One of the most picturesque places to climb in Nova Scotia, Sorrow’s End rises out of Shellbird Lake amidst the coastal barrens of Terence Bay. The ocean can be seen from the top of the cliff. In the fall, the colours are absolutely incredible.
The area was initially developed by local (and international) climbing ace Nick Sagar, during some wanderings not far from his family cottage. The name of the cliff was taken from one of his favourite books at the time about a mythical place called Sorrow’s End where Dreamberry Wine was consumed and all were undoubtedly merry. After its initial discovery, the merriment continued and there are currently about twenty-five routes established, with a third of them being sport routes. Not surprisingly, the presence of bolts makes it a popular destination for sport climbers (although it is quite a stretch to call it a sport climbing crag).
How to get there
This description is long and detailed, however the trails are easy enough to follow once you get going. Hiking time = 40 to 45 minutes
From the rotary in Halifax, drive 3.7 km on the St. Margaret’s Bay Road and turn left onto Route 333 (Prospect Road) at the lights. Approximately 15 kin after the lights turn left down the Terence Bay Road for 6.5 km to reach Nice View Drive on the right hand side (note the iron gate and stacked boulders). This is a private road – do not drive on it. Instead, park in the parking spaces just before the gate on the left. If the spaces are filled, park out of the way elsewhere or carpool. Do not block any driveways.
Walk 150 m down Nice View Drive and take the first right on a rough narrow road. This road ends after 180 m (as does the power line). Continue on an ATV trail at the end of the road for 125 m and hook up to the start of another rough road. Follow this for 350 m to its end (T-junction). Turn right and go to the end of the road (80 m) where it turns into an ATV trail and enters the woods. You have now reached an excellent bouldering area known as “The Woods.”
Continue on the ATV trail for 60 m and turn left at the first junction. After another 60 m there will be a second junction – take either the left or the right trail. The left trail goes up to a Look-off point and runs along a ridge for about 100 m before bearing right (northeast) to re-enter the woods. The right trail passes a couple of trail junctions – keep left at both of these. After 260 m on either trail (left or right) they meet again and after another 130 m you will be very close to someone’s backyard. Stay on the trail as it veers back into the woods (left) and heads northwest for 300 m until it hits Dadies Lake. (Just before you reach the Lake [-50 m] there will be two trails on the right that head towards the back of a private sand pit. Look across the lake west-northwest to see the topographic high that is the top of the cliff (it faces west) – keep it in mind as the trail ahead can be a bit confusing.
From the lake, follow the trail to the right as it hugs the eastern shoreline. You will come to an old outhouse and a trail that heads northeast (away from the lake) – don’t take this one, it leads to more backyards. Keep heading northwest until you come to a rough bridge crossing a stream (it is sometimes a little boggy just before the bridge).
Stay on the trail after the bridge and it will bear north heading away from the lake. Approximately 60 m from the lake, take the left fork in the trail onto a rock outcropping that leads into a small stand of hardwoods. A few minutes on this trail will take you to the top of a large rock slab and a clear view of the barrens. From here you can see the topographic high straight ahead. Follow trails to reach the top of the cliff.
NOTE: The cliff is located on crown land but all trails leading to the cliff cross private property. At the present time, there is no secured access point to the cliff The description listed above attempts to minimize the impact that climbers have on local landowners (by staying clear of houses and limiting the use of private roads to foot traffic) but may change in the near future . Our continued use of these trails depends on the cooperation of all climbers in respecting the property and privacy of private landowners.