I have always enjoyed stopping and watching brooks and rivers anywhere I travel and Cape Breton Island has many more beautiful ones than anywhere else I know of. This page presents four streams, all photographed on a hazy day that was not good for long views, though close-up photos were generally fine. I drove over through the back country on my way to Margaree Forks for the Friday night square dance and stopped along the way to catch the streams along the Whycocomagh Road, with the results shown here.
Photo #1 is an upstream view of Kewstoke Brook, as it spills down the mountainside directly above before passing under the bridge from which the photo was taken. Not much rain had fallen in a couple of months and not a lot of water is visible in the brook here. The helter-skelter pile of dead tree trunks, however, indicates that in the fairly recent past water with enough force has flowed through the brook to push them here. Kewstoke Brook follows along the west side of the Whycocomagh Road, which runs to the north and northeast in Kewstoke, until the road turns east and heads towards Soapstone Mine; the brook continues on northeast and empties into the Indian River, which rises northwest of Roseburn on the western end of Campbells Mountain.
The next bridge one arrives at is that over Cove Brook, which flows down from the summit of Skye Mountain and flows around its base and under the bridge in Soapstone Mine from which photo #2 was taken looking upstream. Not much water is flowing here this day, but the facing stones at the left have been placed there to protect the bank from much faster moving waters. I have stopped here several times previously and have usually heard the waters rushing across the rocks in the centre of the stream; today, it was almost silent.
Photo #3 is a downstream view of Cove Brook. Shortly after passing under the bridge, it too enters the Indian River, right by the bridge on the Roseburn Road. In the background of the photo, one can see Campbells Mountain, at the base which the Whycocomagh Road runs from Soapstone Mine to the Stewartdale Cemetery. Only a small portion of the look-off on Campbells Mountain is visible in the original and that didn’t survive compression, the rest being screened from view by the evergreen tree in the centre, but walking a step or two east will bring it completely into view—look first for a meadow surrounded by evergreens just below the mountain’s summit and then move your eyes to the right to the cliffs (mostly tree-obscured from the road below) where the the look-off is found.
The next bridge one comes to travelling to the east on the Whycocomagh Road is the bridge over the Indian River, from which photo #4 was taken looking downstream. From this point eastwards for a goodly ways, guardrails line the Whycocomagh Road as it runs along a bank well above the river, an especially gorgeous stretch in the fall when the colours are out. From the combined flow of the many brooks which feed into it from both Skye Mountain and Campbells Mountain, the Indian River has more water in it than any of those seen previously and here is moving along fairly briskly (notice the bubbles near the centre before the “rapids”). The mountain above is Skye Mountain, at whose base the Indian River flows east to join the Skye River near the northeastern boundary of Waycobah; the combined river then serves as the boundary between Whycocomagh and Waycobah as it flows on into Whycocomagh Bay. The Indian River is fairly hard to access; it can be seen in a couple of spots along the Roseburn Road, from the bridge from which photo #4 was taken, and from the bridge along Reservation Road (across from the Stewartdale Cemetery); other than those, there are no other good places from which to photograph the Indian River of which I am aware.
As one continues east, one passes the Stewartdale Cemetery and then crosses the bridge over the Skye River just before reaching Highway 252. Photo #5 was taken from the Skye River bridge looking downstream. According to the topographical map, the Indian River enters the Skye River about 500 m (0.3 mi) downstream of the bridge, not too far beyond the bend seen in the distance. The Skye River rises in the Skye Glen north of Highway 252.
None of these streams is very large and most are not even seen as one drives along the Whycocomagh Road, but all of them are worth stopping for and having a look to enjoy their beauty. Similar streams are found all over Cape Breton; I’ve selected these for this essay only because I happened to capture photos of them on this trip that were good enough to share.