Sunday, July 29, 2012

July 29, 2012

I left Baddeck this morning early and in a little fog and headed south on Hwy 105 to Port Hastings and then back up the eastern side of the island.  First stop was Lenoir Forge Museum in Arichat.  Unfortunately, since this was Sunday, the site didn't open until 1:00 and I was way early.  You can see from the picture of the harbor, though, that the town was pretty picturesque:

Even if I didn't get to see the site, the scenery was beautiful. 

Next stop was the town of St. Peter's, home of the St. Peter's canal and locks.  This was pretty interesting.  St. Peter's sits on an isthmus between the Atlantic Ocean to the southeast and Bras d'Or Lake, which occupies the entire center portion of Cape Breton Island, to the northwest. The canal connects the two, is 2600 feet long and was completed in 1869.  It replaced an old "haul road" where vessels were hauled over the hill on a road made of logs.  The other interesting thing is that this is the only canal in the world constructed with double lock gates, one set facing in each direction.  This is because, at times, the level of the ocean side might be higher or lower than the level of the lake, and they had to be able to operate under either condition.  Pretty interesting stuff! 

You can see the hill on the right that had to be removed to build the canal.

And here, you can see the double lock gates.  Pretty place.

And this is the end of the canal facing the Lake of Bras.

Next, it was on up to Louisbourg and the Fortress of Louisbourg.  This was also very interesting.  In 1713 the French build a fort at Louisbourg where they had a thriving village of Cod fishermen.  As the docent explained it, there are some 145 days a year that French Catholics don't eat meat, and they ate Cod on those occasions.  The fort was seized by the British in 1745, ceded back to the French, and recaptured by the Brits in 1758, after which it was systematically destroyed by British engineers.  During the 1960's through the 1980's, the Canadians restored the fortress and surrounding village, creating something that reminded me of Colonial Williamsburg, complete with guides in period costume.  The site is about as big as Colonial Williamsburg, too, so there's a lot to see.

Above is the main gate into the fortress, and you can appreciate the workmanship that went into the whole facility.  Interestingly enough, the guns were mostly facing the sea and, of course, the British came from the land side to seize the fort both times. 

Here you can see part of the village to the left, part of the fortifications to the right, and the main barracks building in the center.

This is a picture of some of the buildings in the village.  They had houses, a blacksmith's shop, bakery, restaurants, you name it.  All staffed with local people in period costume who really knew what it was they were portraying. 

Above is the village smithy making a tool of some kind.

And, finally, this is a shot of the village from the ramparts of the fortress.  Anyway, very interesting and very well done.

Tomorrow, I'm starting back home and will be riding down Hwy 104 all the way to Moncton, NB for the night.  I had stayed in Moncton two nights on the way up.

Miles today:  265
Total:  4,266