Meet in downtown Halifax at 13:00 or the Halifax airport at 14:00, for a 4½ hours transfer to Louisbourg. To avoid the drive, you can fly into Sydney, only 30 minutes to Louisbourg by taxi. D (Meal inclusions provided for guided trips. Note: Self-guided trips include breakfast only).
Louisbourg Harbour Inn; or
Cranberry Cove Inn, Louisbourg
Day 2: Paddling Louisbourg Harbour or Scatarie Island Wilderness Area.
Scatarie Island has a long and rich history as a fishing settlement, and local ties to the area run very deep. There are a few summer homes, but the coast is very rugged and interesting, and is a superb paddling destination. Louisbourg Harbour is the best vantage point for the spectacular façade the fortress presents to the sea. Combined with the rugged coast, this is a special paddling experience. It is rare that we can do both, but each provide highlights, and the choice is made based on weather, marine conditions, and group abilities. BL
Day 3: Short bike ride to visit Louisbourg, and afternoon hike on the Lighthouse Trail. Optional 56km ride to Main-a-Dieu and back.
Spend the morning discovering the French fortress of Louisbourg. The original fortress, constructed mainly between 1720 and 1740, was one of the most extensive (and expensive) European fortifications constructed in North America. Today it is an 18th-century adventure nestled on the edge of the sea - a place where muskets and mortars, women in hoop skirts and men in wigs, town criers and the 'iron collar' are a part of re-enacted everyday life. After a period meal, this afternoon’s hike will take you along the coast on the Lighthouse Trail, unless you prefer an independent ride along the coast to Baleine, Gooseberry Cove, and Main-a-Dieu. The population of Main-a-Dieu is 240, and there is a fascinating fisheries museum. You may also learn about myriad shipwrecks – victims of the beautifully rugged coast. The hike takes you to one of the most beautifully preserved and spectacular lighthouses on the East Coast of North America. You will see why it exists! BLD
Day 4: Cycling, optional distances: 48km Louisbourg to East Bay, 48km East Bay to Iona, 25km to Little Narrows, then 42km to Mabou; total up to 160km/100 miles. Recommended route: 73km
A beautifully long and quiet ride across Cape Breton today, starting at Louisbourg, and skirting the Bras d’Or Lakes from a beautiful sandbar at East Bay, through Nova Scotia’s largest Mi'kmaq community at Eskasoni, across the bridge at Grand Narrows and to the ferry at Little Narrows. Stop at the Nova Scotia Highland Village to learn about Scottish heritage, and finish in Mabou. BLD
Duncreigan Country Inn, Mabou
Day 5: Paddling 4-6 hours from Mabou Harbour
This is a beautiful inlet, leading to coastal scenery rivalling Scotland’s, with gorgeous hillside meadows tumbling down hillsides toward the sea. We look forward to showing you the beauty. BL
Day 6: Cycling approximately 80km/50 miles
This is one of our favourite rides. For simple, idyllic beauty, and quiet rural roads with beautiful views, this is superb. Near the end of the day, you will be able to stop for a visit at the first single malt distillery to be located outside Scotland. Even if you eschew the opportunity to taste, you will enjoy the setting at the foot of the Mabou hills, straddling a stream whose waters become, with the distillers’ art, the golden liquid that puts this place on the map. Enjoy some traditional Cape Breton music this evening after a final dinner together. BLD
Duncreigan Country Inn, Mabou
Day 7: Hiking up to 15km
Just wait ‘til you see this hike! Cut into the edge of a hill that tumbles all the way to the sea, the path along Sight Point or the Skyline Trail will leave you giddy with excitement, and maybe vertigo. This is the part of Nova Scotia that most reminds us of its namesake: Scotland. You may even see some sheep illustrating the area’s heritage. In any case, you will be amazed at the expansive sea views as you explore this and other trails on a good day of hiking. Transfer back to Halifax at day’s end; 3½ hours. Arrive by 19:00. BL
If you have ever wanted to see why Cape Breton Island has inspired musicians, artists, and inventors, spreading their good will around the world, this is a perfect way to do so without tackling the challenging terrain of the Cabot Trail. Starting with the exciting reconstructed fortress and reenacted ambience of Louisbourg, and the Scatarie Wilderness on the east coast of Cape Breton, you will hike and seakayak the rugged coast and islands while learning about early North American struggles between French and English in such places as Main-a-Dieu (Hand of God), Scatarie, and Louisbourg itself. You will then ride your bicycle, following lake shores and valleys across Cape Breton Island to the west coast at Mabou, a quiet village that at first glance belies the abundance of musical talent enjoyed there. An evening at The Red Shoe will give you some idea of the culture thriving in the surrounding hills. You can enjoy one of our favourite rides around Lake Ainslie, and visit the only single malt distillery outside Scotland, before a fantastic hike on your last day, along the path cut into the side of the coastal hills at Sight Point. This is a full week of Cape Breton magic, but we guarantee you will leave wanting more!
||Downtown Halifax, 13:00, or Halifax Airport, 14:00, day one.
Transfer 4½ hours to Louisbourg. Alternatively, one way flights are available into Sydney, a 30 minute taxi ride from Louisbourg.
||Downtown Halifax, 19:00, day seven. Note that flying via Sydney is logistically more difficult than at the beginning of your tour.
||US 2385; C 2495 (per person, includes 7 days, 6 nights, 6 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 4 dinners, Louisbourg admission fees, seakayak equipment, luggage handling, vehicle and guide support, maps and route notes, transfers from/to Halifax)
||US 2195; C 2295 (per person, includes 7 days, 6 nights, 6 breakfasts, 2 lunches, sea kayak equipment and guide, luggage transfers, essential vehicle transfers, maps and route notes, transfers from/to Halifax)
||US 555; C 575
||Hybrid: $145; Racing: $195; Full Carbon Racing or Electric-assist: $265.
|2015 Guided Dates:
||Jul 12-18; Aug 23-29; Sep 13-19. Add your own dates (learn more)
|Self-guided & Self-supported Dates:
||You choose! We confirm within 48 hours.
||June (spring flowers,
extra quiet roads), July (warm weather, cool
swimming), August (warm weather and swimming),
September (cooler; quieter roads), and October
(fall colours, extra quiet roads, Celtic Colours
All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.
15% sales tax applies (7.5% for non-Canadians).
“The food was beyond our expectations. Marie provided gourmet picnics in a beautiful setting with extraordinary attention to table décor. Having all the logistics of hiking, biking and kayaking taken care for us and having all the accommodations and food prepared. Makes for time to just concentrate on locale, wildlife and good times”– Nancy Donnelly & Rick Leonard
“We had one of our best holidays ever… From the reception at the airport, right the way through to your suggestions in Cape Breton, we really had a brilliant time. The cycling was first rate… and with the sea kayaking, and sailing they form a nice set of images to call on when I need to think of happier/less stressful/sunnier/familial times.” – Dunkerley Family
“Geoff was fabulous…I really can’t think of a single thing he could improve on…. He and Berni far exceeded our expectations and tailored the routes and activities to our skill level and interest. They really went the extra mile to make it special.” – Jane & Tracy Taylor