Monday, Monday

Monday I went to Iona, a town on an island in the Bras D’Or Lake. To get there you take a three minute ferry ride on a cable ferry. Going over I was the only vehicle, coming back there were five of us, including the Canadian mail vehicle.

At Iona is the Highland Village Museum, chronicling the life of the Scottish settlers that came to Nova Scotia. It is on the Barra Strait and is in an absolutely gorgeous location. It is so beautiful that taking bad photographs is almost impossible. There is a trail you follow that leads you through different houses showing the stages the settlers went through up until the early 20th century. They have an extensive collection of spinning and weaving artifacts, including a carding mill and explanatory video. It was so quiet up on the hills there. Although you see a lot of signs in French and English on the Cheticamp side of Cape Breton, here they have them in Gaelic and English.

The “Black House,” a reproduction of what the Scottish settlers would have lived in on the islands of their home country. It has a dirt floor and room for the animals in the winter.

Sheep! These are Soay sheep from Scotland. They are raggedy looking and the wool falls off or you can pull it off with your hands. They were perfect for the highlands and islands, though.

Lupines everywhere; this is one photogenic area!

Loom in the log house that settlers would have built when they first arrived.

Dyed yarn in the log house.

The oldest, most primitive spinning wheel I’ve seen.

A church building that was floated across the lake to Iona!

Wood frame house (moving up in the world).

Barn (obviously).

The carding mill. This machine would have picked the seeds and stems out of washed wool.

The mill was run originally by water power, then by gasoline engines. Fire hazard, anyone?

A carding machine. Much faster and easier than by hand (see my entry for Sherbrooke Village).

Came back to Baddeck for lunch, wandered around and sat on the boardwalk (on a bench, not the actual boardwalk) for a while, then went back to the hotel and took a well deserved nap. Went to a ceilidh last night. It was amazing. The fiddle player was 19 and could do jigs, reels, and strathspeys like nobody’s business. He brought down the house with his final number. They also had a piano player, step dancers, and a 16-year old Acadian girl who played the fiddle for a bit. Wow. Again, I’m out of superlatives.


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