We took the time to get caught up on Laundry and other exciting things this morning, and then took off for a drive after lunch. The ground was still soggy and the skies still grey.
The park we’re staying at is in a very scenic location, and is backed by a huge cliff of rock that I believe was brought down to provide rubble for the bridge in the first picture.
We are on the edge of the Bras D’Or lake which is a huge inland saltwater sea, and is a prolific lobster and shellfish producer. The sea is saltwater, and the water is exposed to the Atlantic at both ends of the lake, but the tidal change in the lake is less than 18 inches so there are lots of private wharves in some areas as they don’t have to worry about the water level dropping 12 feet every five and a half hours.
We didn’t have any agenda for the day, just wanted to find something nice to see, and stay dry for a bit. It was not raining this morning, but hadn’t stopped long before we got up. We are staying where the pin is located, and ended up driving towards North Sydney which is where the 125 highway marker is located. Before we got there our navigator pointed out that there was a scenic drive along Bras D’Or so we took off towards Iona. It was a nice enough drive, but this area is heavily forested, and we only got a few glimpses of the lake during the entire tour.
This picture is once we emerged from the trees to cross a bridge over the lake at Iona. When we got there we saw a sign for the Gaelic Heritage Village, and as we’d already seen (and enjoyed) the Mennonite, North West Company, Quebec and Acadian Heritage villages we figured we had to stop at this one. The village showcases the timeline of the initial migration of the Highland Scottish people to Nova Scotia (New Scotland in Gaelic) from the late 1700’s through the next 150 years. It’s quite amazing to see how all the different cultures have adapted to the challenges they faced once they arrived in Canada. At the date of Confederation, Gaelic was the third most spoken language in Canada after English and French with an estimated 200,000 people. Among the 36 fathers of Confederation, Gaelic was the mother tongue of the majority of them. Today they estimate there are less than 2000 who can speak the language, and that number is falling all the time. There is a concerted effort to have people learn the language, but it will only be a novelty for most of them at this point.
We had a good time at the village, and received some good ideas on where to spend more of our time in Cape Breton.
After we left the village we decided to travel around the peninsula we were on, and again the forest landscape cut off most of the views, but once we got down on the water again, it was very pretty. The rock here is not completely red like PEI, and there is lots of coal and gypsum in the area.
All in all, our short afternoon drive ended up being almost 6 hours long, and dinner was quite late.
I did a personal map for us on Mapquest.ca and determined that the trip from Campbell River to Sydney Nova Scotia is a distance of 8056 km. We’ve put on more than 13200km on our trip so far, so we’ve done quite a bit of touring in our travels.