Ever since I saw this intriguing coast line the first time in 2001, my first time around the Cabot Trail (and in Cape Breton), it has fascinated me; I have explored as much of it as I’ve been able to, but the gap between Lowland Cove and the Black Cliffs still remains for me to see. Given that the area north of Polletts Cove is trailless, I am very unlikely ever to see it other than in these photos. So I ask your indulgence while I present a second and closer view of this stunningly beautiful northwestern coast of Cape Breton Island. I have been trying to get a clear and sharp photo of this coast for several years now and photo #1 is by far the best I have ever achieved (and I have tried frequently with the same camera I used for this one): the winter snows just make it so much crisper and sharper than I have ever seen it before. That it also comes with an extensive sheet of roughly textured sea ice all along the coast north of Pleasant Bay is just icing on the cake, if you’ll pardon the pun.
In the original of this photo, it is quite clear that the relatively low snow-covered point at the left edge of the photo is Tittle Point (grass-covered in the summer, but with a substantial growth of evergreens (which appear as a tiny black triangle above and to the right of the point in this photo) on the hill inland of the point, a detail that has survivied in this compressed version. Lowland Point is likely not visible here: the views of it I took from out on Tittle Point that include a view of MacKenzies Mountain show that it would be hidden by the much higher cliff beyond, below the High Capes.
At the far right of this photo, one can see the sloping hillside which leads down to Polletts Cove; the mouths of the Polletts Cove and Blair Rivers (they join just roughly 100 metres/yards from the coast) are immediately to the left of that sloping hillside). Michael Haynes, in his Hiking Trails of Cape Breton, p. 113, admits too to his fascination with this place: “I am always asked what hike is my favourite, and although I will admit to no single answer, Polletts Cove would be on any list of my top ten in Nova Scotia. It takes you to the finest in Cape Breton’s highland scenery. The views are unlike almost anything else in the province, a fitting reward for an arduous trek.” Some day I am going to make it there!
From the High Capes at the far left to Polletts Cove at the far right lies uninhabited, protected wilderness (though the area at Polletts Cove itself is privately owned) that very few are privileged to see on the ground. It is a fascinating and goregous coast, cut and carved by numerous brooks descending from the Cape Breton Highlands Plateau, that I will be exploring through these photos and with Google Earth for a long time to come!
Photo #2 is centred on Kerrs Point; from this vantage point on MacKenzies Mountain, much of the near coast beyond the point is hidden, but the portion of the Black Cliffs that is visible is here seen beyond and to the left Kerrs Point. The northern end of the Black Cliffs seen in photo #1 is here visible in its entirety.
In the upper photo especially, notice how there is a great curve in the sea ice running from the High Capes towards MacKenzies Mountain and then veering abruptly to the left; I strongly suspect that this is a relic of the formation of this ice sheet, caused by the winds as it blew a newer floe up against a more established one. However, I have no explanation for the cause of the long straight break across the sea ice visible in photo #2 and in many others I have taken this day: it simply was there, an inscrutable fact of nature.