This view from the mouth of the Fishing Cove River¹ shows the valley through which it flows. None of the prominences here are named on the topographical map, but the long ridge seen in the far distance from right of centre to the far right of the photo is known as the Boarsback², which the Cabot Trail traverses after climbing up MacKenzies Mountain, and from which there are sheer drops of 335 m (1100 ft) on one side and of 180 m (600 ft) on the other, making it the only location in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park where you can look down two different river valleys at the same time: the MacKenzies River valley to the east and the Fishing Cove River valley to the west.³
Two different hiking trails to Fishing Cove start on the Cabot Trail, a shorter one (2.8 km (1.75 mi) one-way) to the north of the Boarsback (at GPS 46°47.851'N 60°50.806'W) and a considerably longer one (7.9 km (4.9 mi) one-way) to the south of the Boarsback (at GPS 46°46.221'N 60°50.183'W). Both lead to the mouth of the Fishing Cove River, where tenting platforms are available for the overnight camper; note that a backcountry camping permit is required for overnighting. I have hiked the shorter, but not the longer, of the two trails. The mouth of the Fishing Cove River enters Fishing Cove across a very stony beach (the stones at the left of the photo are close to and very similar to those found on the beach); I waded across the river here (the waters were numbingly cold, but it was October) and lunched on the far side of the cove. In summer, both fresh-water and salt-water swimming are available in what are presumably then warmer waters.
This beautiful cove, an inlet of the Gulf of St Lawrence, was home to a community of Scottish immigrants who settled there in the early 1800’s. They made their living mostly from the sea, supplemented with what they could raise on the land they had cleared. A lobster cannery was built here in 1897, but by 1915 the community was deserted, except for fishing shacks which were used by passing fishermen.⁴
¹ This is the name on the topographical map (11 K/15); it is also referred to as the Fishing Cove Brook.↩
² This is the spelling on the topographical map; it is also spelt as Boars Back and Boar’s Back.↩
³ A Nature and Hiking Guide to Cape Breton’s Cabot Trail by David Lawley, p. 22.↩
⁴ ;See Cape Breton Highlands National Park: A Park Lover’s Companion by Clarence Barrett, pp. 103-105.↩