The week that followed my trip to Meat Cove was a whirlwind of activity, with lots of music as the high season got underway and three hikes; the weather wasn’t bad, but the photos I got were under mostly overcast skies and not of good enough quality to merit including here. Friday, I had to make a trip to Port Hawkesbury to get a low beam light that had burnt out replaced on my Prius. It started as a gorgeous morning with brilliant sun, dazzling blue skies, and clear air, a near-perfect day for photography and remained that way for much of the rest of the day.
One of my favourite spots to stop is Christy’s Look-Off in Craigmore, a small park deeded to the public by a lady who lived across the road; it is now under the care of the Cèilidh Coastal Trail Association. Her name is given as Christy on the sign by the entrance to the park, but the interpretive panels there spell it as Christie; I’m not sure which spelling she used, but I’ve gone with the one on the sign.
The views from the look-off are very fine and are open around much of the compass rose. Photo #1, looking a bit west of south, shows Low Point extending from the centre to the right of the photo; the Strait of Canso lies on its far side, with its entrance to the right of the point. The boat right of centre is a lobster boat; while difficult to see in this compressed version, the original shows its stern loaded with lobster traps: Landing Day, when all lobster traps in this area of Cape Breton have to be out of the water, was the following day, 30 June. The higher mountains on the other side of the Strait are on the mainland of Nova Scotia above Aulds Cove. The waters in the foreground are those of St Georges Bay. The point in the middle ground and the one behind it (only the rocks at its tip are showing) are unnamed on the topographical maps. At the far left of the photo, one can see the slope of Creignish Mountain.
Photo #2 looks to the left of photo #1 and shows Creignish Mountain. The utility poles at the far left of the photo mark the course of the Cèilidh Trail (Highway 19); if you look at the centre right, you will see them come out of hiding and continue on towards Low Point. The sand track at the bottom far right is the Railway Trail (now, properly, the Trans-Canada Trail), this section of which is maintained by the Cèilidh Coastal Trail Association. At the side of the park is an access trail which leads down to the Railway Trail, making Christy’s Look-Off a good place to park and explore the trail in either direction; the views of St Georges Bay from the trail in this area are very fine. On a clear day, mainland Nova Scotia along the southern and western shores of St Georges Bay are easily visible; Cape George at the northwestern end of the mainland is a landmark visible on most days.
Photos #3, #4, and #5 form a connected panorama of the area from Low Point west along the southern shore of St Georges Bay.
Photo #3 starts at Low Point and sweeps north along the shore; the height of the mountains above Aulds Cove make them a good location for communications towers, which can be seen there (barely in this compressed version). The Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 104) runs along this coast inland (its course can be made out if you know where to look) and climbs up and over the mountains to come down in Havre Boucher (usually Anglicized locally as [ˈhæ.vɚˌbʊ.ʃɪ]) on the other side.
Photo #4 continues the view in photo #3 to the right. The light on the headland just left of centre in this photo marks the entrance to the Strait of Canso; so far as I can determine, it is unnamed. Lighthouse Road, off Highway 4 in East Havre Boucher, leads in the direction of the light, but, when I drove it a fews years ago, I was unable to get very close to it.
Photo #5 continues the view in photo #4 to the right. The dark area of the southern shore hadn’t yet caught the morning sun, but the houses to the west of the entrance to Havre Boucher Harbour running out towards Cape Jack are reflecting its rays. That harbour is a deep inlet formed by the mouth of Wrights River. A gravel road extends along the harbour and affords a fine opportunity for a summer walk out towards the shore of St Georges Bay. The specks of colour in the foreground are floats marking lobster traps that have not yet been pulled for Landing Day.