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Where We Swim


The winters in Cape Breton are long, bitterly cold and full of snow. Some years, the snow is still here in May. Some years, we don’t get much of a spring. Like this year. There was snow on the ground only several short weeks ago and now it’s incredibly hot – summer has been in full swing since late June.

There isn’t much air conditioning in Cape Breton. It doesn’t get as hot here as it does in Toronto, for example, where air con is a must-have during the summer months. But we have something that many other areas don’t, something that cools you down completely and leaves you feeling comfortable for the rest of the day: a gorgeous river to swim in.


Growing up, my brothers and I lived for summer swims in the river. My parents would faithfully take us every day and we’d splash and swim and dive to our hearts’ content. This river is special. It’s not murky or dark. It’s cold and refreshing. The pools we frequent are deep enough to swim and dive, but the water is clear enough to see all the way to the bottom.

There are a few different parts of the river that are good for swimming – Chuck’s, Danny Neil’s and The Yankee Line are the three most popular.


I don’t know what it is about this river. In all my travels I haven’t come across another that compares to it. I’ve seen some great rivers – The Han in Korea, The Mekong in Laos, The Shannon in Ireland – and charming smaller rivers. I’ve enjoyed them all and appreciated their beauty. But I haven’t found a river as cold, refreshing, clear or as relatively isolated as the river running through my tiny community.


For the record, Maeve has been enjoying her time in the river, too!



*These pictures were taken at Danny Neil’s, near my house, in Middle River, Cape Breton.The deepest spot is about 8 feet and the slope is gradual, making this an ideal place to bring your kids. I won’t give more info than this because we don’t want the place overrun with visitors – but if you can find it, I hope you enjoy a well-deserved swim!


2 Comments Post a comment
  1. The river is beautiful, water so clear and clean. The closest river to me is the East River or Hudson and both are like toxic waste, but I do remember swimming in cool clean water of rivers in upstate NY. Seeing you with the baby brought back nice memories,

    July 15, 2014
    • Thank you 🙂 a lot of the rivers in Ireland are very pretty but I don’t think I would swim in them. Perfect for fishing, though! It’s nice to get in the river at home while I can.

      July 17, 2014

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