Photo #1 captures much of the lovely scene at the Colindale guardrails, bathed in the glowing light of the late afternoon sun on my last day on the Island, a day from which sunlight had been largely absent. Finlay Point is at the far left, lying below Beinn Alasdair Bhain (Fair Alistair’s Mountain), which rises above and behind it; the white gypsum cliff, seen at the right of the land forming Finlay Point, marks the entrance to Finlay Point Harbour at Mabou Coal Mines. To the right of the harbour entrance is Coal Mine Point. Closer at hand is Beaton Point and just across the mouth of the Mabou River is Green Point, here bearing its fall colours and not looking very green at all; Mabou Harbour Mountain, with a long tan arc coming down to Green Point, rises on the far shore of the Mabou River. The Cape Mabou Highlands span the entire width of this scene and continue inland above the Mabou River to the right well outside the scope of this photo. Except for the house furthest left on the mountain above Beaton Point, which is off Mountain Road, the houses at the left are at Green Point along the Green Point Road; those in the centre and the right are at Mabou Harbour Mouth along the Mabou Harbour Road which follows the Mabou River inland to Mabou. The great cove, here reflecting the greyish white of the clouds above, running from the breakwater at the centre of the photo to the middle right delimits the beach at West Mabou Beach Provincial Park. The trees along this coast are nearly all evergreen; deciduous trees occur only further inland and many of those are, by the date of this photo, stripped bare.
Taken a couple of minutes before photo #1, photo #2 brings the southwestern Cape Mabou coast into sharper focus; in particular, the four points of this coast are now far easier to see. The dot of white about halfway up at the far left is a navigational marker equipped with a bell, which can be heard on a windy day at downwind locations on shore; a red dot in the water about an eighth of the way in from the far right is a second navigational marker, marking the channel between the breakwater and Mabou Harbour Mountain.
In photo #3, shortening the apparent distance still more (the straight-line distance from the guardrails to the tip of Finlay Point is 8.4 km (5.2 mi)), Big Bertha shows yet more details of the four points view from the Colindale Road, ranging from Finlay Point at the far left to Green Point at the far right. Taken in the late morning of the festival’s second day, this photo lacks the beautiful declining golden sun of the first two photos, but is still favoured with some light making its way through the clouds. Coal Mine Point is now much clearer than in the previous photos, though the sun is less kind to Beaton Point than to the nearer Green Point. Note again the navigational marker at the far left of the photo. And the calm placidity of the waters in the first two photos has here been replaced by considerably more activity, as the waves between the navigational marker and those breaking on Green Point and on Beaton Point attest.
Photo #4 shows the full reach of Big Bertha, though only the outermost tip of Green Point remains visible at the far right. Details on the side of Beinn Alasdair Bhain are now reasonably sharp, as are the cliffs on Finlay Point and Coal Mine Point. The breakwaters to the right of the white gypsum cliff on Finlay Point are now visible and the buildings at Finlay Point Harbour can be readily made out. On Beinn Alasdair Bhain, the meadow in the upper right corner is the site of the look-off from which lovely views of the area to the south and east, such as those seen here and here, can be had at the cost of a short hike up the Cape Mabou Trail Club system’s Beinn Alasdair Bhain Trail.
Photo #5 was taken on the evening of my first day in Cape Breton on my fall trip, after the sun had set over the Gulf. Looking from the Colindale guardrails towards the northwest and Prince Edward Island, which is not visible here, it captures the clouds brightened and coloured by the below-the-horizon sun and several contrails streaking across the skies that add a bit of whimsy to this beautiful scene, nature’s version of an abstract painting.