Beryl Markham's Landing Site – Main-a-dieu, Nova Scotia - Atlas Obscura

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Beryl Markham's Landing Site

Main-a-dieu, Nova Scotia

This remote piece of Cape Breton coast was the unceremonious landing site of the first solo, east-west transatlantic flight made by a female aviator. 


Beryl Markham was born in 1902 into a pastoral English village. At the age of four, she moved with her father to Kenya; she developed a taste for adventure as she grew, and was soon raising her own horses. That taste for adventure also led her to learn to fly; she was one of the first bush pilots in Kenya.

In 1936, she took off from a field in Addington, England on an ambitious solo flight to New York. At that time only a few had accomplished the feat of a solo transatlantic flight, let alone against prevailing winds by flying east-to-west. 

After a grueling, 20-hour journey through poor weather and against the wind, the fuel tank vents of her Vega Gull monoplane iced up over the Cape Breton coastline. The plane crashed near the tiny settlement of Baleine in Nova Scotia. Markham walked away with just a small cut over her eye.

Today the spot where Markham’s plane made its undignified landing is marked with a simple plaque, facing the wild Atlantic on a near-hidden strip of beach.

Know Before You Go

The Baleine road is gravel, and can get pretty rutted in the spring.  The monument is on the left, about halfway between the last two houses.  Dress warm.  Doesn't matter if it's August.  Dress warm.

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May 26, 2021

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