Northwest View from the MacLellan Road

Northwest View from the MacLellan Road
[#1] Photo 15 of 41: Northwest View from the MacLellan Road
Taken 2009 October 9 in Rosedale from the MacLellan Road
3.2 km (2 mi) north of its junction with the Whycocomagh Road in Dunakin
GPS 45°59.623'N 61°16.480'W

The Rosedale Road’s northwest end leaves the Old Mull River Road (also known as the Brook Village Road) in Miramichi 1.8 km (1.1 mi) south of Highway 252 (at GPS 46°01.899'N 61°18.782'W) and runs from there to the south and southeast; of that fact, the one map I have naming the road and every other source agrees. The location of its southeast end is, however, much less clear: two candidates, both off the Whycocomagh to Glencoe Mills Road, vie for that honour. The first candidate (and the only one shown on the Cape Breton Travel Map referenced in the introduction, where it appears as the unnamed road west of Roseburn and north of Glencoe Mills) leaves the Whycocomagh Road between Dunakin and Kewstoke (at GPS 45°58.901'N 61°14.334'W); this is also snowmobile junction 4J where the southern end of Snowmobile Trail 408 joins Snowmobile Trail 104 (though the sign so indicating has gone missing in the past year). That candidate runs for 4.3 km (2.7 mi) to the northwest, mostly through a valley, to 45°59.994'N 61°17.061'W, where the second candidate, which begins in Dunakin at GPS 45°58.219'N 61°15.501'W and runs mostly along a ridge, enters it from the left, 4.2 km (2.6 mi) from its start. Beyond that point (about where the brook crosses the road on the Cape Breton Travel Map), there is but one road to the northwest, which runs 5 km (3.1 mi) out to Miramichi. So which of these candidates is the continuation of the “Rosedale Road”? I do not have a definitive answer to that question, but the arguments are these. In favour of the first candidate are the facts that Snowmobile Trail 408 is coterminous with it from the Whycocomagh Road nearly all the way to Miramichi (it leaves the Rosedale Road only at GPS 46°01.540'N 61°18.196'W, about 1 km (0.6 mi) from the Old Mull River Road), i.e., this candidate and its continuation effectively form a single road; moreover, it is the only road shown on the Cape Breton Travel Map, with the same implication; and finally, at the point where the second candidate joins the first, the route is straight ahead if one is on the first candidate but requires a left hand turn if one is on the second candidate, i.e., the second candidate appears to be a side road. In favour of the second candidate are the facts that two locals who formerly lived in the area say that it is the “Rosedale Road”, though they have no name for the first candidate; that the circle designating the locality of Rosedale lies on it both in The Nova Scotia Atlas and in the Nova Scotia Backroad Mapbook (though it’s between the two on the topographical map); that the only houses remaining today lie along it; and that, at the aforementioned junction, it appeared to my eyes to be the more frequently travelled based on the tire tracks in the road. Since I need unambiguous names for these two candidates in this essay, I am going to call the first candidate the Rosedale “Valley” Road and the second candidate the Rosedale “Ridge” Road, reserving Rosedale Road to mean only the portion of the road from their common junction to the Old Mull River Road in Miramichi. Whew! Aren’t you glad we got that sorted out?!

I first drove the Rosedale “Valley” Road and the Rosedale Road in July, 2007; a photo from that trip (taken at GPS 46°01.179'N 61°17.950'W) appears here. At that time, I was blissfully unaware of the Rosedale “Ridge” Road, as the text accompanying that photo reveals, believing that the Rosedale “Valley” Road was part of the Rosedale Road. It wasn’t until 13 August this summer that I became aware of the Rosedale “Ridge” Road: with its fine views from a semi-open ridge, it is one of only two places I know of that allows one to see the lie of the land in the Glencoe Mills area (the other is Churchview Road off MacKinnon Road). It immediately became a favourite of mine and I drove it at every opportunity this fall to check out the fall colours.

The drive up the Glencoe Road where I saw the eagle brought me to Glencoe Mills, where I turned down the MacKinnon Road and crossed over to the Whycocomagh Road; that left me a very short distance from the Rosedale “Ridge” Road, so I turned down it. Immediately after leaving the Whycocomagh Road, one reaches a Y; the Rosedale “Ridge” Road is to the left up a steep little knoll, while straight ahead leads after 0.3 km (0.2 mi) to a gravel pit and a fenced pasture with cattle on the side of an unnamed mountain with some fine views of Skye Mountain (I subsequently learnt from a friend that this pit is known as Angus “the Piper” [MacDonald]’s (not because he played the pipes, but because he smoked one!); that his family home once stood there; and that its gravel is renowned locally for making good “packed roads”). I drove down there and had a look around and then turned back and started down the Rosedale “Ridge” Road.

There are three separate locations on the Rosedale “Ridge” Road with excellent views, here measured with respect to its start on the Whycocomagh Road:

Each offers a different perspective of the landscape.

Photo #1 is taken from a bit beyond the third of these vantage points, looking, according to my GPS, to the northwest. I have not yet had enough time to study this and other views of this landscape to be certain of the landmarks, but I’m pretty sure that the highest and most remote of the mountains in the centre of the photo lie along the Mabou River north of Mabou Harbour Road and that the highest mountains at the right are part of the Cape Mabou Highlands. That would put Mabou Mountain in front of them (given the poor lighting in this photo, hard to distinguish from the Highlands) and also would make the long ridge left of centre sloping down to the right of centre Southwest Ridge (also called Mabou Ridge) and the valley between it and the edge of the nearer mountain at the right the Mull River valley

The mountain at the left of photo #1 is a prolongation of that seen in the far distance at the right of photo #2, taken a week later on a rainy drive of the Rosedale “Ridge” Road from the second of the three vantage points mentioned above and looking a bit south of west. It shows in the centre of the photo St Joseph’s Church in Glencoe Mills amid the several quasi-parallel ridges of the Creignish Hills. This is the only one of the Rosedale “Ridge” Road’s three vantage points from which one can see St Joseph’s; one would expect it to be visible from the first one, but it is, in fact, hidden from view there. Neither of these photos gives a very good idea of just how brilliant in fact the fall colours were here; both badly need some sun to show them in all their glory. But both nevertheless do show the gorgeous views of the mountains and valleys round about the Glencoe Mills area available from the Rosedale “Ridge” Road.

[2012] I have since established the correct names of these roads: the Rosedale “Valley” Road continues the Rosedale Road while the Rosedale “Ridge” Road is a side road properly known as the MacLellan Road. I have changed the title and captions accordingly, but left the longer discussion intact for those who wish to explore these beautiful back-country roads, both still in excellent shape when I drove them in the fall of 2011. Elsewhere in this essay, the nomenclature has been corrected.

Glencoe Mills seen from the MacLellan Road
[#2] Photo 16 of 41: Glencoe Mills seen from the MacLellan Road
Taken 2009 October 9 in Rosedale from the MacLellan Road
1.9 km (1.2 mi) north of its junction with the Whycocomagh Road
GPS 45°59.083'N 61°16.148'W