The Celtic Colours 2007 festival was, as always, superb and, this year, was accompanied by some of the most brilliant colours I remember seeing on Cape Breton Island during the five falls that I have attended the festival. Unfortunately for the festival’s attendees, the colours were late in arriving and the sun was usually missing in action, at least at the times when I was able to get my camera in hand and head out for pictures, so their brilliance was often unilluminated and then, sadly, gave a dullish impression, especially from a distance. Had I not stayed a week past the end of the Celtic Colours festival and gritted my teeth through more rotten weather at the start of that week, I’d have come home with half the pictures I ended up with and only a few would have been as brilliant as those I present in this essay (last year, I had more than 500 candidates from which to select; this year, I had barely 300). As it is, you will notice a lot of clouds in these pictures, ever-present companions this fall except during two stellar days and appearing in benign forms even those days.
The photos in this essay are presented in the order in which they were taken. All are from Inverness County, with one exception, the second photo, which is from Richmond County. Cape Breton’s other three counties, of course, have gorgeously coloured trees and places of great beauty, but on the occasions when I was in those counties this fall, the leaves had not begun to change at all, had only barely begun to turn, or were bereft of sun, so the photos I took there do not appear here.
The idea that the fall colours are best along the Cabot Trail does not accord with my experience; while there are areas of the Cabot Trail that usually have very fine colours (especially from Hunters Mountain to Margaree Harbour, ascending and descending North Mountain in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, and along the Atlantic coast from Wreck Cove to St Anns), there are usually even more vivid colours off the trail in places such as Capstick; Portree in the Margaree Valley; the Cèilidh Trail (Highway 19) from Southwest Margaree to Margaree Forks and from Mabou to Inverness; Orangedale; and especially the area from Cape Mabou to Whycocomagh along Highway 252 and nearby back-country gravel roads (of which the Northeast Mabou Road, the Smithville Road, the Mull River Road, the Upper Southwest Mabou Road, Moran Road, the Glencoe Road, the MacKinnon Road, and the Whycocomagh Road are the most spectacular). Such a large percentage of the pictures here come from this area because that is where I found the best fall colours.
I hope you will enjoy the photos I have chosen here and I encourage you to join me in exploring the cornucopia of riches that Cape Breton Island offers so freely to both its visitors and its residents.
Victor Maurice Faubert
2007 October 28