Located between Ingonish and Dingwall, in the north-eastern section of Cape Breton Highlands National Park, NEIL'S HARBOUR is a small fishing village.
There are a few cottages in Neil's Harbour, but mostly there are local residents who work for the Lobster/Crab and fishing industry.
The lighthouse was established in 1899. It is still functional and is owned by the Coast Guard. It also has an ice cream store in the bottom half of the lighthouse. Just follow Lighthouse Road to find it.
One of the scenic look-offs at Cape Breton Highlands National Park is the MACKENZIE MOUNTAIN LOOK-OFF. You can actually go whale watching from here. Keep your eyes on the ocean - Look for plumes of vapour as whales surface in the Gulf.
You'll find a colour exhibit of whales, species of fish and various sea birds.
mornin' from Port hood; from my web site www.cbchoices.com
**>Margaree Valley- Dave MacDonald-owner; 691 Egypt Road,
The Normaway Inn-The Barn [248-2987] [1-800-565-9463]
[Open Jun 15th to Oct 15th]
www.normaway.com Box 101 Margaree Valley, NS B0E 2C0
=In the Barn -Friday nites @ 8pm @$8
=Living Room entertainment-evenings [until Oct 18th]-donations.
=Gigs at the Barn-Saturday Night @ 8pm
Fondest memory: joys abound; relaxed laid back atmosphere, the friendly people, fantastic celtic music, and breath taking scenes
any month of the year.
Fondest memory: I was up before anyone in camp and after packing our gear up, we got our food from the bear pole and ate a quick breakfast. We were on the trail before anyone else so much as showed his or her face. Neither the weather nor the hike up was as bad as expected but we relished having the trail to ourselves rather than being in a race for the top. It was very peaceful and the cool morning air took all effort away from what otherwise might be a trudging affair. We joked about seeing more moose and about a third of the way up our ten-mile morning workout, I did indeed spot a large female with her calf, enjoying the undergrowth that formed a nice morning meal for them. Unperturbed by our meager presence, she watched us in case of a false more we had no intention of making. We now skipped up the path and cared little how long it might take us but about a half-hour later, D thought she saw something up the path. I scoffed at the possibility of us being that lucky but here again was an even bigger female looking decidedly more nervous. She took one look at us and with no haste, made her way effortlessly up the hill. Though I was too amazed at just this, Doreen saw more: partially obscured by the foliage was a massive bull with a resplendent rack of antlers. He stood very still, hoping we would not notice his regal presence but he was too close, too humongous for that. We were frozen and awaited his next move and luckily it was a powerful one up the hill in hot pursuit of his mate. We walked slowly, watching his graceful strides. He looked back occasionally to keep a bearing of our whereabouts but he need not worry about our mere human capabilities. He was out of reach and even sight in no time though his retreat burned an indelible image on the recesses of our memory.
Fondest memory: The hike down to Fishing Cove was not supposed to be difficult and perhaps without having done a 1500-foot climb in the morning, it would have been a breeze. Though it was a lush and beautiful forest, it was not a mere drop down hike as we had expected but one that went up and down as it meandered along the winding river. It took a good two hours to get to the camping area and with heavy packs on our back, we knew also that it would be an uphill slog back to the top the next morning. We had expected to have the campground to ourselves so were surprised to find five other couples with their tents already set up when we arrived early in the evening. We set up camp quickly so as to enjoy the sunset and I even took a dip in the frigid Gulf of Saint Lawrence to cool off. We ate dinner on the pebble beach and retired to our tent with darkness and the wind starting to whip up. With an impending hurricane, it was hard to sleep with the tent fly flapping furiously. (continued below in Fondest Memory)
Fondest memory: The high country hike was a good work out but lacked the spectacle we sought. We were back in the campground a few hours later, breaking down the tent and packing up our backpacks for the hike down to the cove. We had to drive by our moose parking lot on the way to the trailhead but with time a factor, I was not planning on another stop. What was the chance she was there again anyway? I joked that today, she would be there, making love with a young bull, right in the same pond and Doreen laughed in disbelief. But as we drove by, I looked back out of the corner of my eye and did, in fact, see our little lady making her way out of the pond and into the lot proper. I did a quick U-turn, breaking some law I am sure, and sped back for a quick peek at the fleeing lass. And wouldn't you know it. We looked in the pond and there was a young bull with a budding rack, most likely not too happy about our intrusion. We stayed in the car and quickly snapped a few photos, not wanting to ruin their mating opportunity. As amazing as it was, I should have got a photo of Doreen's face as she held her hand over her mouth to not let out a scream of utter joy. It was not that we just seeing this, but that I had just joked about it ten minutes earlier. It was just beyond belief and once I got my photos and we drove off, I felt the same way. Laughing like little kids that have discovered something they know they should not have, we sped to our hike and would have been just as happy to go home with this as our finale. (continued below in Fondest Memory)
The rest of the ride was beautiful but all we could talk about was the moose and we even stopped back on our way to a picnic area we had eyed up earlier for a sunset dinner. Of course, she had gone, so we went and set up our stove and hurriedly prepared a tuna Fra diavlo over penne, awaiting nature's grand display. It was an enthralling sunset, with a profusion of colors that even caught my jaded senses off guard. The next morning, we learned at park headquarters that a hurricane was making its way up the coast so best enjoy that day and give up the tent for a few days after that. We decided to do a hike into the higher region of the park to get some views of the coast from above. Since it was a relatively short hike, we also set up a back country campsite at Fishing Cove for later that afternoon. The ranger explained we would have to get out of the cove campground early as there would be very strong winds to contend with later. Not a good place to be in an old growth forest.
(continued below in Fondest Memory)
Though the Cabot Trail is the most spectacular part of the park visually, you have to get off the road to really appreciate the depth of the park. Try a hike, you just might be suprised at what you will find.
Fondest memory: Poor Doreen, she had not seen one moose nor bear on the whole trip. It was not for lack of trying, we had spent five days canoeing in Algonquin Provincial Park, one of Ontario's premier wildlife viewing areas. I had seen plenty of moose there myself on past trips, but we spent most of our time in the park out on the water and most would concur that the corridor road is the best place to see most of the park's native species. After that, I thought for sure we might catch one on our way towards Nova Scotia, driving through the wilderness of Northern Maine, but it was just not to be.
Our first day at Cape Breton had been magical. Though we arrived in late afternoon, we hurried ourselves out to the Cabot Trail road to enjoy perfect blue skies and catch the great light as the sun was setting. The coastline was just magnificent and the many turnoffs provided ample photographic opportunities. On one pullout, we noticed another couple pointing frantically and we looked in the direction we thought they were highlighting to find what had been delineated on the sign, The Frenchman's Cap. Thinking little of it, we walked up to say thanks and they seemed unusually excited for a mere mound of rock. It turned out it was not the peak at all they had been making a fuss over, but a moose in a small pond, right in the parking lot! I got my camera out but knowing it was D's first encounter, gave her my 300m zoom so she could secure a good picture first. It was a young and unwary female and not a spectacular example, but D was ecstatic nonetheless. She took her good old time, getting not only one shot but also a perfect one with the incurably cute creature looking up. I anxiously waited my turn and was very happy when she offered the near same pose for me. We enjoyed it a while longer but we had a lot more to see on the trail and wanted to catch the sunset somewhere too. (continued below in Fondest Memory)
Cape Breton Island is reached by crossing the Canso Causeway. We stayed in Port Hawkesbury which is at the south of the island.
Fondest memory: Definitely going round the Cabot Trail as it was a hair raising and the scenery was fantastic!
Yesterday I was still in Prince Edward Island, and now after a long day and long drive of about 400 kilometres (rough guess) I arrived in Cape Breton. Cape Breton is the top part of Nova Scotia and is actually an Island, but connected with a bridge to the rest of Nova Scotia. You can read all about my trip through the rest of Nova Scotia on my Nova Scotia Page:
Cape Breton is a beautiful place, where you can clearly see and feel the influence of the French and Scottish settlers. The nature is beautiful, the coastline fantastic, there are lots of lighthouses (hahaha, and I love those!) and beautiful little fishing villages. But also you can go back into history by visiting Fortress Louisbourg, which is in my opinion an absolute must see. But before I start with all that, it’s time to set up my tent. I love camping in provincial parks, and I found one that appealed to me “Whycocomagh Provincial Park’
Though I did not see any on this trip, some other in our group saw several moose. When you see this sign, make sure you keep your eyes peeled - keep an eye on the bush for a large dark brown mass that is probably as still as a rock.
Much larger than even a Clydesdale, the moose is a wondrous creature to behold. Despite their size, when they run, they tilt back their head, and very quickly cut through the thickest of underbrush.