Roadtripping the Infamous Cabot Trail

On the Cabot Trail

After getting off the ferry in North Sydney Nova Scotia we went to Mira River Provincial Park in Albert Bridge for a warm shower and a nice campsite. Just what we needed after an 8 hour boat ride. A smooth boat ride but a boat ride all the same. A nice campground, it was a relaxing evening before an exciting day.

Mira River Provincial Park

To tell you the truth as tired as I was I could barely sleep. I had never been on the Cabot Trail and was so excited for this part of the journey.

We started our journey at Englishtown and went north from there. The drive started with beautiful scenery and we knew there was more to come.

The beauty is just beginning!

Our first stop was just up the road at The Gaelic College in Baddeck Nova Scotia. Something I did not know but this area has a strong Scottish heritage. The college teaches the Gaelic culture to all ages and also has a unique gift shop introducing visitors to this unique culture.

The Gaelic College

As we traveled up the Cabot Trail we were not disappointed with the beautiful views. The road wove around mountains taking us to breathtaking lookouts and down into small marina towns.

Breathtaking views
Up into the forest
Down to the Ocean

We came across the small town of Ingonish Beach. A small town with a beautiful view. They even had a helicopter service that tourists could take a tour and see the beauty of the area.

Ingonish Beach

We came across this beautiful old church. St Peter’s Church turned 100 years old in 2013. We had to stop and take a look. It was just such a majestic looking building and had a very warm feel. An old graveyard beside it made it a perfect setting.

St Peter’s Church Ingonish Beach

We stayed the night in Broad Cove Campground. Nice park, beautiful sites, no cell service! Haha! Darn I had a blog to write.

Starting out the next morning we came across this little diner. It was very quaint and when we walked in saw this little sign. Coffee certainly adds to my life. If you follow me on Facebook you will already know that. Lol!

Mmmm coffee

Kim is a tea drinker and when she ordered her tea they gave her an actual tea cup. It was so cute. She was having a “spot of tea” (insert bad English accent) lol.

A spot of tea

A spot of tea and a giggle!

She is so much fun!

After a good breakfast and a really good coffee, ok maybe 2 cups of coffee we were back on the road. We saw a sign for a little gift shop that definitely made us stop.

Tartans and Treasures

A nice gift shop with a cool car out front, how could we not stop? What we were not expecting was the beautiful harbour and view that also came with it.

Very nice Impala
Dingwall, Nova Scotia

Driving along the trail we came across something I had never seen before. It was a camping area at a rest stop. Big Interval is part of Cape Breton Highlands National Park.

Big Interval
A campground at a rest stop

A fun fact: Cape Breton Highlands National Park was the first National Park in the Atlantic provinces of Canada. It covers an area of 948 square kilometers (366 square miles). It also is home to 1/3 of the Cabot Trail.

Have you ever stood on a fault line? The Aspy Fault line runs through Cape Breton. Northeast the fault line runs under the ocean, through Newfoundland to the edge of the continent. Fault lines are created by large shifts in the continental plates. This fault helped create the Appalachian mountains 300 million years ago.

The plates continue to shift but since they move as fast as a fingernail grows, no we could feel no movement, but did enjoy the fabulous view.

The view!

What makes The Aspy Fault Line special is the differences in the rock. From loose sentiment to hard rock. The differences are what helped to create the peaks and valleys you see. We were standing in the middle of the fault and if you turned around you could see in the rock the different lines of rock. It was very interesting.

As I read the history of the continental plates it explained that once many millions of years ago we were all one continent. What would it have been like if we were all one continent? People cannot get along even if it is a small continent or maybe just maybe we would be one world with respect for everyone’s differences. I know I am dreaming but what if???

I could drive EVERYWHERE!!

The Cabot Trail has some incredibly steep mountains. What goes up must come down. Coming into Pleasant Bay I started to smell a burning brake smell. Was that me?? As I was driving I started to notice smoke coming from my fronts brakes!! It was me!!! We need to get her stopped now! Luckily there was a historic stop just as they started to smoke.

The Lone Shielding is located in the Grand Anse Valley and home to the oldest hardwood forest in the Atlantic Provinces. In this 1,610 hectare (4,000 acres) valley these trees have lived and thrived for 350 years. This part of the valley has a small 15 – 20 minute walking path as the only glimpse into this magnificent forest.

The beauty of an old forest

On down the path we came to a stone cottage.

In the 1800’s expelled Scotsman from Isle of Skye settled in this area which is now known as Pleasant Bay. In 1934 a man by the name of Donald S MacIntosh gave 100 acres of his land for a park. In commemoration of his generous gift the Lone Shielding was built as a memorial to his Scottish heritage. It is the same style of cottage if you were to go Isle of Skye in Scotland. In 1936 the National Park was formed and the preservation of this beautiful forest will grow and thrive for another 350 years.

Back to the van to check the heat on the brakes. They had cooled sufficiently that we could tackle the rest of the mountain. We made it down ok only to go back up. Lol.

The number of pull offs on this drive was plentiful. I love that. A lot of places to pull off and take in the ahhh factor of the beautiful views.

Way down is the beautiful town of Pleasant Bay!

Pleasant Bay, Nova Scotia

In some places it felt like you were standing (or parked, lol) on the edge of the world. The twisty, winding road made for an awe inspiring drive.

Parked on the edge

Through mountains and valleys we stopped many times for an ahhh moment.

The mountains
The valleys
My beautiful girlfriend Kim

On down to the oceans edge as we rounded a corner the bluffs could be seen in the distance.

A small park at the waters edge provided a small break, a little walk and some beautiful views.

A nice picnic area

As we traveled down this beautiful coastal highway we noticed an Rv parked way out on a bluff. Hmmmm I wonder if that could be a boondocking spot as it was getting that time to start looking. We turned around, we did that a lot, and went to take a look. We turned down the path to get there and the RV was coming towards us. Since it was only 1 lane and I was closer to the end I backed up so they could get out. We asked them about the spot and they said it had no camping signs but the view was breathtaking. As we traveled down the lane it turned out to be a cemetary with a beautiful view.

She likes it!

We took the time to look at the view and scan the area to see if there were any campgrounds in the area. In Inverness was a little campground called McLeod’s Beach Campground. The path to get there is a little rough but so worth it. Again everyone was passing us even a guy on a little motorcycle. We meet him later and have a nice chat around our fire. He was an interesting gentleman from Quebec who travels all over on that little motorcycle. We pulled in to register and were greeted with that famous Nova Scotia hospitality. She told us there were campsites out on the bluff and a short walk to the beach but had no power or water. That’s OK I have power and water. Lol! We got set up, by that I mean parked and could not believe our good fortune.

It’s an Ahhh moment

A short walk to the beach, through deep sand and we were standing at the waters edge. Taking our sandles off and wading into the water, not far though it was cold. Lol.

That wave is going to make jump. Lol

The view was breathtaking!

A beautiful beach

Walking back up through the sand, I am reminded why beach people have such nice legs. Back to the van to make a coffee and watch the sunset over the ocean. A perfect ending to a wonderful day roadtripping down the Cabot Trail.

A perfect ending!

Thanks for coming along on my Chipmunk Adventure. There is still more to come. Wait until you see what we found farther on down the road.

See you next week


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