Track 1: Introduction

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Lighthouse, Chéticamp Harbour

Adapted and abridged from the Cabot Trail Companion.

Welcome to the Cabot Trail —
Canada's greatest scenic drive!

Famous for friendly locals and breathtaking scenery, it ranks amongst North America's very best destinations — highly recommended by respected publishers like GQ, Travel+Leisure, Fodor's, National Geographic, and Lonely Planet.

The Trail's slogan is A new journey around every turn, and by listening to the Cabot Trail Companion, you'll discover how fitting that is. You'll learn some amazing facts from real-life experts, who'll introduce you to aspects of the island not everyone gets to see!

Alexander Graham Bell, Cape Breton's most renowned resident, once summed it all up — remember these wise words as you travel the Trail, and we promise you'll have an unforgettable journey:

"We are all too inclined to walk through life with our eyes closed. There are things around us and right at our very feet that we have never seen, because we have never looked. We should not keep forever on the public road, going only where others have gone; we should leave the beaten track occasionally and enter the woods. Every time you do that you will be certain to find something that you have never seen before ... one discovery will lead to another, and before you know it you will have something worth thinking about to occupy your mind."

The Cabot Trail Companion includes a directory of hotels and other businesses along the trail, plus a route map. On the map you'll find arrows that correspond to CD track numbers — blue for Disc One; red for Disc Two. They show you where to start each track, and the direction you should be heading in. Each track starts well before you get to its corresponding destination, so you're already familiar with it when you arrive.

You can start your tour with any track number, but remember that our tour follows a CLOCKWISE direction, to take advantage of the visitor centre at Chéticamp before we enter the Highlands National Park.

A horse at the Normaway Inn, just off the Margaree Valley — one of the many wonderful gems to be found along the Cabot TrailDriving clockwise is a tradition that dates back to the opening of the Cabot Trail in 1932. At that time it was unpaved, and so rough that locals still preferred to get around the island by boat. But by travelling clockwise, motorists would keep to the inside lane of the Trail, a safe distance from some pretty scary cliffs!

The drive today, of course, is perfectly safe, but you should still be prepared to stop often — because some people swear the views are better when seen from the other direction, and you might want to check that theory out!

Many people try to do the Trail in just one day — but that really isn't enough time to explore and enjoy the experience. It isn't a race — so don't plan it down to the minute. Relax, stop as often as you like, and take loads of photos. And leave time for unexpected discoveries: you can always stay an extra night or two.

Chatting with everyone you meet is the secret for getting the most out of the Trail: it doesn't cost a dime, and you'll learn more stuff than we could ever have fitted onto these two CDs!

So, without any more ado, let's hit the Trail ... and get the show on the road!


If you'd like to know more about the Cabot Trail, the links below and on the following pages may be of interest. Because we have no control over external sites, if you find a dead link please let us know!

Old photograph of the unpaved Cabot Trail — not for the faint of heart!

Inspirational quotes by Alexander Graham Bell

Official Cabot Trail website

Cape Breton's tourism site

Nova Scotia's tourism site

Cape Breton Post newspaper

Inverness Oran newspaper

Cape Breton Highlands

Inverness County website

Victoria County website

Hike the Highlands Festival

Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design

Accommodations & other businesses along the way

See also the Baddeck area (DISC TWO, Track 9)

Castle Moffett Accommodation ($$$)
11980 Hwy 105, Bucklaw. TF: 1-888-756-9070;

The Red Barn (gifts, restaurant & Cabot Trail landmark)
Exit 7, Hwy 105, Nyanza. T: (902) 295-3036;

Taigh na H’Aibhne B&B Accommodation ($)
11399 Hwy 105 Bucklaw T: (902) 756-2380;

Wagmatcook Culture & Heritage Centre
10765 Hwy 105, Wagmatcook. TF: 1-866-295-2999;

If you would like your business to be added to this list, please contact us...