Tuesday, September 4, 2018 (Travel to Arm of Gold Campground, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia)

We woke to the light pitter-patter of rain on the roof early this morning...and then it grew harder and harder. And today is travel day...sheesh!

Luckily it had stopped by the time Steve was ready to head out and start packing up....and by the time we pulled out at 9, even the roads were fairly dry.

Other than accidentally taking a wrong exit and having to backtrack a short distance to get back on the highway, we had an uneventful drive today. Not many pictures of the beautiful Nova Scotia scenery today, though...somehow the setting on the camera got changed to manual focus from automatic and the pictures were all blurry. Didn't you notice that when taking the pictures, you ask? Well, in my defence, I've been having a hard time seeing distances clearly (yes, I have already made an appointment with my ophthalmologist when we are home in December) and I said to Steve that I didn't know whether it was just my eyesight but all the pictures look blurry. It wasn't until the next day that we realized that two switches on the side of the camera had been moved. Here are some of the less-blurry pictures.

Approaching the Canso Causeway to Cape Breton Island...
The Canso Causeway is a 1,385 m (4,544 ft) rock-fill causeway in Nova Scotia, Canada...
The causeway crosses the Strait of Canso, connecting Cape Breton Island by road to the Nova Scotia peninsula. Its crest thickness is 40 m (130 ft), carrying the two vehicle traffic lanes of the Trans-Canada Highway, Nova Scotia Highway 104 on the mainland side, and Nova Scotia Highway 105 on the Cape Breton side, as well as the single track mainline of the Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia Railway.
Cape Breton Island remains a true island as a result of the 24 m (79 ft) wide and 570 m (1,870 ft) long Canso Canal, which is located at the eastern end of the causeway to allow ship traffic to transit the Strait of Canso. The 94 m (308 ft) Canso Canal Bridge is a swing bridge which carries the road and railway line across the canal.
The highway followed the shore of Bras d'Or Lake






I managed to get a picture of the campground as we crossed a bridge over St. Andrews Channel...
Immediately after crossing the bridge we turned onto Church Road and into Arm of Gold Campground. We were greeted by the owner who, after registering, lead us to our site...a nice open grassy site with a view of the lake. It has full-hookups with 30 amp. power.
After getting all set up, we took a little walk...
Bras d'Or Lake is an inland sea, or large body of partially fresh/salt water in the centre of Cape Breton Island in the province of Nova Scotia, Canada. Max length 100 km/62 miles, Max width 50 km/31 miles, Max depth 287 m/942 ft
We're here for a week...a couple of days of which, will be spent driving the Cabot Trail in a rental car. Looking forward to it!


Sunday and Monday, September 2 and 3, 2018 (Woodhaven RV Park, Halifax, Nova Scotia)

On our way out to do more sightseeing this morning, we stopped at the office so Steve could go in and talk to the manager/owner and discuss an incident that happened yesterday.

Steve saw that there were two teenage boys, 2 sites down, using the empty site between us as a ball field. Noticing a bouncing baseball just missing the neighbours truck in front of us, he was just about to head out to tell them to play elsewhere when the ball bounced off the side of our truck! He darted outside and told them to pack it in and noticed there were no parents in their site. A few hours later after talking to some of the neighbours in the area, we were about to head in when Steve saw the boys now tossing a Frisbee (the parents were sitting outside) and said "you're not going to hit my truck again are you?" and got a "no". Seconds later as we just entered our trailer you guessed it...bang... off the side of our trailer. Steve stormed outside and said that's enough! The dad said it was the younger kid and Steve said he didn't care who it was...they've already hit our truck with a baseball and now our trailer with the Frisbee! No apology or discipline for the boys...all the dad said was have a good night. In disbelief Steve just glared at him and he again said have a good night. Steve was enraged and felt like he had just been told to politely F-off . Rather than escalate things, as long as it didn't continue, he decided he would speak to the management in the morning when the office was open.

The owner understood Steve's concerns and thought that these people were only there for the one night, however, would go speak with them and if they were planning on staying longer, he was going to have them leave. Sweet!

On a side note, as mentioned above, we were talking to some of the neighbours, and one fellow we met had a tiny dog with him. He's a retired sheriff and that little dog is in the Guinness Book of Records as the worlds smallest police dog  Very cool!

Now onto our day...we had one more historic site we wanted to see before leaving the Halifax area. There is actually a lot more we could see here if we had the time, but unfortunately we don't. So today, in addition to stocking up with groceries before we leave Halifax, we are going to the York Redoubt National Historic Site. "Redoubt" seemed like a very unusual name, so I had to look up the meaning...a temporary or supplementary fortification, typically square or polygonal and without flanking defences
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Arial picture from website....
The parking area is inside the gates...Buster just made it through...
York Redoubt National Historic Site is a 200-year-old fortification on a high bluff overlooking the entrance to the Halifax Harbour, just 14 km / 8.7 mi from downtown Halifax. Established in 1793, it was a key element in the defence of Halifax Harbour during the second half of the 19th century. This National Historic Site is a unique heritage treasure featuring interpretive panels, tunnels, muzzle-loading guns, and a World War II Command Post. Visitors are invited to stroll along the many walking trails, wander among the armament and fortifications and enjoy the spectacular panoramic views of the Halifax Harbour. Free admission. 
Free admission?! Bonus!

Welcome to the  York Redoubt National Historic Site
Generations of soldiers - first British, then Canadian - have stood guard at York Redoubt. They protected Halifax Harbour from an enemy attack which never came. Each new threat, from the 1790s through World War II, brought new types of guns and defenses. Here, you will discover the remains of a century and a half of military technology.

Halifax Harbour:
Warden of the North Atlantic
During the 19th century, Halifax was Britain's chief naval base in North America, and thus helped protect her worldwide empire. Halifax has continued to guard the east coast as the home of Canada's Atlantic Fleet since 1910. Because of its naval base, Halifax has always been heavily fortified.

York Redoubt: The Gatekeeper
Geography made this an ideal site for the defence of Halifax Harbour. The bluff on which you stand towers 60 metres above the narrowest point in the outer harbour channel. The guns located here threatened ships that may have tried to attack the harbour. So valuable was this site that York Redoubt was rearmed with each new threat or advance in weaponry. By 1900, newer long-range guns were built further seaward, reducing York Redoubt's importance as a battery. However, during the 20th century York Redoubt became the command centre for all the harbour defences.

York Redoubt, c. 1800
York Redoubt was first fortified in 1793, when war broke out between Britain and France. General James Ogilvie, the British commander at Halifax, built a two-gun battery to defend the harbour entrance.
The defences were improved by Prince Edward, fourth son of King George III, when he was the commander of Halifax from 1794 to 1800, the site had an eight-gun battery and a round Martello Tower, with a signal mast intended to give early warning of an enemy attack. Edward named it York Redoubt in honour of his brother, the Duke of York.

York Redoubt, c. 1873
By 1867, when Canada was born, technology was changing rapidly. Warships were now built of iron, rather than wood, and protected by thick armour which cannon balls could not penetrate. New guns firing heavier, pointed shells were built to pierce armour plate. York Redoubt was rebuilt and expanded to mount the new guns.

York Redoubt, c. 1900
By 1900, new weapons were available. Breech-loading guns, loaded from the rear, gave much greater range and accuracy.  New fortifications, built further seaward, became Halifax's first line of defence. Even so, York Redoubt was rebuilt during the 1890s. The older rifled muzzle-loading guns were remounted on new long-range carriages. Two new quick-fire guns were added to pour fire on small warships which might slip by the larger guns. The fortress greatly expanded, with improved defences against attack by land.
Soldiers of the Royal Artillery, who manned the guns at York Redoubt, were among the last British troops to leave Canada in 1906. At that time, the Canadian Garrison Artillery took over Halifax's defences.

York Redoubt, c. 1942
September 1939: Canada declares war! Halifax's defences were overhauled once again during World War II. The Fire Command Post was built on Position Hill, the highest point in the fort. Here, information from a system of Fortress Observation Posts directed the fire of the harbour defence batteries against attacking ships.
Below the fort, in the main shipping channel, a heavy wire net prevented submarines from slipping into the harbour. The net was protected by York Shore Battery, with its six-pounder guns and three searchlights.

Artillery Store and Canteen
The Artillery Store was built in the 1870s to hold equipment needed to maintain and operate the guns. A Canteen was added to the back of the building during the 1890s, where off-duty soldiers could buy beer and other refreshments.

The Artillery Store about 1880. What was then the fort's main gate can be seen at the left. In the background is the Martello Tower, a few years before its top floors were removed....
The Artillery Store today...
Cookhouse
The Cookhouse was built in 1873, to serve a variety of needs.
The Cookhouse today...


York Redoubt was the heart of the defences protecting the outer harbour approaches to Halifax. Begun in 1793, it was enlarged by the Duke of Kent who constructed a Martello tower here in 1798. The redoubt became an essential link in the communications system protecting the city against surprise attack. Its strategic importance was such that it was rebuilt in the 1860s and 1880s to mount more powerful guns. In the twentieth century York Redoubt became the tactical command centre for all harbour defences. It remained active until 1956.

Rifled Muzzle-Loading Guns
These guns were first built during the 1860s. They fired heavy, pointed shells deigned to punch through the armour on the new ironclad warships...


Duke of York's Martello Tower
The Duke of York's Martello Tower was one of many small towers built for coastal defence throughout the British Empire. They were usually round, with stone walls too think to be penetrated by cannon balls. This tower protected the seaward battery from attack by land.
The tower was built in 1798 by Prince Edward, fourth son of King George III, while he was the military commander at Halifax. It was named for Edward's brother, the Duke of York.

A ship out in the harbour....



Six-Pounder Quick-Fire Positions
During the 1890s, Breech-loading guns replace Rifle Muzzle-Loaders, like the ones mounted here at York Redoubt. The new guns could shoot much further, so new batteries were built for them further seaward. York Redoubt became Halifax's second line of defence. Two of the old RML gun positons were rebuilt for quick-fire guns, so that small, fast attack craft, which might slip by the larger guns, could be destroyed before they invaded the harbour.









Fire Command Post
Completed in 1942, the Fire Command Post controlled all the guns which protected Halifax Harbour.


View of the harbour entrance from the Command Post...

64-Pounder Battery
This battery was once armed with two guns which fired shells weighing 64 pounds. It protected the fort from attack by land. When the fort was expanded to its current size in 1888, the British feared that invaders might land troops to attack the fort from the rear.

Steve entered through this doorway...

Rifle portholes...
From here they can shoot attackers along the exterior wall...



A bunker below the Command Post...
An old gate with a door...


There's Buster in the distance as we finish our loop walk of the grounds...

We walked the grounds for over an hour. We were, for the most part, by ourselves...so refreshing to be away from the crowds! So much history here!

We found our way over to the shopping area that we had been at a few days ago. After a stop at Costco and the Atlantic Super Store, we were all stocked up.

We stopped and topped the diesel off on our way home...and as we approached our campsite, we were pleased to see our unruly neighbours were gone!

There was one last thing to do today...reserve a campsite for our next stop. After much research on campgrounds in a central location on Cape Breton...close enough for a car rental as well as the Cabot Trail...we decided on Arm of Gold campground and I made reservations. That's where we will head on Tuesday.

Monday was a much needed "down" day...although we were still very busy. We worked on another blog and managed to get it posted. We are so far behind and the more we do, the more we don't have time to blog...so we are just getting further and further behind. But...having said that, we are having a blast and we'll get caught up...eventually!

Steve tackled more picture editing while I did some baking. We even managed to have some great video chats with family...which has been difficult being on opposite sides of Canada with a 4 hour time difference! Technology has made this lifestyle so much easier!