Day 82. 20th July. Ship Wreck Cove to Port Hood. Cabot Trail. Nova Scotia.

As Jen mentioned yesterday, our camp last night is high up in the hills behind the inhabited strip, close to the coast. There are lakes all around us and the solitude is glorious.

Yesterday we passed through the little settlement of St Ann’s. It has a special significance for us Kiwis. Forgive me if I have covered this before. I seem to recall writing about it, but this is special.

The McLeod Story.

In the North Island of New Zealand is a little town called Waipu Cove. It has a Scottish community. 

How, when and why did the Scot’s choose this place?

In the lowlands of Scotland in the early 1800’s the Lairds (land owners) were clearing the Crofters (tenant farmers) off their land. Why, is for another time. At about the same time, the Presbyterian Church of Scotland was going through a challenging time. The parish were resisting the administration’s practice of replacing retiring ministers with people of their choosing. The parish wanted a say in who was to be ministering to them. 

Norman McLeod was a respected lay preacher who was totally fed up with life in his country and along with approximately 200 parishioners, built two ships and set sail for a new life in Canada. 

That new life was established in Nova Scotia (New Scotland). St Ann’s, Cape Breton, to be precise. 

For approximately 18 years they established a community. However, due to the harsh winter climate and some disagreements with the indigenous Indian population, Mcleod grew restless and set sail with 900 settlers in 5 ships and landed on the coast of Victoria in Australia. After another two years McLeod was on the move again and sailed for the newly discovered, New Zealand. 

On one of my tours I was telling the passengers this story as we drove past Waipu Cove. Two of those passengers were Bill Jones and his lovely wife, Joan.

Bill, grew up on Cape Breton. It’s only more recently that he told us about where the McLeod settlers established their settlement. One of the main reasons for coming to this part of the world, was to complete the picture of this amazing story. 

Our journey up the ‘Cabot Trail’ Nova Scotia took us past The McLeod cemetery. One of the things I had been unaware of, is that obviously not all the families left St Ann’s. As there are much more recent internments. There is also a McDonalds Cemetery, a little further up the Trail too, so things may not have been running smoothly for the settlement here? 

Today has been the most amazing day. It was very hot and sticky last night when we set up camp. Clouds started forming but we were confident there would be no rain. However around 2am I could feel raindrops on my face, so had to get up and close the side windows. It took me ages to get back to sleep as again. I was thinking about some of the sillier things I have done in my life. Jen beats me for these bouts and It’s not long before I’m back on the ball, so to speak. Is it good to reflect like that?

So, this morning we woke to sunshine and were on the rough track back to the main road, by 10am.

Our first stop was Ingonish. Bill & Joan and indeed Bill’s Mum, Mary, insisted we go to Ingonish. Expecting a sandy beach we were surprised by the size of the smooth rocks and pebbles that separated us from the water. It’s a special beach anyway and there were paddlers, like us, enjoying the warm waters of that part of the Atlantic ocean.

Settled in our hotel for the night and after a lobster dinner, its time to reflect on an amazing day. The latter part of the drive down the northern coast of Cape Breton Island, was perhaps the most enjoyable of my life. A winding, undulating road, relatively little traffic, windows down and the TD5 purring beautifully with it’s diesel cackle. The road surface either dreadful or recently sealed, but it didn’t matter. With the sun shining and the coastline and scenery, magnificent.

Ash, this should be your next cycling experience.

To complete the day I have had lovely letters from two of my children. 🙂

Visits: 36


  1. Hi Dennis and Jen… first things first.. Happy Birthday biggest Bro… Wishing you a wonderful day today and every day. Much love to you..xxxx

    And as for the night time musings, ah well that’s just a family thing as we are prone to self analysis in our quest to always do the right thing. But it’s ok my lovely brother we aren’t perfect but we’re ok..

    We are really enjoying your adventures but not sure how you have managed to avoid being eaten by bears or fallen off a mountain pass or been drowned by a tsunami even..!! Or dare I say being stuck in the sand and the tide swallowing you..!! 🙂 .. I do try not to worry.. :-)..

    Jen…I just want to say you are amazing in accompanying Dennis on your worldly adventures .. Look forward to following you on the rest of your journey. Stay safe… 🙂

    Love to you both… Liz and Chris..xxxx

    • Hi! Liz and Chris, thanks for your kind words.

      Just to put your mind at ease, two young tourists travelling together, an Auzzie and an American, were murdered on the Alaska Highway a couple of days ago. Adding to the number of missing people they think there may be a serial killer operating? It’s OK, we wont be going back…:)


      Us xxx

  2. Well done bro, a nice rap up of our history. Sounds like the Rover is behaving, fingers crossed. You certainly have met some amazing people, communication huh, wonder where that comes from? Next time you lay awake disecting your life, be aware you have company. Just remember to remeber the good bits too.

    • Hey Kelvin, how about an update on your travels? Did you meet our ghosts in Blackall or go via Augathella?



  3. Have the starting problems disappeared? If so, have you figured out how the electrics affected the starting?

    • Hi! John, I think it’s a voltage draw thing. We need a good auto electrician who understands the dynamics of dual battery’s. I am still testing the theory of ensuring I turn off the park lights and accessory setting on the key, when we stop. It seems to start immediately if I do that.


  4. (with a very big grin) The Maritimes – I believe old son you know understand why you can never take them away from their home

    Good travels kids 😉

    Bill I

  5. Hi to you both,HAPPY BIRTHDAY Dennis.

  6. Happy Birthday great big bro, I have been having issues with my technology that I won’t bore you with. I get to check your blog about once a week but for some reason the photos come up over the text on my IPad so miss a lot of the story, I think it is just the IPad that causes it. I hope to get my blog going again in the next day or so. Should be in Scotland in two days, having a warm up rainy night tonight.
    Loving reading your blobs.
    Little Baby Brother

    • Hey Ash, did you cook the iPad in the sun? Stick it in the fridge for an hour or two. Got to have balance…:)

    • Hi Ash, Jen has just been viewing the blog on her iPad. Same problem, yet it’s fine on the iMac. Is anyone else having viewing issues? What about Windows?

      It could be a formatting problem. Sorry about that. I’ll try and get to the bottom of it.


  7. Buggee but forgot your birthday bro. Many many happy returns of your dsy. Just arrived at Argathella, will write more soon.

  8. Elizabeth Olson

    Ha ha… thank you I am reassured …. not..!! I have been following the news about the couple being murdered but wasn’t going to mention it so you didn’t worry and I checked that you were on the other side of the country..

    All seems to be well over here, we are still enjoying our new location with regular walks along the beach with Gerry. Chris is working in Te Anau today but will be home tomorrow. He has been pretty busy working all over the place. we are hoping to bring the boat up here in the next couple of weeks as we have a new mooring on the Mahurangi River just up from Warkworth in a small marina.


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