On Sunday, which was considerably colder and did not suffer from the fog/haze problems that I experienced on Monday, I drove along Portage Road, a beautiful road that follows the south shore of Whycocomagh Bay across a narrow peninsula (which, so far as I am aware, has no name of its own) between Whycocomagh Bay and the River Denys Basin; at the eastern end of Portage Road, this narrow peninsula expands into the much wider and larger Washabuck Peninsula, which sits smack in the middle of the Bras d’Or Lake system and borders most of its component arms. The eastern end of this narrow peninsula is less than a kilometre (half a mile) wide and is accessible from water on either side, making it the ideal site for a portage between these two bodies of water in the days when water transportation was usual; that portage gave its name to this road—it’s remarkable how long-obsolete technology still lives on in place names!
At this point along Portage Road, there is a U-shaped bay very like, but only a third the size of, the U-shaped bay around which the communities of Waycobah and Whycocomagh are strung out on the opposite side of Whycocomagh Bay. Portage Road passes along the southern edge of this bay, whence the photos on this page were taken. The line of dark trees reaching out from left to well beyond the middle of photo #1 is the western edge of the U; the eastern edge of the U is at the right, outside the scope of this photo. This beautiful view shows the mountains across Whycocomagh Bay that so define Waycobah and Whycocomagh. The mountain rising above and to the left of the western edge of the U is Skye Mountain; that at the far left of the photo is, so far as I can ascertain, another part of Skye Mountain. The triangular shape in the centre of the photo is Indian Island, whose apex rises above 60 m (200 ft) according to the topographical map (compared to the other mountains, it appears taller here than it really is as it is closer to the camera than any of the others are). The bulk of Campbells Mountain lies well inland and appears in this photo between Skye Mountain and Indian Island, though its western end is hidden behind Skye Mountain; Campbells Mountain has a look-off that offers magnificent views of the inland area between Whycocomagh and St Georges Bay and from which Cape George across St Georges Bay is easily visible on a clear day. To the right of Indian Island, one can see the notch the identifies Whycocomagh Mountain and its ridge running on both sides of the notch. At the far right of the photo is Salt Mountain, which has a hiking trail to the summit starting in the provincial park on its flanks; from the top, one has stunning views into all four of Cape Breton’s counties on a clear day.
Photo #2 looks more to the west than the view at the top of the page; the two prominences seen in that photo are repeated in the smaller one and the prominence to their left is also, I believe, part of Skye Mountain. The Trans-Canada Highway passes below Skye Mountain and continues to the west and south towards Port Hastings below the edge of the great southern interior plateau known variously as the Bornish Hills, the Big Ridge, and the Creignish Hills; Skye Mountain, River Denys Mountain, Camerons Mountain, McIntyres Mountain, and Creignish Mountain are all components of this plateau. Looking up from the highway, they appear to be distinct mountains, but it is the edges of the plateau one is really seeing: if one traces them on a map, they all merge into the plateau. According to the topographical maps, the peak of McIntyres Mountain is more than 300 m (985 ft) high, while most of the remaining named mountains rise above 200 m (655 ft) and Skye Mountain rises above 260 m (850 ft). Once dotted with small communities, most of the plateau is now essentially uninhabited, though the old roads that joined the communities to each other and to the larger settlements at the base of the plateau still exist, if only as snowmobile trails or ATV paths rather than as maintained roads.