“As an occasional skier, I’m always amazed at how beautiful the view is at the top of Ben Eoin looking over the Bras d’Or in the winter time,” says Paul MacDougall, a Cape Breton University microbiology instructor. “I don’t believe a somewhat organized group summer climb up Ben Eoin has been done before, though many snow shoe it in winter.”
On Saturday, September 17, a small group of outdoor enthusiasts, partly for the exercise and partly to celebrate the recent designation of the Bras d’Or Lake by UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere program as a biosphere reserve, are planning a mass hike at Ben Eoin Ski Hill.
Dubbed the Bras d’Or Lake Mountaintop Mob, the event is modelled after the popular “flash mob” social media phenomena. A flash mob is a large group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual action for a brief period of time, then quickly disperse.
MacDougall and fellow organizers Mike Hunter, Wayne McKay, and Steven Rolls have all previously participated in the Cape Breton Highlands Three Peaks Challenge.
“This hike is suitable for all,” Hunter explains. “The ski hill is steep, but doable for anyone – some might take longer than others. The performance will not be athletic in fact will require no particular talent. The trails at the top are quite tame.”
Assisting with the coordination of the event is the popular Cape Breton hiking website, moosebait.com, created by Rolls.
Participants should meet at the ski hill at Ben Eoin at 10 am, Saturday, September 17, and are asked to be at the top of the Eagle ski run at 11 am to take part in the surprise performance.
In a media release MacDougall says the nature of the biosphere reserve celebration means the mountaintop mob event can’t be entirely spontaneous, but the planned performance is being kept a secret. It will be photographed for posting on various social media.
Later on Saturday, the Bras d’Or Lake Biosphere Reserve Association is having a celebration at the Nova Scotia Highland Village, Iona, 1:30 to 4 p.m.
Hunter says, “I wouldn’t doubt that other such events, perhaps even more spontaneous, might happen in the future. There are lots of snowshoers out there as well. Thanks to efforts like moosebait.com and Get Active Cape Breton there is increasing interest in the outdoors.”