Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A hike along an old pathway on the Middlehead Peninsula - Cape Breton Island

Looking back to the start
This will be a picture story today...from the beginning of the pathway, that stretches about 2 kilometres - nearly a mile along the Middlehead Peninsula - an historic and picturesque part of Cape Breton Island .

The peninisula became private land when it was bought back around 1900 by the owner of the home which eventually became the Keltic Lodge. The owner pastured his cattle out along the penninsula, and put a gate across it to keep the cattle from wandering down to the house in the summer. However he also opened the gate the rest of the time so the people of Ingonish, the nearby village, could go out to the end of the promontory to picnic, to fish, to enjoy what had been theirs since their immigration here.

Where Keltic Lodge is located, about midway along the two mile extension into the ocean, is like a waist - pinching the centre, then it broadens a bit, narrows here and there, and is an amazing bit of granite topped with vegetation, left over from when the ice age scoured the landscape down to bare rock.
Looking ahead - you can see the roots of the trees and tumbled boulders along the pathway, not easy walking.
The park ranger who is leading this hike, explains some of the features we will see and the history. She leans on the pillars that held the gate and points to stones stacked around a spring that used to fill regularly and formed a well to water the owner's cattle.

Looking back at the pillars for the gates, the way we came

The water trough or well

A glimpse through the trees shows Ingonish beach in the distance on the right and perilous cliffs sheering into the ocean inlet.
We reach the "waist" - the narrowest spot on the peninsula and see the north side. Obviously this was a pasture littered with boulders, but grassy with beautiful wild flowers.
And the south side of the meadow/waist - looking towards Cape Smokey across the Ingonish inlet.
We reach the tip to see a fishing boat heading for the small red dots in the water - the lobster pots or traps.
Heading back around the point, the island in the middle of the channel sitting clearly in the distance, with boats? (the white spots) off the island's tip.
And after a delightful and fascinating two and a half or three hours, we head back. It was a great morning. If anyone wants to see this first hand, I recommended it thoroughly. Cape Breton Island, any part of it, is a great place to visit and for those who live there, to make your home. In some ways I'm envious of that.

For tourists and visitors like myself, there are guided tours, and self guided tours, but everywhere the people are marvelous, willing to share their island. What an experience this has been.


  1. My goodness, the earth as it should be! How lucky you were to go to Cape Breton!

    1. Lucky indeed Bill - as you were lucky to go to the Quebec boreal forest - two as yet unspoiled places in Canada, more or less.

      Thanks as always for stopping by. And if you haven't been there - there is fabulous fishing in the Mirameshee (sp?) at least that's what I've been told...You'd love it I know.