Photo #1 shows Polletts Cove, as seen from due west off shore. Two rivers, the Blair River and the Polletts Cove River¹, flow through the valley seen here. The Blair River rises in the bogs on the Cape Breton Highlands Plateau; the map shows three tributaries: the western one rises east of Fort Cove, the middle one further east and north in the bogs east of Malcolms Brook, and the eastern one due east of Polletts Cove Mountain. Once down off the plateau, the three join forces and flow to the southwest behind Polletts Cove Mountain; two photos of the Blair River Canyon can be found here (the first two photos in the slide show). The Polletts Cove River rises on the side of North Mountain south of McEvoys Barren just across the line into Victoria County; it is a much longer river and flows first to the southwest and then to the northwest, joined by several tributaries along its course, and carving deep valleys along nearly the entirety of its course; some of the photos later in the previously referenced slide show depict the Polletts Cove River valley and some of its tributaries. The Blair and Polletts Cove Rivers come together behind the beach, perhaps 100 m (330 ft) from the mouth; inland of the beach, the Blair River flows on the north side and the Polletts Cove River on the south side, separated by an alluvial plain barely high enough to hold the rivers in place (and flooding when there is lots of water).²
Photo #2, a telephoto view from off Fort Cove, shows the scene at Polletts Cove as we were nearing it. The haze and the dark threatening grey clouds, remains of the recent squall, were certainly both inauspicious and disheartening. Yet, while these are not the blue sky sparkling photos I had hoped to capture, that I got any usable photos at all came as a pleasant surprise. For the sun did appear and cut through some of the haze, leaving views that are, while hardly picture perfect, perfectly serviceable in seeing what can be seen from off shore. My thanks go to the captain of our boat who, instead of turning around once we got there, delayed off shore for a good half hour, even continuing a short ways down the coast past Polletts Cove, a manœuvre that allowed enough time for the sun to break through and, while it remained capricious, did light up parts of the area in a random fashion.
¹ Some sources call it the Polletts Cove Brook, but the topographical map uses Polletts Cove River.↩
² I have not, of course, seen this with my own eyes, but have instead based this description from the topographical map and from other photos I have seen, e.g., this one and this one by Dave Hope and this one, this one, and this one all from the Panoramio web site.↩
Photo #3 is a telephoto view taken twenty seconds after photo #2, looking further inland at Polletts Cove; already, the gloom of photo #2 is broken by the sun gleaming on the coastal plain at the centre of the photo. The lighting in this photo makes it look as if the waters continue inland, but that is not the case: the beach extends all the way across the right half of the photo and the mouth of the conjoined rivers is just to the right of the rocky point at the centre of the photo.
Photo #4 is also a telephoto view and from much closer at hand; while there is some sun in the valley, the beach area is resolutely in the shade. Lots of driftwood is visible piled up helter-skelter along the beach, intermixed with large stones and some boulders. If you squint carefully, you can see a green structure at the far right of the photo; under magnification, it proves not to be a canoe, but the roof of a green tent, which was taken down while we remained offshore. The slope at the left in the middle distance is not that of “South Foothill”, but of a mountainside on the eastern side of the Blair River. The mouth of the conjoined rivers is at the far left, outside the scope of this photo.
Photo #5, taken three minutes earlier than photo #4, has the area close at hand in the sun, with the background somewhat obscured by haze. Again, the mouth of the conjoined rivers is not visible here, but outside the scope of the photo at the far left. The Blair River, invisible below the green banks at the base of “South Foothill” at the left, turns east behind them and heads off to the east and then northeast behind Polletts Cove Mountain. The Polletts Cove River crosses behind the beach and then goes past the green bank at the right into its valley heading southwest. This area was inhabited until the 1940’s and had its own post office; I assume the dwellings were in the grassy areas or, perhaps, further inland in the valleys.
Photo #6, a moderately wide-angled view taken off “Malcolms Brook Mountain” north of Forth Cove, was a parting shot at the Polletts Cove area taken on the return trip; note also the rock pillars at the left of the photo that stand out fairly well. By now, the skies have improved from the threatening, dark greys of photo #2, although the sun continues to be very selective about what it chooses to shine on. This view shows the mountains along the south shore of the Polletts Cove River, unnamed as usual (and again, just the edges of the Cape Breton Highlands Plateau), across the left half of the photo and the mountains above the coast south of Polletts Cove along the Gulf of St Lawrence, over which the Polletts Cove Trail wends its way.