with some summer homes and tourist accommodations.
We have visited Battle Harbour twice on day trips. This site doesn’t offer a “hike” in the sense of walking a long distance. It does have a loop that goes around the entire island. On this footpath, you walk through a graveyard and up a hillside onto the top of the hill. There you have spectacular views of the ocean. On one trip, we spotted icebergs in the distance.
The moss and lichen growing on the rocks is fascinating. During a visit, there was a tourist who was sunning herself on the moss. The hot sun had dried it, making the moss a dry bed to rest on. If we had more time, we might have tried it ourselves. With the sound of the waves and a light breeze, it was a tempting to do the same.
For our trips to Battle Harbour, we went on day trips. We took a boat from Mary’s Harbour and arrived at Battle Harbour just before lunch. We had enough time for a quick walk around the island before lunch. The serve the meals family style at the dining hall. They have large tables for groups of about six people each. The freshly baked buns are always a treat for the guests. We had chicken pot pie for lunch, which was delicious. They do ask about diet restrictions before you arrive at the island and will give you an option.
After lunch, they offer a guided tour of the buildings on the island. You will learn about the salting of fish and processing of seal. Many of the tour guides either grew up on the island or had family members who did. They are full of knowledge and are ready to answer your questions. Whenever we have been there, they were always working on the maintenance of the buildings and the docks. The volunteers take a lot of care to maintain the site.
Battle Harbour is one of those places that if you can spend a longer time there, you should. There is limited internet at Battle Harbour, which helps you disconnect from the world for a while. You can find internet in the loft building if you really need access. The quietness of the Battle Harbour offers gives you a chance to slow down and breathe. And when you breathe, you take in the fresh air around you.
If you take advantage of their accommodations, you can really slow down your walk around the island to stop and reflect on the different views along the way. Often we have found people sitting on the rocks staring out at the ocean. They also are checking out the foundation from the old wireless radio station and the site of an old airplane crash. Parts from the crash are still there to observe.
We hope to return for a third time and stay for a weekend. Our visits have always felt rushed and we always say we need more time. Again, Battle Harbour is not a trail but offers an experience that we highly recommend should you be in Newfoundland and Labrador. It isn’t every day you can visit an island such as this and look out at the endless ocean in all directions.