The Pipers’ Cèilidh, while excellent, was much too short to quench my thirst for bagpipe music—there really should be multiple piping concerts during Celtic Colours! I drove to Baddeck afterwards to meet friends with whom I rode to the final concert of the festival in Sydney, a moving celebration of Jerry Holland’s life and contributions to Cape Breton music (and, indeed, to the music of the wider world); although it was not without very emotional moments, the emphasis was on the joy Jerry took in his music and his generosity in passing it on to so many all over the world—his numerous fine compositions will forever be played wherever a bow is drawn across a fiddle’s strings.
Sunday morning, we had sun! Even, for a while, some blue sky! I dashed out to Mabou Coal Mines first—with all the poor weather, I had not even been there once this trip, when usually I get out there several times at least. I took a number of photos of the gorgeous scenery there and then drove back and on to Mabou Harbour, where, on the way, I got some very fine photos of the gypsum cliffs and surrounding foliage, which, however, still had lots of greens and lacked many reds. The sand dunes of West Mabou Beach across the bright blue water gleamed golden beneath a blue sky with white fluffy clouds! (Though, to be fair, looking inland was a rather different story—still sunny but the sky was dominated with great white clouds heavily tinged with grey and the waters of Mabou River were, at best, a greyish blue.) I then took a trip up to the summit of Mountain Road, where I parked the car and started walking downhill. I expected to see the usual narrowly focussed, but nevertheless stunning, views of Finlay Point and the area to its south, but, a hundred metres/yards down the road, I saw a new road leading off uphill to the right. I walked up to a clearing at the top, not a very steep climb because I was still close to the summit, and discovered a superb panorama of the Cape Mabou Highlands. While that panorama included Finlay Point and Beinn Alasdair Bhain (Fair Alistair’s Mountain) along the coast, it featured for as far as one could see to the northeast and east splendid vistas of the interior plateau. I was simply awestruck with the extensiveness and the great beauty of the views!
Photo #1 shows a small part of that panorama. The mountain running from left to right of centre across the photo is unnamed, but the most recently added trails to the Cape Mabou Trail System, the MacPhee and the Beaton Trails, traverse it. At its base lies the Cul Na Beinne (Beyond the Mountain) Trail, which follows MacKinnons Brook Lane all the way to the MacKinnons Brook Trail Head. The mountain peeping above it at the left of the photo is Beinn Bhiorach (Steep Mountain); its open field at the top marks it unambiguously. At the right of the photo is the Cape Mabou Plateau along which the MacEachen Trail runs to Sight Point. Memories of numerous wonderful hikes over, along, and through this terrain came flooding back as I stood mesmerized by the gorgeous views. Because the trail system had been closed down this spring due to high fire danger and the danger posed to hikers by the many dead spruce trees which could be toppled by a gust of wind at any time, I had not gotten in any hikes there this year. These stunning views were at least some recompense for having been deprived of the opportunity to wander across these gorgeous lands.
Photo #2 looks to the east and shows the ridge of the Cape Mabou Highlands running above the Mabou Coal Mines Road in the cleft at the bottom of the mountain. In neither photo do the colours come out as my eyes saw them, brighter and with more noticeable reds than they appear here. Perhaps it was just my euphoria at the glorious views or perhaps it was the light that tricked the camera, but my memory is of a much more colourful scene than the muted heather of photo #1 and the somewhat more vivid but still quite muted colours of photo #2. In any case, I am tremendously grateful for having found this spot and hope to return here for better photos another time.
The sun was mostly back under the clouds by the time I got down Mountain Road and, while I did take some photos on the way down and stopped along Mabou Harbour Road a few times for photos of the Mabou River, West Mabou, and Northeast Mabou, the loss of the sun put an end to my photography in this area. I drove to Judique via Mabou Road, where I decided to go the long way down Upper Southwest Mabou Road (with a detour to Morans Bridge over the Southwest Mabou River) to Long Johns Bridge and over the Rear Intervale Road to the Gussieville Road, finally arriving at the Celtic Music Interpretive Centre in Judique in time for the afternoon cèilidh. I got some photos along the way at each of those points, but the sun was, by then, long gone. Howie MacDonald and Hilda Chiasson-Cormier gave us a great afternoon of music and the Buddy MacMaster School of Fiddling Finale Concert in the Community Centre in the evening was a fabulous conclusion to another magnificent Celtic Colours festival (even though this annual concert is not part of the official program). I drove home in light rain that evening.
 I did return here 2011 June 28 and discovered a well was being drilled; this lovely short road is actually a driveway and I had unknowingly been trespassing. Whoever builds here has certainly chosen a glorious spot!