Sunday, November 30, 2008

Walk on Tuesday December 2

We have a fairly short and easy walk at Le Moustoir, just east of Carhaix, this Tuesday at 2pm. It's a pretty route including a long stretch of the Nantes-Brest canal, where the towpath is usually easy-going whatever the weather. Other paths are very grassy and will certainly be quite wet, so footwear with a good grip advised, and maybe a walking pole or stick. Meet in the large parking area opposite the church on the main road in the village (old N164). All welcome, including well-behaved dogs.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Xmas Event for members and their guests

Not long to go now until our Xmas event on Friday December 12th. It's an all-day social/eating/drinking/fund-raising affair and we hope to welcome lots of members and their friends. Drop in for a chat or come and do a workshop on cake-decorating, card-making, upholstery or Morris dancing. Lots of opportunities for Xmas present solutions including books, the 3 euro stall and gift memberships for 2009. Lots of nice things to eat and drink, plus the Brittany Walks recipe book will be on sale for the first time.
Details and directions on

Friday, November 21, 2008

Favourite BWs Dogs

We are fortunate to enjoy the company of some exceedingly nice dogs at Brittany Walks!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Kay's account of our Squirriou Walk

(Photos by Dick Westcott)
We set off to discover the delights of the Squiriou valley and the Forest Domainale de St-Ambroise on the circuit de Trinivel joined by three new walkers and Merlin the Jack Russell. Leaving the disused railway station we crossed the bridge over the river Squiriou and headed uphill, which soon warmed us up as there was a distinct nip in the air. Plunging down into the mainly pine clad forest we snaked along the muddy track before the steady climb up past huge piles of timber awaiting collection. Tempting views of the countryside beyond were glimpsed through gaps in the trees, highlighted by the autumn sun. Whilst we settled into the rhythm of chatting and walking, the dogs enjoyed the puddle strewn path.At the forest cross roads we followed a path over a small stream swollen by the recent rain and on into a delightful deciduous woodland.Their leaves carpeted the pathway that led us up into the tiny hamlet of Trinivel. Here we had long views over the forest and beyond. By the peaceful chapel of St. Corentin we stopped for refreshment and enjoyed Liz's delicious cakes.Thus refreshed we rejoined the trail passing by Kervellé and Kermarzin. Here we turned onto 'l'ancienne voie ferrée' , the old track was strewn with leaves and the Squiriou burbled alongside us. The group had spread out over fifty metres or so, and as they rustled through the leaves it reminded us of the trains that once use to puff their way along the same route.Back at the car park Dick entertained everyone by showing off his dog handling skills whilst attempting to take a group photo of all the dogs.
Kay & Steve Attwell

Friday, November 14, 2008

Walk next week - 18th November

We have an event next Tuesday: a walk of 9kms involving forest tracks, an old chapel, rural hamlets and an easy return in the valley of the Squirriou river along a former railway track. Meet at 2pm in the parking of the old railway station on the D42 between Scrignac and Berrien.
All welcome: scrummy cake, courtesy of Liz, to reward everyone's efforts.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Brittany Walks Recipe Book

Since our summer members' party where the food got a unanimous vote of approval, BWs has been preparing a little recipe book from that occasion and from the delicious cakes provided by various members for our walks. Joan has worked very hard on this project, and we are grateful to all those who have contributed a sweet or savoury recipe to the collection. The result will be available for the first time at the Xmas event on December 12 and subsequently at each BWs event.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Members' News - Starling Watch (and a bird in lacy knickers)

Lesley, Dick, Kay & Steve went on starling watch this week, with surprising results! Lesley tells the story.........

I’m a self confessed ‘Birder’, in fact my late husband pointed out to me that I collect binoculars like other women collect shoes. I confess to that also. Thus it was that when I overheard two fellow walkers, Steve and Dick discussing the amazing spectacle of millions of Starlings coming in to roost over the Somerset levels, I rather rudely butted in and pointed out that such a display was on offer on winter evenings in the Monts d’Arree. They asked me if I would meet them to show them where this spectacle takes place and we agreed that we would meet late one afternoon at the Chapelle St-Michel-de-Brasparts, where the birds fly in just above head height. We would then drive on down to their roosting place where one can witness some 2,000,000 Starlings forming kaleidoscope shapes in the evening sky, just as I had done in November last year. To this end, Steve, Kay, Dick and I all met on Tuesday 4th at 4.30pm. The sky was relatively clear, and as a glowing red ball of setting sun was sinking behind the distant hills, silhouetting them black against the orange sky, everything seemed to be full of promise. There was just one thing missing….Starlings!
It started to get cold, very cold; still no Starlings. I saw one flock flying way below us, towards the roost , and as some cloud had started to move in we decided that perhaps the birds were flying low this evening. Then Steve pointed out a very unusual bird only feet away from us. We discussed what it may be. It was very pretty with a finch-like peach coloured bill. His wings and face were brown, streaked in places with white, and his underneath was the purest of whites. He had fluffy feathers growing down over the tops of his legs that gave the appearance that he was wearing Victorian lacy knickers. After some deliberation, we reached the conclusion that this was a Snow Bunting (later confirmed by our bird books). This bird was amazingly friendly and when he saw Dick with his camera, he positively posed. (He probably thought he would be on Autumn Watch).
We eventually submitted to the cold and drove on down to the Starlings’ roost in time to see some large flocks coming in to settle noisily in the trees…no sky dance this evening, though. So where were the Starlings? Although there were a lot there, there was nothing like the number that I had previously witnessed. (A) We were 10 days earlier than the date that I had photographed the sky dance last year and at migration time this can make a great difference (B) If scheduled wildlife continues to not turn up on cue for Bill Oddie and crew, what chance did we stand?
I have always maintained that the big difference between men and women bird watchers is that men are Twitchers and ‘trainspot’ birds whereas women are more interested in bird behavior. However, I drove away from Monts d’Arree that evening with an ear to ear grin, because I would gladly have stood for hours at the top of that hill, in a bitterly cold wind just to see such a rare and beautiful little bird as that Snow Bunting…….. Oh dear!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Meet the Members (4) Derek Mussett

Derek has had a very active life, with flying and gliding featuring largely in his impressive list of past-times and occupations. He has also worked in the London and Essex Fire Brigades. A keen horse-rider and sailor too, it’s surprising that Derek has found the time to work hard on restoring his house in Brittany. But as so many other people come to realise, there must be more to life than bricolage. Joining Brittany Walks and the AIKB has given him a whirl of a social life after meeting, in his own words, lots of ‘lovely people’.
Clearly a man without any sense of danger, Derek’s latest passion is Breton dancing!