Three beaches

Giovanni Caboto (aka John Cabot) was an Italian commissioned by Henry VII to explore the New World for England, a few years after Columbus. The first European in North America since the Vikings, he explored from Newfoundland to Maine. The scenic route round Cape Breton Island is named after him. A short detour off the route is one of his landfalls. Cape Breton is also famous for it's highlands, a granitic plateau with some pretty striking scenery and hiking trails. We are spending four days to slowly drive and hike our way around. You wouldn't even notice you are on an island - the separation from the mainland is so small it looks like you just cross a small river on the bridge.

So we set off from Port Hawkesbury North towards Cheticamp, where we are staying for two nights. Since breakfast was ridiculously early (7:45!) we had the whole day ahead of us. Our first stop was Port Hood, a nice little town with two churches and no pubs. Being Sunday we ran into a bit of traffic. There was some sort of boat parade going on at lunchtime, but we were there too early so we just went on the boardwalk and walked along the beach. All the beaches round here are amazing, with dunes, fine sand and virtually empty. On this beach in particular you had to avoid the dry sand as some sort of endangered bird used it for nesting, so we walked down by the shore.

Not hanging around for the boar parade we continued on to Inverness. This whole area was colonised mainly by Scots, with a smattering of Acadian French. There we visited the beach again; this one was more of the sitting down and making sandcastles variety.

Finally we hit the Cabot Trail and arrived at Cheticamp. We checked into the hotel and drove off to Cheticamp Island, which is joined to the main island by road. Parked and... walked down the beach. After another nice walk we met some local knowledge who told us where to go to maybe see some whales and even eagles, so off we went. We looked from the far end of the island out to sea but no luck. The scenery was nice though: a windswept bluff with tall grasses and steep cliffs into the ocean.

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