Photo #1 looks across a valley through which the Frenchvale Road runs to the southwest at the mountains on the other side, known as the Coxheath Hills. Like the Boisdale Hills along the St Andrews Channel, the Coxheath Hills run from northeast to southwest west of the Mira River valley. The interior of Cape Breton County is anything but flat! Traversing undulating terrain and punctuated by many lakes, it presents a very rural landscape not far southwest of urban Sydney! In spite of the haze, I was overjoyed to have finally found a vantage point from which to appreciate this beautiful area!
Photo #2, taken from a bit further along the way, looks to the left of the view seen in photo #1 (in this view, the scene in photo #1 is mostly hidden behind the two trees at the centre right). Invisible below the ridge which runs across the photo in the middle ground is the valley through which the Frenchvale Road runs.
Photo #3, taken from the same location as photo #2, looks as far left as one can from here, where the terrain blocks further views.
Photo #4 shows the Upper Leitches Creek Road southwest of where the two previous views were taken. While it has some potholes and wet spots that require caution, it is perfectly driveable. The utility wires are a sign that one has not yet reached the “end of civilization”, though they were not to continue for too much further.
NAV CANADA is the privately-held company that, according to its web site, is responsible for “[g]uiding the world’s aircraft in Canadian airspace”. Managing “18 million square kilometres of Canadian and oceanic airspace” and “[w]ith 40,000 customers and 12 million aircraft movements a year, we are the world’s second-largest air navigation service by traffic volume.” The company’s services “include air traffic control, flight information, weather briefings, aeronautical information services, airport advisory services and electronic aids to navigation.” Photo #5 is a photo of the NAV CANADA installation ISSR-YQY-SI, which is found on a side road off the Upper Leitches Creek Road; that is where the utility wires led and they do not continue beyond this site. The topographical map identifies the installation as a radar station, which is consistent with its form. The signs on the chain-link fence give the facility’s identification and advise one that “[t]his area is under 24 hour video surveillance”, so I assume that, while I was taking its photo, it took mine as well. I would dearly love to have seen the scenery from the top of the stairs!
Photo #6 was taken from the side road, looking back towards the Upper Leitches Creek Road below the hill. Across the ridge in the middle ground are the Boisdale Hills in the hazy distance; the valley below the ridge contains the MacAulay Lakes, Georges Lake, and Fergusons Lake, but no roads are shown on the topographical map leading to any of them, although a couple of trails are shown. This is empty country!
Photo #7 looks to the west from the side road at the Boisdale Hills. The road just right of centre is apparently the continuation of the Upper Leitches Creek Road, though according to the topographical map, it dead ends 1.7 km (1.1 mi) further on (Google Maps confusingly shows two courses for the road beyond the radar station, the dead end on the topographical map and another route that connects to the Bourinot Road using what the topographical map shows as trails). The road did not look driveable much beyond the side road to the radar station and it was time for me to head on towards Louisbourg, so I did not explore the road further this day.