The Celtic Colours festival ended on Saturday, 13 October, with no further opportunities for photography and with the trees still in relatively early stages of change. The following Sunday is effectively the last day of the tourist season, when the Red Shoe Pub closes with an afternoon cèilidh and an evening staff party, and many other businesses all over the island close for the season, as well as all of the provincial parks. That Sunday, of course, offers a cèilidh at the Celtic Music Interpretive Centre (they go on all year long) and, in recent years, at the Judique Community Centre afterwards, the Gala Concert of the Buddy MacMaster School of Fiddling, which features performances from all of the instructors who had taught during the previous week—a who’s who of Cape Breton’s best musicians. Monday is, for me, always a day of rest and down time, decompressing from the incessant activity of the previous ten days. Tuesday, a very rainy and wet day, I drove to Meat Cove on an errand I hadn’t gotten to earlier and then returned to Louisbourg, by then a nearly deserted village with only one motel open, where I spent the night, and only one restaurant open and that only for dinner. Wednesday morning, the rain had stopped but the skies were, not unusually for Louisbourg, very grey and bleak; after picking up some breakfast food at a convenience store, I drove out to Louisbourg Lighthouse Point, from which the photos on this page were taken, to see how things looked and to have my breakfast in the car.
Photo #1 shows Louisbourg Lighthouse under the morning’s grey skies. Lighthouse Point is part of the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site of Canada, administered by Parks Canada, and the trail head of the Louisbourg Lighthouse Trail, a fine walking trail that leads along the coast to a loop at Gun Landing Cove. A newly renovated hiking trail leads on from there to Eastern Point of Lorraine Head, described here, a strenuous trek, at least for me, but one with marvellous views of the coast, which it follows closely. This was clearly not a day for either trail, and I had other plans anyway, but it was great to see this lovely spot once again, even if not under ideal conditions.
Photo #2 looks northeast along the coast towards Western Gun Landing Cove Head, where the waves, propelled by a stiff wind, are crashing on the rocky headland with huge sprays pushed way up into the air—the spray from the wave at the right is more than two-thirds the height of the headland! Indeed, while I was sitting in the car eating breakfast, I twice noticed a wave in the other direction that splashed higher than the parking lot itself; I couldn’t quite work out the timing of these giants, which seemed to arrive about every five to seven minutes, so I don’t have a photo of such a wave, but was easily as high as the base of the lighthouse. The wave left of centre in photo #2 is not so tall, but considerably more massive than the one at the right; the effects on the rocks themselves from this regularly repeated bombardment just have to be brutal.
Photo #3 looks closer at hand at the shore and the incoming seething waters. The rock at the left has just been drenched by an incoming wave and the water can be seen running back down its sides. For reasons unknown, I am peculiarly addicted to waves splashing onshore and there were many here indeed to watch and marvel at. What a wild coast on a day like this!
Photo #4 looks south at the harbour entrance at Rocky Island off Louisbourg Lighthouse Point, where the waves were not so ferocious in the lee side of the island. Still, every now and again, a giant wave would crash into the other side of the island and splash high enough to be noticeable. The fall colours are most visible in this photo (and in photo #1 at the base of the lighthouse), where they are dark enough that they look frost-bitten, though I wasn’t aware that any frost had struck while I was in Cape Breton.
Photo #5 looks across the mouth Louisbourg Harbour to Fortress Louisbourg with the steeple of the King’s Bastion at the centre of the photo. Since I did not visit the fortress this trip nor earlier this year, I do not know what the yellow-coloured structure to the right of the Kings Bastion and to the left of the triangular white-shaped building is, but it is new; magnification reveals the yellow colour to be new lumber, so either an existing building is in the process of being refurbished or a new building is being built there. This fantastic site drenched in the history of Cape Breton and Canada is well worth a visit; I have found it fascinating each time I have been there. Plan on spending a whole day and on doing lots of walking.