Cape North

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When planning our Maritimes road trip, I had made up a three ring binder (I'm an engineer) of the key things to do and see. A number of items had been ticked off already; Pier 21, Alexander Keith's Brewery tour, Hopewell Rocks, see a whale (Sue), see a seagull (me). Now it was time to check out one of the top Canadian feats of engineering, Confederation Bridge.

This marvel spans the Abegweit Passage of Northumberland Strait. It connects New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island (PEI), commonly referred to as the "Fixed Link" by residents of PEI, prior to its official naming. Construction took place from the autumn of 1993 to the spring of 1997, at a cost of $1.3 billion. The 12.9-kilometre (8 mi) bridge opened on 31 May 1997. The PEI Provincial government are very canny. It costs nothing to cross the bridge onto the island but there's a toll to get off. First on our schedule was to head to the North Cape and see the Atlantic Wind Test Site. Things are starting to close down by mid October and we only had one day left to visit the interpretive centre at the cape.

We headed North West and in Tignish found the Murphy's B&B. Peter and Louise originally from Ottawa, have been running the guest house for three years. We were only 10km from the Cape and decided to head up there before dark. The mist was coming in and it was an eerie sight seeing the monster windmills in the horizon. Getting out of the car we were almost blown over. The interpretive centre was still open but it would close in one hour for the season making us the last visitors this year. The North Cape is one of the windiest places in Canada and The Atlantic Wind Test Site (AWTS) was established in 1980 as Canada's National Wind Energy Laboratory. Since then it has been the cornerstone of Canada's wind energy R&D program. PEI now draws more than five per cent of its electricity from wind energy at North Cape. Before we left we walked over on to the rocks and spotted a sea lion heading out to sea, towards Newfoundland.

One of the reasons I had wanted to stay at Tingish is that it is the start of the Trans Canada Trail. This route, known as The Confederation Trail, goes from one end of PEI to the other. It was developed on abandoned railway lines and travels through wetlands and hardwood groves, quaint villages and along rivers. In August, 2000, Prince Edward Island became the first province in Canada to complete its section of the Trans Canada Trail. Since then Island communities have been working to complete various sections across the province. The trail is 273km long (Tignish to Elmira) and is promoted as a cycle route but I definitely think there's potential for an Ultra marathon.

We said goodbye to Peter and Louise and headed off to Charlottetown, PEI. The marathon expo closed at 6.00pm and we arrived in the city at 5.00pm. Fortunately, there were spaces available and I signed up. The bus was scheduled to leave at 6.45am Sunday morning so an early night on Saturday.

Quote of the Day

"Fatigue is a disease and I don't want it."

John Marino

The start of Confederation Trail at Tignish, PEI. The it finishes 273kms later at the other end of the island, at Elmira.

Cape North

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