Today we left New Glasgow and set out to drive along the coast road to Point George and then to Antigonish, and we succeeded.
Part way along the road, near the town of Arisaig, Elsa spotted some stands that looked like tourist information signs. They were set back from the road, but instead of facing the road, they were facing away from the road, and there was no road or path leading to them. But we stopped anyway and walked across the grass, only to learn that these were three historical information signs about the local area, which was settled by a group of Scots Catholics, of Jacobite persuasion, who wanted to emigrate after the bloody disaster at Culloden in 1746. They did, some twenty families survived and stayed, and now the area is full of Scots names, especially MacGillivray (and variant spellings). Path to the Cairn
So we were happy we stopped, and grateful for this excellent introduction to the local eighteenth century pioneers.
A little further down the road we saw just a place to park, but there were signs directing us to hike down a two-wheel track to the sea for half a kilometer to view a cairn erected in 1939 in memory of the battle of Culloden, and of three Scots -- Angus MacDonald, Hugh Macdonald, and John MacPherson, who fought for Scotland in the Clanranald Regiment at the Battle of Culloden. They were born in Scotland in 1712-16 and came to Nova Scotia in 1790-91, which means they were somewhere between 74 and 79 years of age when they emigrated. They lived until Ancestral Memorial Cairn 1802-1810, which makes them somewhere between 86 and 98 years of age when they died.
The cairn was large, and boasted recent memorial wreaths, including one marked "Lieutenant Governor." A MacDonald descendant had evidently been the motivation for erecting the cairn.
We stopped again at Point George, where a lovely old lighthouse sits atop the hill, and then descended to Ballantyne's Harbor, which had a small fishing fleet and a one-room museum about bluefin tuna. Fortunately, the harbormaster (or such we took her to be) of the local fishing fleet came out to talk to us.
Tuna licenses are down to about one a season, due to overfishing. The tuna on the western shores of the Atlantic spawn in the Gulf of Mexico and then Point George Lighthouse follow the food fish northward along the coast, ending at the waters off Point George and Prince Edward Island.
The record tuna caught here weighed some 1400 + pounds, but a local girl, the cousin of the young museum guide, caught a tuna of almost 700 pounds which is the womens' junior record. They showed us a picture.
The auctions for tuna used to take place at Ballantyne's Harbor, but now there are so few tuna brought in (due to the shortage of licenses) that a different procedure is followed, and the fishing boats don't know how much they will be paid. The fish are immediately shortened to fit in a six-foot "coffin box" which is held overnight and then rushed by pickup truck to Halifax airport, where it departs by plane to Vancouver and then Tokyo (or some other Japanese airport, she wasn't sure.) It is then examined and bid upon, and the fisherman's take can be anywhere from twenty-five cents to twenty dollars a pound.
We decided we weren't going to try to catch a tuna, so we drove on to Antigonish, where Elsa remembered the JustAMere Cafe, where we had eaten a few years ago. We had excellent fish lunches, and then happily returned to New Glasgow to write up our travel notes.