Cabot Trail Tour
Upon leaving the Sydney Metropolitan area, we’ll travel to the peaceful Cape Breton countryside away from the hustle and bustle of city traffic. Along the way, we’ll cross the little Bras d’ Or where you will see many small pleasure boats on the glistening lake. The Bras d’ Or Lakes are Canada's inland sea which is used by thousands of boaters each year. The surrounding hills offer boaters protection from the nearby Atlantic Ocean.
Kelly’s Mountain - Look Off
We’ll climb Kelly’s Mountain where we’ll stop at two stunning look-offs, the Bras d ‘Or and Saint Ann’s Bay. From the spectacular Saint Ann's look-off, we’ll enjoy scenic views of Saint Ann's Bay, before we proceed to cross Saint Ann's Bay via the Englishtown Ferry and tour through the beautiful Cape Breton Highlands along The Cabot Trail.
We’ll be passing through sparsely populated communities where the residents make a living from the sea as fishermen or in the forest as loggers and pulp-cutters. Touring through communities with names such as South Gut Saint Ann's, North Gut Saint Ann's, North River Bridge, Tarbotvale, Breton Cove, Skir Dhu, French River and Wreck Cove so-named, because of the tremendous amount of ships which went aground in the area.
We’ll climb the magnificent Cape Smokey (it is very, very steep but the scenery is unsurpassed) before arriving in the Ingonish area which is home to the upscale Keltic Lodge at Middlehead and Highland Links Golf Course which has been ranked many times over as the number one golf course in Canada. Keltic Lodge has colourful grounds and great views of Ingonish Harbour. Driving further north, we’ll arrive at the working fishing village of Neil's Harbour which was originally settled by Newfoundland fishermen. This pleasant little village illustrates what it’s really like to live in a typical Nova Scotia fishing village. The scenery is outstanding, so there will be plenty of time for photos as lobster and snow crab pots abound and make for great background for pictures.
Cape Breton Highlands National Park
Cape Breton Highlands National Park is known for its spectacular highlands and ocean scenery. The Cape Breton Highlands are the most striking feature of northern Cape Breton. Steep cliffs and deep river canyons carve into a forested plateau bordering the Atlantic Ocean. One third of the Cabot Trail, a world-famous, scenic highway runs through the national park along the coasts and over the highlands.Established in 1936, the Cape Breton Highlands National Park covers 950 square kilometres, protecting approximately 20% of northern Cape Breton. It is one of the largest protected wilderness areas in Nova Scotia, and is one of a system of national parks protecting outstanding Canadian landscapes.The cool maritime climate and rugged landscape of the park permits a unique blend of Acadian, Boreal and Taiga habitats, plants and animals. This special mix of northern and southern species is not found anywhere else in Canada. Within the park, several dozen species of rare or threatened plants and animals can be found, as well as old growth forests of international importance. Small populations of arctic-alpine plants left over from the last ice age can also be found here.
Cheticamp is a busy fishing village in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia with a thriving Acadian culture. Visitors will often hear the lively sounds of Acadian being spoken, and visitors can sample typical Acadian food in the local restaurants. Cheticamp is the centre of rug hooking and many other fine crafts.
In prehistoric times, the river was used for fishing, hunting and trade by Micmac peoples who left few visible artifacts. There is a small display of native art at the Museum of Cape Breton Heritage in Northeast Margaree. The Micmac called the river “Weekuch” and knew the Margaree’s mouth as “Oochaadooch” or “where they get the red ochre”. The early French name of Margaree Harbour was Havre de Madre or Magre and l8th-century maps referred to the river as St. Marguerite.
The French and English disputed the rich fishing grounds of the Gulf of St. Lawrence for centuries and place names along the Margaree coast still recall the boundary of the old French Shore that divided the Scottish villages to the south from the territory settled by the French Acadians. The Scots Highlanders who arrived in the Margaree Valley in 1799 were followed by Irish and English immigrants whose descendants still farm, fish and log in the Cape Breton tradition today. Seventy percent of the river valley of scenic landscapes of fields, farms and woodlands remains privately owned.
Near Baddeck, we will re-join the Trans Canada Highway and return to Sydney
This Excursion will take 7 hours +/-, is fully narrated (lunch is not included)