What's It All About, eh?

Cape Breton evokes deep memories and strong emotions for me as well as a deep appreciation for the beauty of my adopted island. My hopes are that you too might find the photos evocative - maybe a view you've not enjoyed before, or an 'Oh I've been there', or if from away that you may be encouraged to visit this fair isle so that you might come to love and breathe Cape Breton as I do. One word about place names that I use - some are completely local usage while others are from maps of Cape Breton that I've purchased over the years. I frequently post travel and other photos that are of interest to me - and hopefully you.

On the right hand side bar find my take on Single Malt whiskey - from how to best enjoy this noble drink to reviews (in a most non-professional manner) of ones that I have tried and liked - or not. Also musings, mine and others, on life in general.

Photographs are roughly 98%+ my own and copy-righted. For the occasional photo that is borrowed, credit is given where possible - recently I have started posting unusual net photographs that seem unique. Feel free to borrow any of my photos for non-commercial use, otherwise contact me. Starting late in 2013 I have tried to be consistent in identifying my photographs using ©smck on all out of camera photos I personally captured - (I often do very minor computer changes such as 'crop' or 'shadow' etc but usually nothing major), and using
©norvellhimself on all photos that I have played around with in case it might not be obvious.

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Pheasants

©   photo by smck

Wild or tame pheasants - was hard to tell - even though some houses were down the road a bit these two were trucking along a wild meadow track.

Adrift in Time and Space

© May '12   photo by smck
This is one of the most appealing - to me - photos that I have taken.  There is no artifice except for some judicious cropping to emphasize the ethereal quality of the scene.

Reflections on Blue

© November '11   photo by smck

Water Lilly - Below Loch Lomond

© August '11   photo by smck

On our way down river we investigated a small quiet back-water and this bit of the day's beauty awaited my camera.

(looked for a good water lily poem but they were too few and too over-burdened with 'meaning' so if I let my sub-conscious work on it I might put a bit of doggerel up later) 

The Breakers

© September '08   photo by smck
In the far distance is the old homestead known for some long time now as "The Breakers".  The trusty hikers are standing on yet another fast eroding drumlin cleared generations ago for the free ranging sheep that roamed hill and dale most of the year, only returning to the farm in late fall for winter's feed. (Though on second thought I think the visible house and barn are the Robinson's place)In the '70's  before the coyote had moved into the area in the numbers that they now maintain, Kenny Angus, the last of the free range sheep farmers in this area, had a large band roaming for miles up and down the shore-land , eating shore grass, kelp and whatever greenery and eatery  they could find.  Generation of such sheep had riddled the miles of stunted shore-spruce thickets with sheep-worn warrens of passages into which they gathered in times of storm and cold wind and in which lambs without number had been born in early arctic-like spring.   John had shown me these warrens back then (late 70s) and they were amazingly wind proof giving great protection from the bitter chill of on shore wind.  We would often cozy-up in them when long winter shore hikes would get us to numbs edge as we trudged the hoar ice shore in icy gusts of wind.  Fencing sheep in home pastures was beginning when I moved here but in general most places only fenced to keep sheep out - and same was often true for cattle also. 

Da-Neils-Bridge

© July '10   photo by smck

© July '10   photo by smck

© July '10   photo by smck

© July '10   photo by smck

One of the nice swimming holes (and in the brighter days of salmon fishing also a great salmon pool) this stretch of the river was known since these many years as Da-Neils-Bridge, i.e. Dan Neil's Bridge.   When I first lived in Grand River in the later half of the 70s my great friend George took me here and showed me where as a boy he had walked across a stout and sturdy bridge to Dan Neil's place to have tea.  In the 70s there were large boulder supports in place and the remains of spruce (probably Black Spruce) logs making a crib-work which could stand up to spring flooding and winters ice.  Today you have to look intently to fasten your imagination on that old bridge which had been built by hard labor of man and beast.  On this particular day the water is 'up' and flowing strongly with the pool itself probably about six to seven feet deep.  In picture one my son is going into the river just above the pool, in the third he is idling against the current before trying to best the current where the river's running full as it comes into the pool.   I'll revisit this post another day to go into that Gaelic compounding of given names that baffled me for several years when I first arrived.

So Various, So Beautiful, So New,

© August '09   photo by ctmck

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

- and not to leave on a 'downer' I will add that as true as Mathew arnold's  last verse is, I feel it is our duty to spread the beauty, the various, the new, to share in harmony and do our  best to prevent those ignorant armies that clash by night.  Amen!

The Fish Ladder



© August '09   photo by smck
© August '09   photo by smck


The above photos at Grand River Falls shows the entrance to the fish ladder and almost all of the various pools in the 'ladder' on the way to the top of the falls.  An earlier posting of 24March - Grand River Falls In Spate - gives a more detailed account of the falls and the fish ladder - so other than to say that these photos are from a different year I will leave you to peruse there if you are interested in more information.


The Days of August

© August '09   photo by smck
A long pleasant walk along the bight from Pt. Michaud Beach toward Michaud Point

Mr. and Mrs. Duck

© May '12   photo by smck
© May '12   photo by smck
These wild Mallards are really tame - to many hand-outs I'd say.

Where There Is Smoke ...

© August '11   photo by smck

As we walked back up the beach to where we had parked at the Mointeach we could see smoke drifting in the haze of the overcast day and another truck by our own.  Someone was having a cook-out for sure.  My guess was lobster and beer - but whatever, it was another warm glow to our day

Sunset Fire

© Aug '10   photo by smck

At first glance out our front window I thought the woods were afire - but it was just another display of clouds and setting sun at dusk

Where did I park my car

© August '09   by smck

 Actually the vehicle markings in the shore grass are those of a four-wheeler but even though they leave their footprint behind for many a day,  in all my years of beach-combing I have only encountered them a time or two.  We all love the shore in various ways.

Bunnahabhainn (pronounced boo-na-hav'n,

© September '11   photo by smck
 I get a great chance to mention both Grand River and scotch whisky in the same posting - for here is a nice scene at the 'mouth of the river'.  One of my favorite single malts is Bunnahabhain made on the Isle of Islay where the name of the village comes from the Scottish Gaelic name Bun na h-Abhainn, meaning Foot of the River. (some sources say 'the mouth of the river'). In any event both the whisky and the location above are favorites of mine.  

 - and soon to come in the whisky reviews will be - Bunnahabhain!

Whirly Birds

© May '12   photo by smck
© May '12   photo by smck
Actually The Great Blue Heron - and actually not in Cape Breton but in Maryland.  These birds are incredibly wary everywhere that I have seen them - but they are slightly more used to seeing people here in a more urban setting than they are in Cape Breton.  I still had to use a 16x setting and crop to get this group of three - there are two more slightly down stream but obscured by creek grass

 The top photo added later - different location but still in Maryland.

Granville Green

© July '09   photo by smck
© July '09   photo by smck
Through-out Cape Breton music festivals are in swing summer through fall.  We usually attend the open air Sunday evening concert at Granville Green in Port Hawkesbury when we can.  It's bring your own chair and set back and be entertained by some great playing and singing - Gaelic style music is quite often presented although other style Canadian bands will also impress you with incredible sounds.  As you can see in the photos above the shows starts in the late sunny afternoon and goes on till dusky evening.

Black-Backed Three-Toed Woodpecker

© August '09   photo by smck

© August '09   photo by smck
At Indian Point I spotted a pair of black backed woodpeckers rapping away at a nearby aging spruce - the camera was in my truck and by the time I retrieved it one had gone behind the tree.  The camera I had at the time had a 3x optical and I took several photos and saved the top one,  The second picture is a computer crop showing the female about center - right of trunk.  My birding book says "The Black-Backed Three-Toed Woodpecker.   An uncommon woodpecker even in its preferred habitat - coniferous forests ... Only the male has a yellow crown".  Picoides Arcticus


IN PORT

© August 10   photo by smck

© August 10   photo by smck

      IN PORT

Out of the fires of the sunset come we again to our own–
  We have girdled the world in our sailing under many an orient star;
Still to our battered canvas the scents of the spice gales cling,
  And our hearts are swelling within us as we cross the harbor bar.
Beyond are the dusky hills where the twilight hangs in the pine trees,
  Below are the lights of home where are watching the tender eyes
We have dreamed of on fretted seas in the hours of long night-watches,
  Ever a beacon to us as we looked to the stranger skies.
Hark! how the wind comes out of the haven's arms to greet us,
  Bringing with it the song that is sung on the ancient shore!
Shipmates, furl we our sails–we have left the seas behind us,
  Gladly finding at last our homes and our loves once more. 

by Lucy Maud Montgomery


I have no idea where the sailboat was hailing from - it might have just been out for a days sailing enjoyment  and returning home at dusk but then again it might have been on a much longer cruise 'on fretted seas in the hours of long night-watches - however it was fun for me to include L.M. Montgomery, Prince Edward Island writer of Green Gables fame. (this is the same boat, "Salty", that was posted in Homing in to the Canal 28 April '12)

Country Lane

© August '10   photo by smck
Usually my down the lane photos are of sunsets or rainy mist but this is just a plain ole family returning from a morning walk - and the tea is on and waiting.