Paddle Lunenburg/Queens

Ocean Route 1: Aspotogan

Record #: LQR0004
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2019
Last Full Update: 14 Mar 2014


Public Bulletin
Neither South Shore nor the Lunenburg-Queens Recreational Coordinators/Directors Association own or control the canoe routes, portages or campsites listed in this guide, and assume no responsibility or liability for the safety of those using the canoe routes, walking the portages, or using the campsites. 
lt is recommended that users approach all canoe routes, portages and campsites in a safe and responsible manner. Conditions can change through fluctuating water levels, natural debris, and logging activity. Arrangements must be made directly with the owners of the portages and campsites. 
South Shore and Lunenburg-Queens Recreational Coordinators/Directors Association are not liable for any errors or omissions in this guide.


Located In South Shore Region
Where To Find Us
Bayswater, NS
Areas Served Lunenburg County ; Queens County (NS)


Phone 902-275-3490
Contact Chad Haughn, President, LQRCDA

Description & Services

Information A dramatic route with exposed headlands, crashing waves, a few islands and picturesque coves. 
Where: South of Hubbards 
Skill Level: Intermediate to expert (See optional beginner/intermediate route) 
Time: Day trip 
Distance: 16 km 
Click map to enlarge 
This challenging route on the Aspotogan (or Blandford) Peninsula goes around the western headland of the entrance to St. Margaret’s Bay. The name Aspotogan is a Mi’kmaq word meaning “where they block the passageway or where seals go in and out”. Whales can also be seen along this route. 
As you leave South West Cove and pass Owl’s Head, you can see the famous Peggy’s Cove lighthouse to the east. To your right is Back Cove, where a cobble beach hides a pond accessible at high tide. A softwood forest growing along the granite shoreline gives way to a coastal barren at White Point. 
Low cliffs and rock outcrops make landing impossible along most of this route. Big swells from the open ocean to the south crash against these rocks and off-shore reefs. Coleman’s Harbour provides a scenic refuge from the swells with a high cliff on the northeast side. Once in here you will see a small beach on the north side of Marrs Island. This is a super spot for a picnic and one of the few landing places available. 
From here, you can continue along Rocky Point where the granite changes to slate. The community of Aspotogan in Backman’s Cove is home to a few fishing boats and a small government wharf. If the weather is calm enough, you can land on the stony beaches at Saddle Island, Gravel Island or South West Island but Black Island appears impossible to land on. On your return to South West Cove, you get sweeping views of St. Margarets Bay and Shut-In Island on the opposite shore. 
Water Safety Notes (see also Ocean Notes
Winds - This route is very weather dependant. It is best done in light winds. A north wind will create a lee shore for most of your route. 
Swells - Even on a light wind day, you may have large swells coming in from the south. These can be fun to ride for the experienced paddler if they are far enough apart and not breaking. Be especially cautious going around White Point. 
Fishing nets - Go around nets if possible. Sometimes you may need to go over them. This is not generally a problem. Remember to pull up your rudder especially in big seas since the swell will push you around if you get caught. 
Points of Interest 
1 Chateau Paradis - A labour of love produced this small distinct castle of beach stone complete with turrets. Construction began about 25 years ago and is still underway. You can see the castle easily from Access Point One but the owner does not give tours. Please respect his privacy. 
2 The Spa - Your jaw will drop as you round White Point and see this huge German-built spa in this rugged isolated spot. The four-story structure hugs the wave-swept granite shoreline. Construction has stopped since the previous owners went bankrupt. It has recently been sold but future plans are uncertain. You can also see the spa from the road near Aspotogan. 
3 Marrs Island - This little island is fun to explore. Large hollows in the granite and slate create natural salt water pools where you can soak in the warm water and watch the wave action or small fish trapped there. 
4 Black Island - Look for sizable clefts on the east side of the island. 
5 Salmon Farm - On the north side of Saddle Island is a large salmon farm operation where you can see the “farmers” feeding their “livestock”. 
6 Bayswater Provincial Beach - A long sandy beach with lots of parking, change rooms, toilets and a lakeside picnic area across the road. 
How to get there 
Take Exit 6 off Highway 103 at Hubbards and turn left at Route 3. After 1 km, turn right onto Route 329 and drive to North West Cove. No amenities past Fox Point. Or take Exit 7 off Highway 103, turn left at Route 3 and then right onto Route 329 through Blandford to Bayswater. 
Access Point One - South West Cove 
Just past North West Cove, turn left to South West Cove. At the end of this public road is a small parking lot known locally as the seine ground (where the fishermen fixed their nets). Continue down a private road a short distance to a bridge that connects Owl’s Head to the mainland. There is a small park here that is maintained by the local community with easy access at a small beach. Unload your boat and gear here and park back in the parking lot. 
Access Point Two - Aspotogan Government Wharf 
Continue along Route 329 to the community of Aspotogan. The green sign for the government wharf is somewhat hidden by trees. Access here for canoes or kayaks is via a small steep slipway and difficult. Parking is very limited. Park if possible off the highway so you don’t block parking for the fishermen. 
Access Point Three - Bayswater Beach 
This beach is about 3 km from Aspotogan. Lots of parking but surf action may make it difficult to land except on calm days. Try the west end of the beach behind a small point near a graveyard. Access may also be possible at numerous spots to the east of the beach as the road parallels the water along a low stony shore. 
Owl’s Head Island 
Beginners may want to paddle around Owl’s Head Island (3 km). Owl’s Head is a high granite bluff and most of the island is steep and rocky. Two small beaches are on the north end of the island. From here you can see the dead trees on Horse Island, the result of a cormorant colony. Continue from here up into scenic Northwest Cove where there is a steel-head trout farm and a small fishing fleet, or paddle back to the bridge. You can pass under the bridge back to the beach unless the tide is really low. 
No connections to other routes in this guide. 
For more information 
Philip Guest, Freewheeling Adventures, 902-857-3600 
Rob Girrard, SeaSun Kayak, 902-471-2732 
Topographic map: Chester 21 A/9
Eligibility Ages: 16 year(s) and up 
Children under 16 with adults - please use own discretion depending on skill level

Special Information