Overview from the Skyline Trail

Overview from the Skyline Trail
Photo 1 of 25: Overview from the Skyline Trail
Taken 2005 October 13 from the Skyline Trail on the stairs at its end
GPS 46°44.9??'N 60°54.4??'W

This photo gives an overview of the Chéticamp area as seen from the top of a mountain ridge several kilometers to its north. At the right and extending back into the middle of the photo is Chéticamp Island; Chéticamp Harbour lies between it and the main part of Cape Breton; Chéticamp village lies along the eastern shore of Chéticamp Harbour and the steeple of Église St-Pierre can barely be seen sticking up very close to the south end of Chéticamp Island. The area on Cape Breton to the east of Chéticamp Harbour contains several satellite communities, Petit-Étang and La Prairie to the north; Belle Marche and Le Platin in the middle; and Plateau and Point Cross further south, the latter across from the south end of Chéticamp Island. Chéticamp Island is actually no longer an island, as it is now permanently connected to Cape Breton by a sand bar which can be seen running out to Chéticamp Island.

In the middle ground between the vantage point from which this photo was taken and the Chéticamp area beyond lies Presqu’Île (”Peninsula”). It is a beautiful spot along the Cabot Trail, well worth a stop and a walk along its cobblestone beach; there is a good view of Pillar Rock from its shore, the rock formations on the land are very interesting, and, under a clear blue sky, the pond on the other side of the Cabot Trail is gorgeous. To this side of Presqu’Île the pier at La Bloc (site of a lobster cannery from 1900–1915) can be seen jutting out into the water.

In the far distance, one can see the mountains which form the coast to the south. Margaree Island (just right of centre in the photo) is superimposed on Sight Point (several kilometres below Inverness village), some 75 km (47 mi) away.

The Skyline Trail from which this photo was taken is one of the many glories of the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Accessed from the top of French Mountain, it offers a nearly flat 40 minute walk on a scrupulously maintained trail along a ridge that offers superb views of French Mountain (in the foreground of this photo) and of the Cabot Trail winding its way up its side far below. It can be somewhat of a herd path in high summer, but at other times of the year there are often very few people about. I have seen moose along this trail nearly every time I have hiked it; eagles are common in the air above; once one reaches the end of the trail high above the Gulf of St Lawrence, one often sees whales feeding in the waters below. It is one amazing spot and the trail is so well camouflaged that it is very difficult to see it from the Cabot Trail below. Be sure to take some warm clothing as it can be very cool up there, even when it is warm down below.