Sunday, 30 June 2013

Country Harbour Ferry

It's hard to believe I'm still on Saturday, 22nd June 2013, having started at Sheet Harbour, then drive to Glenelg, onwards to Sherbrooke and finally it's the drive to a remote B&B for the night.  First I have a brisk drive to catch the Country Harbour Ferry, which is really in the middle of nowhere!  You can find location here on Google Maps  or about the ferry on Nova Scotia Provincial Ferries

The ferry runs hourly at the half hour, I was the only car waiting, then the only car on board for the crossing.  It's a cable ferry with two crew who told me cable the cable ferry was easier to maintain and cheaper to run than a normal ferry.  However, the crew seemed more interested in my (well Mr. Hertz) Jeep Compass (Northern Edition).  They said this model it was only launched recently and that was first they had seen. Just checked on internet and it's best in class 4x4 at a price in Canada of around £12,000 !!! 

There's no population on the land either side of the ferry although just a few scattered houses as I head for my B&B.  I'm certainly glad I'm in this vehicle, the road is in poor condition, unpaved roads are far better.  Later I'm told this section hasn't been touched for 50 years and who am I to dispute that fact? It's about 30 miles to Charlos Cove, which is a very small remote community with my B&B about half a mile down a track by the sea.

The view from my window and similar from the dining room

Seawind Landing, Charlos Cove is without doubt the best B&B I have been to in my travels. Dave & Ann Marie welcomed me as though a long lost member of their family, nothing was too much trouble.  Their small restaurant provides not just for residents but also those just looking for a meal, including locals, the nearest place to eat otherwise is over an hour away!

 Whilst I was the only person there that night, they had been full the previous night, I was still offered a wide range of exquisite meals for dinner, and again at breakfast too.  Dave has created a signature dish as one of the great breakfast offerings, so how could I resist? 

It's Blueberry stuffed French toast broulee and it's absolutely superb !

The day that ended at Seawind Landing Country Inn was a very long one.  I had started at Sheet Harbour, been to Glenelg, then Sherbrooke Village. Then the final leg by way of Country Harbour Ferry to get to Charlos Cove.  You can check the route and locations on shown on Google maps  It's 215km / 135 miles, but with the places I visited, the remote and winding roads, it seemed a lot more!  If I was to do that again I feel sure I would have split it over a couple of days.  It was a long and tiring day, but it's breakfast now on the next day, so back out on the road again ...

Sherbrooke Village

Saturday 20th June 2013 started at Sheet Harbour, then a drive to Glenelg, next stop was Sherbrooke Village  (Click on link to go to their website)

Photo: A group of Girl Guides iduring an educational visit to the village

Sherbrooke Village depicts a typical Nova Scotian village from 1860 to pre-WW1. With approximately 80 buildings, over 25 of those open to the public, most with costumed interpreters, it is the largest Nova Scotia Museum site. 

Visit the working woodturner shop, blacksmith, pottery shop, weaver, and even a photographic studio, as well as the old jailhouse with its resident cook !   Built on an economy of ship building, lumbering and gold mining, Sherbrooke Village reflects Nova Scotia as it was during its industrial boom in the late 1800s and early 1900s. A place where time has stood still, so much to see !

At the Jailhouse the cook uses the old oven to prepare cookies "I'm told you are from Scotland" she says, "Sorry it's not shortbread, but come back in half and hour and I will have made some shortbread for you". Of course I returned and the shortbread was round and quite thin pieces, more like a biscuit, absolutely wonderful and made with butter produced in the village too.

Outside a young man rides past on a penny farthing

The blacksmith, who happens to be the cook's husband, makes small items for sale in the village.

Look carefully and you may spot some unusual shoes

Nearby a pair of rare breed Canadian black horses

Heather works at an old loom, and does spinning too.

Heather asked if I could help with the origin of this item which is in their collection, I'm hoping someone will see this supply the information so I can forward it to her

They are made of reeds, did they have them in Scotland?  

Were the reeds grown locally?

What variety were they?

How were they prepared? 

Please let me know if you can help.

I do have an audio clip of Heather explaining it and what she wants to know.

The wood turner

The photographer who uses a 1905 Agfa camera daily doing portraits.  She prepares the chemicals, coats the glass plates, then processes them.  There's more information here on the Photographic Studio  (click to go to the page)

My thanks to Angie Jack who took me on a guided tour of the village introducing me to all the folks as well as an audio interview about the Sherbrooke Village  which I will get online later.

The route so far on Saturday is on Google maps   from the Motel at A, then Glenelg B, Glenelg Chrches C, then Sherbrooke D.  As you will see I had to go through Sherbrooke to get to Glenelg, but the day is not yet done, more on the next posting.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Glenelg, Nova Scotia

My first night on the road was spent at Fairwinds Motel, Sheet Harbour
... Note: You can click on Fairwinds Motel or Sheet Harbour for their individual websites

This was the view late evening from by my window of the church at the end of the bay

Saturday 22nd June 2013

Next morning there was every changing mist on the water

but by the time I came to leave the sun was out

Around 20 years ago Rev Donald Beaton at Inverinate asked me to film a re-enactment of the Highland Clearances at Glenelg at the request of Glenelg, Nova Scotia.

This is the film made at that time:
Glenelg - Highland Clearances

I headed off on a quiet road rarely seeing any traffic for Glenelg around 65 miles away, knowing I would turn left at Sherbrooke Village about two thirds of the way there.  My satnav was showing a left turn way ahead, but when I got to it in the middle of nowhere it was a dirt road.  Whilst many roads are unpaved off the main routes, I wasn't taking this short cut, it may prove not to be so!  The satnav soon updated as I carried along the main road still showing roughly the same distance and I did eventually do a left turn at Sherbrooke.

Glenelg itself is a rural cross roads, one being an unpaved road to Waternish, there's no sign to say you are in Glenelg except that one road with a few scattered houses in signed Glenelg Church Road.

The nearest building to the junction is the small volunteer Fire Station

Glenelg Church Road is 5km long, most of it wooded to both sides, then as it joins the main road near Aspen are two churches, nearest to the junction and largest is the United Church, close by a road sign saying Glenelg 5km !  A few hundred yards away is the smaller Glenelg Presbyterian Church.  Bother churches are build of wood and painted white, which seems the norm for the area.

The Presbyterian Church

I was to meet the minister who covers several rural parishes but he had been called away at the last moment.  He had arranged church member and local historian Olive to meet me instead.  We did an audio interview which I will put online at a later date about the history of the place, which raises doubt over whether Glenelg was named directly after its Scottish counterpart, or a British Goverment Minister Lord Glenelg.

It was surprising to see tartan banners hanging high up on the rear wall of the church along with a panel 'Hail to the Tartans', with local clan names and a square of their tartan.

Half of the tartan banners

This is the route on Google maps from the A is the Motel, B is Glenelg 'village' and C the Glenelg Churches at the other end of Glenelg Church Road.

Once I left the Glenelg Churches I headed for Sherbrooke Village, which will be the next post.

Monday, 24 June 2013

First day of the road trip

The ALT Hotel was very stylish in many ways, although having opened earlier this month there was still work going on in a few small areas, but at least I had got it on a special opening offer price. The corner room gave a 13th floor view across to the domestic terminal and runway, right around to roads I would being doing my initial practice. In front of the window was a rather weird black chair!

Friday 21st June 2013

Next morning I ventured down to find my 'basic intermediate saloon car', only to discover it had been upgraded free to an absolutely brand new white Jeep Compass 4x4.  Loaded up I headed off to the nearby rural roads to practice driving on the wrong side of the road in a strange vehicle.  I had a GPS / satnav which covered all of US & Canada, which had been used for road trips in 2008/9, but I couldn't get it to move from where it was stuck at Las Vegas airport.  Half an hour later, having stopped for a while with the satnav on the roof for best signal, reset it several times, it still wouldn't work.  Thoughts there were to head back to the hotel and phone Helen to get best directions or to meet somewhere nearer than her home. As I drove back to the airport noticing it was Pratt & Whitney Drive, I glanced at the satnav and to my astonishment it was showing the same road ! 

Problem solved and I drove the half hour run into Helen's house, had a chat, went shopping for a few things like fruit and water for the trip.  After lunch together I headed off on my road trip alone  in my new sparkling white Jeep.

First issue was trying to get onto the Murray Mackay Bridge to Dartmouth, my satnav was out of date wanting me to go on at buses only entrance, then I was going round in circles on a one way system !  Eventually by ignoring the satnav I followed my nose and back tracked about half a mile so when I next followed its instructions I was now on the main approach road.  Considering the satnav hadn't been updated for over 5 years was just something I had to accept might happen. 

Driving alone in an unfamiliar vehicle, on the 'wrong' side of the road, it's of great benefit to have the satnav, it let's me concentrate on the road, read the signs and be able to check what I'm being told by it is correct.  It's a bit different when there's a passenger to aid in navigation, but to me the satnav is invaluable when driving alone in a foreign country.

First stop was Fishermans Cove , Eastern Passage where there is a community run small fishing museum which is free.

with various local artifacts on display

The village has small brightly covered shops along a boardwalk by the sea.

Just across the road was the first of the white wood churches that I saw, but then I discovered as I travelled on that all churches seem to be white and wooden !

Next stop was at Musquodoboit Harbour,and  Musquodoboit Railway Museum, but the museum in the old station building was closed.

Nearby the biggest railway snowplough I have ever seen

Heading onwards now to my stop for the night at Sheet Harbour at the waterside
Fairwinds Motel & Restaurant

This is the route on Google maps for the first day with the places mentioned  indicated 

Note that all the underlined names can be clicked and you will go to their site for more information


Saturday, 22 June 2013

Preparing to land

After a couple of hours flight from Glasgow to Iceland, more than a 3 hour stop over, the next Icelandair flight heads west over the ocean, passing just a couple of hundred miles south of the tip of Greenland.  Then our 4.5 hour flight gets near our destination with the first glimpses of land against the low sun that bounces off the water. 

 It's a broken coastline, little rocky outcrops of islands, difficult in the blinding light to pick out the location, but the screen in front of me shows the flight path until I'm passing over places I'll be visiting on my road trip. That jagged coastline bottom right is where I'll be heading first

We came across the edge of Prince Edward Island , pass over New Glasgow and are now coming into land at Halifax, Nova Scotia, it's over remote areas of woodland and very scattered homes. 

Immigration was quick and then a short wait for the bag to arrive, always a happy sight at the end of a long trip ! Just one brief customs check and out into the arrivals area.  I was met by Helen whose family left Applecross in 1830's who had been in touch with me through my Lochcarron village website back in 2001 when researching the area.

A brief visit to Hertz car rental that was pre-booked, the quickest transaction on picking up a car I have ever done, just a brief glance at my driving licence, then handed the keys and documents.  I asked if I could leave the car there as I was staying in the airport ALT hotel which only opened this month, I had got an opening offer on the room.  Although I didn't realise it, I walked past the vehicle on the short walk to the hotel, where I checked in and dropped my bags on the 13th floor room.

Then Helen gave me a quick drive around the airport area so I would know where I could go to practice driving an unfamiliar vehicle on the 'wrong' side of a nice quiet road in the morning !  It's such an easy International airport to drive out and just go into a  wooded area of rural roads and scattered industrial units, when feeling confident venture onto the main road. Dropped back at the hotel, it's now well after midnight UK time, end of a long and tiring day, but finally in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Quite a long day !

Thursday 20th June 2013

It's only a short walk from the hotel to departures at Glasgow Airport, so having to check out of the hotel at 11am and check-in for my flight opening at 11.05am, it seemed perfect timing.  There was a queue just inside the main door, so I glanced at the departures board and it was check-in 21, found that OK, then as I traced the queue back it was indeed the one right out to the door, just one person on check-in.

That took a while, so an hour later off to security, my camera kit rucksack was set aside for further inspection, a few minutes later two female security officers came to examine it.  It was full of cameras, lenses, microphones, cables etc etc., so I warned them of the value and asked if I could remove the items myself, which I was allowed to do.  Every nook and cranny of the case was checked with probes, all the main items removed into a tray as they were individually swabbed. Both bag and tray of itemswere  taken to go through the scanner again.  All went well in the end, the joys of air travel !

Here's a clue as I wait at the gate in departures

The plane is 3 seats each side with a central aisle, I have a window seat next to back row, then a young Scots couple occupy the other two seats with an 18 month old child.  They were very friendly suggesting I must have drawn the short straw !  Before take off stewardess asked if I would be prepared to change seats so the mother could use the third one for the child, as well as it might suit me too :-)   So I ended up near the front still with a window seat, but an empty middle seat, so all worked out well, although I never heard the youngster throughout the flight.

Coming into land ...

Now as I write this I have a 3 hour stop over at Keflavik International Airport, Iceland.

Where next?

I have to start somewhere !

In 2007 when I was 65 I did a round world trip and thought at that time of writing a daily blog, it didn't happen.   Perhaps just as well because whilst everywhere I stopped was supposed to have internet connection it was often so poor that just checking emails took a lot of time.  That's the reason for the blog title, it was what I was going to use at that time, it still seemed appropriate.  It will be quite basic because I'm trying to find my way around with 'Blogger'.

So where do I start, Lochcarron seems appropriate ?

On Wednesday 19th June 2013 I drove south from Lochcarron to Glasgow Airport. The first half of the drive was quite slow and in amongst traffic most of the time, but Glencoe and Loch Lomond were so quiet I never had a car in front or behind me.  That's surprising, it normally gets busier the further south you go. I left Lochcarron at 10.45am, had 3 brief stops, and arrived at the Holiday Inn Express in the airport grounds at 3pm.

I write this in the hotel room Thursday morning, my flight is at 2.05pm, so I'll soon be walking across to departures. Where next ?