Views of Ingonish Island

Ingonish Island from Middle Head
[#1] Photo 46 of 132: Ingonish Island from Middle Head
Taken 2011 March 4 in Keltic Lodge from Keltic Road
1.1 km (0.7 mi) west of the Middle Head Trail parking lot
GPS 46°39.402'N 60°23.142'W

Photo #1 of Ingonish Island was taken, after leaving the Keltic Lodge, from along Keltic Road, roughly 850 m (0.5 mi) from its junction with the Cabot Trail south of Ingonish Centre; for most of its length Keltic Road is a one-way loop so the inbound views of South Bay Ingonish give way to views of North Bay Ingonish on the way out. This beautiful island has a long history of human use, dating back at least 7,000 years and likely considerably longer. Research work done in 1975 by Dr. Ronald Nash of St FX University in Antigonish, described here and here and summarized here, excavated sites at two separate quarries on the island, named Geganisg (“remarkable place”) by the Mi’kmaq. The larger of the two was located on the flatter northwest side, across from Ingonish; the smaller faced the ocean under the cliffs on the very steep northeast side. Neither site showed evidence of food being eaten there, so it was likely that the stoneworkers had their main village on the shore and transited between it and the island. The artefacts retrieved, now in the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History in Halifax, included arrowheads, knives, spear points, primitive axes, sharp-edged circular and rectangular scrapers, all made from the slightly magnetic volcanic rock (rhyolite) in the Ingonish Island quarries, a material that is as hard as steel and very rare since volcanic rocks normally do not exhibit magnetism. The high quality of the work seen in the artefacts testifies to the sophistication of those who made them. Examples of the stone tools from Ingonish Island, easily identifiable because of their abnormal magnetism, are found all over the Maritime provinces. Thus, this research proves that the peoples of the Maritime provinces were visiting and trading with one another three millenia after the end of the last ice age.

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Snow on the northwestern point of Ingonish Island
[#2] Photo 47 of 132: Snow on the northwestern point of Ingonish Island
Taken 2011 March 4 in Ingonish from Wharf Road near its end above Ingonish Wharf
GPS 46°41.337'N 60°21.462'W

The abundant codfish in the waters off Ingonish doubtless also drew the indigenous peoples to those waters, where in recent centuries they have been joined by fishermen from Europe. In this period, the island was surely used for drying the caught fish before they were shipped back to Europe. In even more recent days, a manned lighthouse was established on the island; a concrete lighthouse keeper’s house still stands on the southeast corner of the island, though in dire shape, and the topographical map shows a light (now surely automated) in the same location; the building seen in photo #3 might also date from that time, though it is considerably removed from the site of the lighthouse and looks more recent. Today, so far as I am aware, there are no longer any human inhabitants on Ingonish Island. Like Steering Island off Middle Head, it is a popular nesting site for many of the ocean birds in the area.

Both photo #2 and photo #3 show the snow formations on the shores of Ingonish Island; the white blobs in the water in both photos are a mixture of floating ice and white caps. The snow cap on the northwestern point seen in photo #2 has a peculiarly strange form, almost as if it were a roof; the winds must have planed it into this unusual shape. At the far left of the photo, one can see what appear to be icebergs, but aren’t: they are the snow capped tops of what the topographical map calls the Eastern Rocks off the northeastern end of the island, another site used heavily by the birds of the area.

Visit this web page and click on the red X marks on the map that you will find there: the X’s mark many additional summer-time photos taken both in the waters off the island and on the island, most of them views of the island and its shores, while some are views Cape Breton Island seen from this perspective.

Close-up of Ingonish Island
[#3] Photo 48 of 132: Close-up of Ingonish Island
Taken 2011 March 4 in Ingonish from Wharf Road near its end above Ingonish Wharf
GPS 46°41.337'N 60°21.462'W