The next best thing to Scotland…Cape Breton, Nova Scotia (oh, and the Outlander Premiere)

In my mind, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia is the next best thing to Scotland and that’s where I’ll be for the next couple of weeks. Although GreatScot! blog posts may be a little more infrequent than usual, rest assured that I will keeping an eye out for interesting tidbits to post from time to time during my vacation.

For those who may not be familiar with Cape Breton Island, it is an island at the northern tip of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. As it was largely settled by Highland Scots emigrants, Cape Breton has a rich Gàidhlig history and many aspects of that culture are still evident today. The Celtic musical tradition is especially strong and there are still places where Gàidhlig is routinely spoken. I’m looking forward to the chance to practice my limited Gàidhlig vocabulary and see if anyone can understand me.

Here are a few pictures I took from my trip last year and a video from a music festival that I attended at Colaisde na Gàidhlig (The Gaelic College).

By the way, I found out yesterday that I am indeed attending the Outlander Premiere in San Diego on July 25, so readers can definitely look forward to Great Scot! blog posts covering the event. I’m very excited to be meeting more Outlanders and having the chance to see both the first Outlander episode and attend the Q&A panel with Ron, Diana, Sam, Caitriona, Tobias, Graham and Lotte.

Stay tuned, exciting times ahead!

In the meantime, don’t forget to enter the inaugural GreatScot! giveaway. Click here to enter.



6 thoughts on “The next best thing to Scotland…Cape Breton, Nova Scotia (oh, and the Outlander Premiere)

  1. I hope you’re having a wonderful vacation. Hubby and I spent two weeks on Cape Breton in 1996 and it was one of our favorite vacations. We drove the entire Cabot Trail, visited many historical sites on the Louisbourg side of the Island, towns both large and small, and had a throughly wonderful time. One of my favorite places was the fishing village of Meat Cove, the northernmost settlement on the Island. It’s at the end of a road going north off the top of the Cabot Trail loop. We spent three days there poking around Cape North and Bay St. Lawrence. So beautiful. Walked a lot in C. B. Highlands State Park, too. I’d love to go back again some day.

    • Jo Ann,

      I love the Cabot Trail and we will certainly be driving it at some point in the next two weeks. In 15 years however, I have yet to make it to Louisburg. It’s always on the list but we just never seem to spend any time on that side of the island.

      Meat Cove is another neat place. We always wonder how the campers in that campground there on the cliffs don’t just roll out of their tents and into the sea.

      There’s just so much to see and do here in Cape Breton. It’s a very special place.


      • You you MUST visit Louisbourg and so many other fascinating places on that side of the Island. I know what you mean about there just isn’t time to do everything you want.

        We didn’t camp at Meat Cove, we stayed in a motel on the road between the Cabot Trail and Meat Cove. I laughed at your comment about rolling out of a tent and down the cliffs. 🙂 I LOVED the cliffs; they fascinated me.

        One of the highlights of our trip was getting to see Natalie MacMaster play at a fiddling festival while there. If you don’t know, she’s a brilliant Cape Breton fiddler from Inverness County, N.S. and I’ve seen her in the states, too. Her uncle is the famous Buddy MacMaster, an equally famous Cape Breton fiddler. I am absolutely mad about fiddle music and handle registration at the big fiddling contest held annually in my area since 1976.

        Natalie is now married to Donnell Leahy, another brilliant fiddler and, at last count, they had six children. Here are some videos I think you’ll enjoy. The first is the two of them playing together with one of Donnell’s sisters on keyboard. He has nine siblings and every last one of them is an excellent musician. They have a family band that now includes some third generation members.

        Natalie alone playing a Scottish piece. I wish this could be used in Outlander. She played it when we saw her in Cape Breton and I love it.

        And lastly, Natalie with four of her six kids. Sooo cute. I don’t know how there can be so many videos of Natalie NOT pregnant since she had six kids in 11 eleven years. LOL

        With so much talent on both the MacMaster and Leahy sides of the family, I can only imagine how fantastic these kids will be when they grow up.

      • Oh I know Natalie. Her mom and one of our friends here are good friends. As a matter of fact, she went to Natalie and Donnel’s wedding. I’ve been to gigs that Nat has played all over and one of the dances we went to I watched Mary Frances dancing with her Granddad and then crawl under the table to sleep. Natalie is actually home in CB right now about a half mile from where I am now. 😃 I always intend to see Louisburg. Hopefully this is the year.

  2. How incredibly cool that you know Natalie! I have all her CDs and a DVD of the Leahy family that is awesome. Now you have me in the mood to watch it again.

    I hope you get to Louisbourg this trip. I look forward very much to hearing about your entire trip.

    I just came across this YouTube I had somehow missed in the past. Donnell’s story about how he and his siblings practiced in also on the DVD. I’ve seen Natialie play the piano before, but never like this. Boy! she is good.

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