Main-à-Dieu is on the south side of the peninsula whose northern coast forms the southern shore of Mira Bay, into which the Mira River (extensively discussed and pictured in the second instalment of this series of East Coast essays) flows. Roughly 7.5 km (4.7 mi) west from Main-à-Dieu along that peninsula, one reaches the bridge over the outflow from Catalone Lake, seen in photo #1 above as it flows into Mira Bay. Catalone Gut¹ is both the name given to the ravine formed by the hills on both sides of the lake through which its outflow enters Mira Bay and the nearby small community (population 48 in 2001). As one can see, the beach here is formed mostly of small cobblestones, which were gleaming brightly in the sun. Beyond the outflow, the western edge of Mira Bay sweeps around in a crescent.
Catalone Lake, popular for its canoeing, kayaking, bird watching (water birds, ospreys, and bald eagles are commonly sighted), and fishing, is seen in photo #2 from near that bridge looking inland and to the southwest. Some 5 km (3.1 mi) long, the lake runs from Highway 22 (the Louisbourg Highway), where the community of Catalone (population 62 in 2001) is located, to Mira Bay. The name Catalone is the Anglicization of the family name of the French captain Gédéon de Catalogne (1662-1729), an army engineer who was once an important landowner in the area and who became involved in 1723 in the design and construction of defensive works at Louisbourg. The area adjacent to Catalone Lake was settled by Scots from North Uist in the 1820’s and 1830’s; an interesting short summary of the Scottish settlement of Cape Breton, including the Catalone Lake area, can be found in Bill Lawson’s account, From the Outer Hebrides to Cape Breton.
¹ The word gut appears in more than one Cape Breton place name: it has the sense of a strait or a narrow channel, often carved through adjacent higher land on one or both sides.↩
Photo #3, again taken taken from near the Catalone Gut bridge, looks north across Mira Bay, further to the east than in photo #1. Mira Gut, seen in the last three photos of the second instalment of this series, lies at the far left outside the scope of this photo. The point seen about a third of the way in from the left is Round Island Point, near the community of Round Island (population 18 in 2001). The land at the far right is the island on which the community of Waddens Cove is found. That island is separated from Cape Breton Island by a narrow channel connecting Mira Bay to Morien Bay through which the Homeville River flows and by a wider bay to the south named False Bay. Although they appear to be the same land in this reduced view from this perspective, where the land changes elevation about a third of the way in from the right is where Cape Breton Island ends—the lower land to its right is on that island, which lies somewhat further to the north.