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Hiking The Highlands - A Long Way From Scotland!

More than 500 years after explorer John Cabot landed in Canada from Europe, modern-day adventurers can enjoy the Cabot Trail, a 185-mile journey through breathtaking countryside in Nova Scotia.

Named by Lonely Planet as one of the best road trips in the world, it’s not just those on four wheels who flock to this spectacular corner of the world.

Taking in the Cape BretonHighlands National Park to the north, and the rugged Atlantic coastline to the east and west, this is  true hiking country, part wilderness in places with stunning views in every direction.

Hiking, kayaking, scuba diving, horse riding, fishing and whale watching are all on the agenda in the summer months, and in winter skiing and snow mobiling are a major attraction.

The Cape Breton Highlands National Park, spread over 950 square kilometres, has everything to offer the outdoor enthusiast, from wilderness trails, panoramic scenery and wildlife including black bear and moose.

French, Irish and Scottish Heritage

The area’s French, Irish and Scottish heritage resounds in Gaelic culture and Celtic music, especially at the Acadian fishing village of Chetricamp, famous for its fiddle playing.

At Beddeck, gateway to the trail, the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site celebrates the inventor’s summer home there.

The Hike the Highland Festival every September involves ten days of organised hiking tours and workshops, with 20 guided expeditions set against the panoramic backdrop of the Cape Breton Highlands – this year’s event runs from September 13th to 22nd.

Visitors have the choice of accommodation depending on their budget, with options including the Cabot Trail Youth Hostel, the Highland Breeze and Gulf Breeze Bed and Breakfasts, or the Mountain View Motel.

Under the Patronage of Henry VII

John Cabot – or Giovanni Cabot as he is known in his native Italy – was the first European navigator to encounter the mainland of North America, sailing under the patronage of England’s Henry VII who gave him ‘free authority, faculty and power to sail to all parts, regions and coasts to the eastern, western and northern seas under our banners, flags and ensigns.’

The John Cabot trail named in his honour loops around the northern tip of Cape Breton Island, while the south west section passes through the Margaree River Valley and the Bras d’Or Lake.

Seafood lovers will find plenty of local delights on offer – especially lobster – at one of the many restaurants en route at several delightful towns and villages along the way.

Outdoor enthusiast Nicki Williams is a copy writer for Gear-Zone, specialists in technical walking jackets and hiking footwear from leading brands including Berghaus, Rab, The North Face and Brasher

 

Picture source: Flickr

Featured images:

Outdoor enthusiast Nicki Williams is a copy writer for Gear-Zone, specialists in technical walking jackets and hiking footwear from leading brands including Berghaus, Rab, The North Face and Brasher

Picture source: Flickr

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