The ascent of the Cape North Massif Road is quite steep and one shortly finds oneself along the side of the massif, more than 300 m (984 ft) high at the point where a road to a gravel pit forks off to the east. The road then dips down a bit to arrive at an open view from which the entire north end of Cape Breton Island is spread out at one’s feet. The wide-angled view seen of the Cape Breton Highlands Plateau in photo #1 was what my unbelieving eyes saw: it is the first time I was ever able to get a single coherent view of this part of the island. As I stood there rapidly identifying all the various features I could, I was amazed at the glory of the scene, even in this less than wonderful light. This view is so much more expansive than the one I had seen from the Money Point Lighthouse Trail that I stood there literally gobsmacked.
Photo #2 provides a closer view of the southern portion of this scene, looking across the plateau towards the western shore of Cape Breton. I do not know what the distance is along the ridge at the horizon, so I do not know how far to the south this scene reaches, in particular, whether or not it reaches as far south as Polletts Cove, which I rather tend to doubt. Nor have I ever before seen with my own eyes the back country that is spread out at my feet here. As a result, I am very hesitant to identify any of the features seen in this view. All I can say is that the furthest ridge surely conceals Lowland Cove and the High Capes on its south side. MacEacherns Lake lies well inland southwest of Capstick, but is apparently at the base of one of the ridges seen here in the middle ground and thus not visible either. This view is one which I will be studying for some time to come!
Photo #3 was shot at the same lens setting as photo #2, with which there is considerable overlap, and looks further to the north. The long sloping ridge across the middle ground hides Capstick from view, but the shore beyond Capstick and Pats Point are visible on the other side of that ridge. The notch in the side of Black Point at the far right clearly identifies the Meat Cove Road as it winds around it. Neither Cape St Lawrence nor Blackrock Point can be seen here, though the mountains behind Meat Cove village on either side of Meat Cove Brook can be made out as the two ridges beyond Black Point. Again, what a marvellous panorama this is!
If one looks to the south rather than the west, the fine view in photo #4 appears. It looks into the gully carved by Wilkie Brook between Sams Mountain, on the left, and the Cape Breton Highlands Plateau on the right. A number of mostly bare trees is seen in the clearing in the foreground near the centre of the photo and the tree at the right is also bereft of leaves; the winds must be especially fierce on this edge of the massif, perhaps funnelled by the gully to the south.
The first three photos show a considerable amount of colour on the Cape Breton Highlands Plateau and on the slopes near Bay St Lawrence (the water). The fourth photo, on the other hand, shows very little colour in the gully or on its flanks, perhaps because of the poorer light or because these areas are better protected.