The Cape Mabou Highlands between Mabou and Inverness are very close to my heart; it would simply be unthinkable not to capture their glory on a day like this! Since the best place from which to see their eastern side is the Smithville Road, where a great deal of the Cape is visible across beautiful fields, I accordingly turned down the Smithville Road in Glendyer Station after taking the photos at the Mabou River on the previous page. A short drive down the Smithville Road led to the glorious views seen in these photos. With, I believe, five exceptions (Mabou Mountain, Mabou Harbour Mountain, Beinn Alasdair Bhain, Cross Mountain, and Beinn Bhiorach), the prominences of Cape Mabou are unnamed, including all those seen in photo #1.
Photo #1 on this marvellous day after the last day of the Celtic Colours festival looks towards the southeasternmost edge of the Cape Mabou Highlands limned against the clear blue sky, each knob and fold and knoll distinct, and all cloaked in what at first glance appear to be fall colours! A herd of cattle is enjoying the lovely day in the field. The evergreen trees mark the location, more of less, of Glendyer Brook, which rises beyond the right edge of this photo, and of the Railway Trail, which runs along the brook on its way to the Blackstone Road until the brook turns inland. The Cèilidh Trail (Highway 19) runs on the far side of the ridge seen in the middle ground of the photo; that ridge obscures in this view the base of the Highlands. The triangular shaped hillside left of centre in the photo marks the location of the Glenora Falls Road, which climbs right of that hillside up Cape Mabou to the Cape Mabou Road on the plateau, which leads to the Cape Mabou Trail Head of the peerless Cape Mabou Trail Club trail system (sadly closed in 2009 and 2010 due to the devastation caused by the spruce bark beetle and only partially reöpened this year (see here and here for the details)), to the Community Pastures in the South Highlands, and continues on to Broad Cove Banks (some scenes along the northern part of the Cape Mabou Road were in an earlier page of this essay). Riverville is at the base of the Highlands at the far right of the photo; the Glenora Distillery in Glenville is beyond the scope of this photo.
Clearly, the red tree at the bottom left of photo #2 is in its glory! In this photo, looking to the southwest, Mabou Mountain rises to fill the sky in that direction, crowned by a ghostly white halo muting the blue of the sky. The path the Cèilidh Trail takes over Hawley Hill can be seen following the ridge beneath the summit of Mabou Mountain. The lack of significant colours on Mabou Mountain contrasts sharply with those on the Cape Mabou Highlands to the north. It is unclear to me whether this is due to a significant number of bare trees from the nor’easter, dead trees (some of which can be seen in the middle ground), or simply the distance turning the greens a shade of greyish brown.
Photo #3 looks a bit north of west to the Highlands southwest of Glenora Falls into the gap between Mabou Mountain and the other Cape Mabou Highlands carved by the Northeast Mabou River. The colouring here is still heavily green, with some beginning yellows and oranges; the flanks of the mountain at the far right make it clear that it is not a case of bare trees, but rather of trees that are only beginning to change. Some very nicely coloured trees are interspersed with the evergreens in the middle ground, including a few bright reds.
Photo #4 is a telephoto view of the left half of photo #1, showing the Cape Mabou plateau west of Glenora Falls. Its colours too show some change, but the greens still soften the effect; like the grasses of the field, which are a fine mixture of changing greens, the slopes have set off on the journey to fall but have not yet arrived.
Photo #5, which is a telephoto view of the right half of photo #1, shows considerably more colour, both in the Highlands and on the ridge in the middle ground. There are vivid reds all along the ridge; it is likely that there are too along the sides of the Highlands, though they are too far away to pick out individual trees.
This was the last time I saw these beautiful Highlands in fine weather; by the time I had left, they were still not yet at their peak, but were showing even more colours than on this gorgeous day.