Photo 21 (Hard)

Meat Cove Mountain
Photo 21 of 30: Meat Cove Mountain
Taken 2006 June 29 in Meat Cove from the Meat Cove Road 300 m (0.2 mi) south of the Meat Cove campground
GPS 47°01.42?'N 60°33.61?'W

Anyone who has made the impossible-to-forget journey along the Meat Cove Road above Bay St Lawrence will surely recall the dominating peak that towers above the community of Meat Cove at the end of that road (unless, perchance, you have relegated it to the back of your mind due to your memories of the many other marvellous views of this incredibly wild and beautiful area). Unnamed in The Nova Scotia Atlas or on the topographical map of the area, this peak is locally called Meat Cove Mountain. A trail, which I have not yet hiked but hope to climb soon, starts on the right side of the Meat Cove Road a short distance past the U-curve as it ascends on its way out of the community; the trail reaches the summit of Meat Cove Mountain, from which I have seen some gorgeous photos.

Cape Breton Island is a “composite of continental plate fragments that were formed at different parts of the globe.”¹ Northern Cape Breton Island thus has a geologic origin believed to be very different from that of the rest of the island. These ancient “rocks, known as the Blair River Terrane, are over a billion years old. It’s believed that they originated as sediments that eroded from the Canadian Shield, the ancient continental core of North America. Later, during a period of plate collisions, the sediments were metamorphosed as they were incorporated into a huge mountain that was thrown up along the eastern edge of the shield. In time, the mountains eroded. The rocks of the Blair River Terrane are remnants of the roots of these eroded mountains.”² The same 45° tilt in the rocks at the summit of Meat Cove Mountain can be seen elsewhere in Meat Cove and in the surrounding area wherever the rocks are free of vegetation. The bare rock surface is nowhere more visible than in the cliffs bordering Bay St Lawrence from Black Point to Cape St Lawrence, as seen from along the Meat Cove Road.

Meat Cove is unconnected by road to the rest of Inverness County and the hiking trail that leads from Meat Cove to Pleasant Bay, passing by Pollets Cove and the Gampo Abbey on its way there, is only to be undertaken by the most fit and skilled of back-country hikers, capable of making their way across a bog-strewn terrain.³ The students who live in the community attend schools in the adjacent Victoria County communities, for which Inverness County pays the tuition.

[2012] I have since climbed the Meat Cove Mountain Trail and can now attest from my personal experience to the fantastic views that are available from there. The trail reaches the summit in the notch at the far left of this photo; one can walk for a considerable distance along the ridge above the valley carved by the Meat Cove Brook (behind the mountain in this view) as well as along the ridge leading from the notch to the mountainous rock face. There are views of the Cape North Massif and, in all directions, of the Cape Breton Highlands Plateau. Highly recommended!

¹ Cape Breton Highlands National Park: A Park Lover’s Companion by Clarence Barrett, p. 37.

² Ibid. More detailed information on the interesting geology of this area is available at this Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History web page. A very readable account of Cape Breton’s geology for the non-specialist can be found in Robert J. Morgan’s Rise Again! The Story of Cape Breton Island, Book One, pp. 3-7.

³ Michael Haynes comments in Hiking Trails of Cape Breton, p. 97, that “[a]t present the Meat Cove – Pollets Cove – Pleasant Bay Trail is extremely difficult to follow due to the bogs between Meat Cove and Pollets Cove, and it can only be completed by advanced navigators and backpackers.”