Glooscap Caves (Fairy Hole)

Since I was a child, I heard the stories about the mysterious swimming hole located at Cape Dauphin near Kelly’s Mountain.  I finally got the chance to visit the Glooscap Caves, or Fairy Hole as it is locally known, for myself and highly recommend anyone visiting the area make a point to hike the hour-long trail to the caves.

From Sydney, visitors seeking the easiest route to the caves need only get on the 125 Bypass, turn off onto the 105 (Trans-Canada), drive for about a minute past the Seal Island Bridge and turn right onto the dirt road leading to Cape Dauphin.  The entrance to the trail is at the end of this road.

The trail itself is a little rough but manageable for most people.  There are ropes at some steep sections to help you descend safely but it is advised to use caution, especially after there has been some rain.  The trail ends at a small, rocky beach and the only way into the caves is by wading into the rough waters and crawling through an opening which is not far from shore.  On the other side of this opening is a small, almost completely round lagoon with crystal clear water that allows you to see right down to the bottom.  The water is deep in the center but you can crawl onto the rocks at the edge.  The water is also strangely warm compared to other swimming holes anywhere else on the island.  Nestled in the cliff at one far side of the lagoon is the famed Glooscap Caves.  There are ropes to help would-be explorers climb up and into the cave but it is important that you wait until low tide to venture into the Fairy Hole because the lagoon and caves do flood at high tide and this could produce some dangerous conditions for anyone venturing into the area at that time.

Andrea MacEachern is a freelance travel writer and amateur photographer living in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

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