Sgurra Bhreac (Nova Scotia)

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Sgurra Bhreac
the Big Rock
Sgurra Bhreac is located in Nova Scotia
Sgurra Bhreac
Sgurra Bhreac
Sgurra Bhreac is located in Canada
Sgurra Bhreac
Sgurra Bhreac
Sgurra Bhreac (Canada)
Highest point
Elevation 222 m (728 ft) [1]
Prominence 212 m (696 ft) [2]
Coordinates 45°55′42.88972″N 60°25′46.70739″W / 45.9285804778°N 60.4296409417°W / 45.9285804778; -60.4296409417Coordinates: 45°55′42.88972″N 60°25′46.70739″W / 45.9285804778°N 60.4296409417°W / 45.9285804778; -60.4296409417
Etymology name means spotted or pitted ridge or rock in Gaelic
Location Cape Breton County, Nova Scotia, Canada
Parent range East Bay Hills
Topo map NTS O11/F16
Easiest route drive / hike

Sgurra Bhreac[3] (alternative spelling 'Sgurra Breac'), sometimes referred to as the Big Rock, is a Canadian peak located in the East Bay Hills of Cape Breton Island, an extension of the Appalachian mountain chain in the province of Nova Scotia. Sgurra Bhreac is a prominent rock outcrop, rising 50 m (160 ft) from the northern edge of The Big Barren, between the Breac Brook and Glengarry Valleys, and is the highest elevation point on Cape Breton Island south of the Bras d'Or Lake with its summit at 222 m (728 ft).


Located 30 km (19 mi) west of Sydney, inland of the community of Big Pond and 1 km (0.62 mi) southwest of East of Rock Lakes, the peak can be approached to within 1 km (0.62 mi) by back roads, either Glengarry Rd. (named "Spring Road" on older maps) to the south or a road (unnamed on current topographical maps) to the north passing through Rear Big Pond, which follows the Breac Brook Valley. The final approach to the peak is by hiking.


Sgurra is a Gaelic term for “hill.” The form 'Sgurr' or 'Sgùrr na' is not uncommon as part of the name of a mountain in Scotland.[4] In Canada, however, its usage in geographical names is rare and generally only found in the province of Nova Scotia where it is a generic term for hill.[5] The name, Sgurra Bhreac, (pronunciation approximately "skoor ah brec") means spotted or pitted ridge or rock in Gaelic, speckled peak.[6]

The name, Sgurra Bhreac, was officially adopted for the big rock on 2 December 1924.[7] The Sgurra Breac, a local history / natural sciences newsletter published from 2004 to 2010, had adopted the name of the "Big Rock".

Survey monument[edit]

There is a first order Natural Resources Canada Geodetic Survey Division Station (Unique Number: 21139) on the summit, consisting of three markers. Two are brass/bronze disks and one is a copper survey bolt. This station was established sometime before 1921 as a fourth order station, and upgraded to first order in 1969/1970.[8][9][10]

Hiking / Geocaching[edit]

Sgurra Bhreac is a challenging but popular hiking/geocaching destination as the view from its summit is impressive. From here one can see Sydney, Glace Bay, the Bras d'Or Lake, the Mira River and most of the Mira area, Loch Lomond, the Atlantic Ocean, and many other lakes, ridges, valleys and bogs.[11]


  1. ^ "The Nova Scotia Atlas: Province of Nova Scotia". Government of Nova Scotia. p. 24, V2. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
  2. ^ "Sgurra Bhreac, Nova Scotia". Retrieved 9 April 2012.
  3. ^ Geographical Names of Canada - Sgurra Bhreac
  4. ^ The Munros by Altitude, Walkhighlands, retrieved 23 June 2018
  5. ^ Ratelle, Claudine; Herrera, Carolina; Poirier, Isabelle (2012). Glossary of generic terms in Canada's geographical names (PDF) (Terminology Bulletin No. 176) (in English & French) (2nd ed.). Ottawa: Public Works and Government Services Canada. p. 237. ISBN 978-1-100-54304-8. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
  6. ^ Shamus Y., MacDonald, “Dh’fheumadh iad àit’ a dheanamh” (They would have to make a Place): LAND AND BELONGING IN GAELIC NOVA SCOTIA, Memorial University of Newfoundland, p. 135, retrieved 18 June 2018
  7. ^ Nova Scotia Geographical Names - Bhreac, Sgurra (includes map), Government of Nova Scotia, retrieved 8 April 2012
  8. ^ Canadian Spatial Reference System Station Report - Big Rock, Natural Resources Canada, retrieved 24 June 2018
  9. ^ Station Report - Big Rock 219465, GeoNova (Province of Nova Scotia), retrieved 9 June 2014
  10. ^ BIG ROCK 19465 (PDF), GeoNova (Province of Nova Scotia), retrieved 9 June 2014
  11. ^ Geocaching Home - Cache Details GC750D, Groundspeak, retrieved 30 January 2009

External links[edit]