Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Howard's account of our Langonnet Abbey walk

(thanks to Dick for the excellent photos)
An impressive group of 32 members and guests, plus 4 dogs, assembled in the car park of Langonnet Abbey for our walk. The weather was overcast, but mild.
The Cistercian Abbey was founded in 1136 and continued as a functioning, flourishing institution until the French Revolution, after which it remained empty until 1806 when Napoleon, leaving the monks’ vows of chastity far behind, made it the first National Stud Farm. Later in its history it became the base for the Freres de Saint Esprit Missionary Order and they are still there to this day.
Once away from the Abbey confines our walk took us through a wooded area flanked by a gurgling stream where the path was strewn with freshly shed chestnuts. Two fallen trees provided the group with Agility Tests number 1 and 2 -duck under the first and clamber over the second.
In true grand old Duke of York style Wendy marched us up to the top of Morvan’s hill and marched us down again. In between times she explained that Menez Morvan was the last fortified stronghold of the 9th century Breton chief, Morvan, but that he was captured and beheaded in 818 by the forces of Louis the, on this occasion, not so Pious.
The walk then proceeded through a marshy area alongside a cow pasture. The cows were held at bay by an electrified fence that in Agility Test No 3 required Steve and Roger to raise the fence with wooden sticks so that the group could limbo beneath it. All managed this successfully. The cows watched with interest, presumably seeing this as a possible escape route for themselves. The last I heard was that they were still looking for volunteers to hold the fence up. At this point I happened to notice that the marshy area had transformed our Golden Retrievers into a new breed of Black Muddy Retrievers.
We then had our cake stop. Karen gave us a choice of raspberry and coconut buns, pear and almond buns, or a French carresau citron. By clever planning on Karen’s part there were enough cakes and more to go round. I tried the pear and almond bun. It was excellent. I tried to lay my hands on a raspberry and coconut bun, but without success. All snapped up within seconds of being on offer. Note to cake monitor, Liz -ask Karen again, soon, please.
Continuing on our walk, duly refreshed, we passed a Bronze Age tumulus dating from 1500 B.C., long since robbed of its treasures and contents, and an early medieval motte. The wooden tower had gone but there were still remains of a dovecote. The motte had been built in fairly low lying country so its presence may have been more symbolic than practical.
At the end of the walk we had an opportunity to look around the Abbey. All in all an excellent walk in good company. Special thanks to Wendy and Karen.
Howard Lawson

1 comment:

WM said...

In my defence, we went up one side of the hill and down the other ;-)