Tuesday, December 29, 2009


A very happy 2010 to all Brittany Walkers, looking forward to lots of new walks and events. Thanks also for all the many seasonal wishes, gratefully received. We kick off with an easy walk at Huelgoat on January 12, starting from the car-park by the mairie at 2pm. Let's hope the weather smiles on us!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Quimper arrangements

For those who have booked to go on this trip:

We meet this Thursday (17th) at 11.00am in the Covoiturage car-park by the Le Pouillot roundabout (distinctive black and white decorative columns) on the N164 between Pleyben and Chateaulin. It is opposite Macdonalds! Please try to be on time so we can be in Quimper by 11.30. Return to car-park between 4.30 and 5.00pm. Any problems, phone 06 27 04 56 29.

Many people have been inquiring about a January walk. It will be at 2pm, Huelgoat, on the 12th. Quite an easy route, not too long, cost 3€. Full details later.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Quimper Trip

On December 17th we have a trip to Quimper.
Leaving from car-park near Pleyben at 11.00am and car-sharing. Programme depends on weather, but probably morning stroll up Mt Frugy for views of the city, buy things for lunch in covered market (crepes fresh made, salads, sandwiches, sushi, Moroccan, cheeses - you name it, they've got it). One or two points of interest in town, proper look at cathedral, if it's open, and then Art Gallery (entry 4€50) for those who want, or shopping! The Muséee des Beaux Arts has some great Breton stuff, well worth seeing. Limited places, booking essential please. 2€50 plus gallery entry.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fab walk

We had a lovely walk yesterday at St Thois in good weather and fine autumnal countryside. Thanks to everyone who came and made it such a nice occasion.
Don't forget - Quimper trip (17 December) booking essential, limited places.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

November Walk

We have a walk at St-Thois on Tuesday 17th, starting at 2pm. This is a rural walk (about 5.5kms) including a fine stretch of the Nantes-Brest Canal and some attractive countryside with good views. Meet in the canal-side car-park, about 5kms west of Chateauneuf-du-Faou on the D72. Turn right immediately after the bridge over the canal and the car-park is just ahead on the right. 2€50.

In December we'll be having a visit to Quimper - mainly to visit the excellent art gallery, but Xmas shopping optional instead! This will be a small group, booking essential event, sharing cars from the expressway parking between Pleyben and Chateaulin.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Autumn Aboretum

It was really great to see 'old' friends and meet new ones at Huelgoat Arboretum today. The sun shone for us and we enjoyed a good display of colour throughout the world geography of the Arboretum (which has developed enormously since I was last there six years ago). Not only lots of trees and shrubs to admire, but also fine views across an autumnal landscape. Special thanks to Karen for leading the way.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Huelgoat Arboretum Walk

We have a stroll around the arboretum at Huelgoat on Tuesday October 27, meeting there at 2pm. Cost of 5€ includes entrance fee. Hoping for some autumnal colour :-)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Brittany Walks

Brittany Walks is no longer an association, and now reverts to its former incarnation as a private enterprise. There will be walks in October, November and December - watch this space, or see our website http://www.brittanywalks.com/ The website is going to have a major overhaul this winter, ready for great things in 2010. We hope to have a Walking for Health event in the spring, to encourage absolute non-walkers to have a 15 minute stroll to promote general fitness. There are also a range of study days programmed for early next year - Breton legends, religion and megaliths are on the agenda. As usual something for everyone is the intention, so I look forward to seeing old friends and new very soon.
I would like to add very heartfelt thanks for all the messages of support received this week. My main feeling is one of sadness because I believe strongly in the vie associative that is such a force for good in French society, and all that is achieved by the passionate commitment of enthusiastic individuals to a cause, a conviction or a project. But the sharing of positive aims with like-minded individuals in a happy group is something worth striving for in any form in my opinion.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Beautiful Bon Repos

On a warm and sunny afternoon (one of the few this summer!), 20 of us met beside the banks of the Nantes Brest Canal to visit the historic Abbaye de Bon Repos (Good Rest). The Abbaye dates back to 1184, when it was founded by Alain lll De Rohan. It has had many periods of crisis over the centuries but since the 1960's has been partially restored. Marilyn, President of the Association des Compagnons of the Abbaye, gave us detailed insight into the history of the building and the area, and also guided us around, explaining how the building has been restored.
The cloisters were beautiful, but the whole building is well worth a return visit. After a browse at the wide selection of books in the Abbaye gift shop, we went back to the canal to relax with juice and cakes and make the most of the afternoon sunshine.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Bon Repos visit

We have a guided visit to Bon Repos abbey (near Gouarec) on Tuesday 22nd at 2.30, meeting by the entrance to the avenue leading to the abbey. A stroll or drink or ice-cream by the canal will follow, depending on the weather! All are welcome.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Morlaix at Twilight

Inspite of some heavy showers, 11 of us met at Morlaix for a twilight walk around the town centre. We were led by Sylvie - a fountain of information - who began by taking us up on to the 'first floor' of the viaduct. Once we had resumed normal breathing again ( there were loads of steps!!) she told us about the history of the town and we looked out over the spectacular views. The viaduct itself, built in granite, was started in 1861 . The foundations alone are 5 metres deep and it is 58 metres high. It has 9 arches and a length of 292 metres. After leaving the viaduct, we then walked downhill ( much to our relief! ) and Sylvie then took us around the town centre, pointing out buildings of interest. As we descended, we saw the lights of the train cross the top of the viaduct in the darkness. Inspite of the rain, a good time was had by all, and we finished a lovely evening with a coffee in a nearby cafe.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Morlaix walk this evening!

We have a walk at 8pm in Morlaix this evening, meeting by the tourist office between the bandstand and the viaduct. Some of us will be eating beforehand at a creperie nearby - meet at 6.15 by bandstand for that.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

More than twenty of us ( but no four legged friends today!) met on the banks of the river 'Le Leguer', just below the remains of the Chateau Tonquedec for a nature walk led by Kristian. It was a very hot day, so the trees that shaded the path as it wound alongside the river, provided some welcome relief from the blazing sunshine. Kristian is very knoweldgeable about the area, and told us about the course of the river, the fish that can be found swimming in it and the history of the trees and mills that line the banks. He also told us about how the river is monitored to assess purity of the water. We stopped briefly for drinks and delicious cakes made by Gloria and Howard before an uphill climb, then much to everyone's relief, it was back downhill and a gentle ramble back along the river bank to the cars.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Forest walking

Autumn is definitely in the air, and the best place for walking in autumn is probably one of the beautiful forests of Brittany. From the Forest of Fougères in the east to the Forest of Cranou in the west, there are many options to choose from. In most places you can keep to well-made paths, but there are also tiny unmarked tracks and steeper gradients for the more adventurous.
A recommendation: why not try a day out in the Foret de Paimpont, otherwise known as Broceliande, fabled forest of Arthurian legend (allegedly). Here there are more than twenty circuits, from a simple one hour stroll starting from the ancient abbey by the lake in Paimpont, to a more demanding 8kms in the ominously named Valley of No Return, leaving from the village of Tréhorenteuc. You can also see Merlin's tomb and the Fountain of Youth, and the strangely named megalith, Le Tombeau des Anglais.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hot walk!

On Tuesday, forty people and six dogs enjoyed some warm walking by the Nantes-Brest canal and along a Green Way just south of Carhaix. Thanks to Lesley for the photo, and to Julia, whose cakes were universally proclaimed as scrummy.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Walk tomorrow - Tues 18th August

We have a walk tomorrow near Carhaix, starting from the Pont Daoulas (3kms south of Carhaix, direction Motreff) on the Nantes-Brest canal at 2.30. About 8kms of towpath, old railway track and quiet roads. All welcome.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Best walk in Brittany?

BWs is often asked - what is the best walk in Brittany? I've covered more than 5000kms here, and still retain a personal top spot for the 10km circuit at the Chateau de Tonquedec for many reasons: but the most characteristic route including all that one instantly associates with Brittany must be the GR34 coastal path between Camaret and Morgat (c40kms). Here you have superb coastal views, ranging cliffs, vast beaches, harbours, megaliths, monuments, ancient and 20th century fortifications, notable geological features, varied flora and fauna, wilderness and pretty ports with excellent restaurants to start and finish. A gite d'étape at St-Hernot provides for an overnight stay, with a good meal and packed lunch provided if necessary. So, off you go.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Lehon, Dinan and Cheddar gorging!

On Tuesday 4th August, 13 keen walkers met at the pretty town of Lehon, just south of Dinan. Having meandered through the cobbled streets admiring the beautiful flower displays, Lesley and Denise then led us through the quiet streets on the outskirts of Dinan, up to the historic city centre. From the ramparts, we were able to see for miles across Port Dinan and the surrounding countryside. As we descended the long and steep cobbled path down from the old city to the Port, we truly appreciated the insider knowledge of Dinan that Lesley and Denise had used earlier to get us walking up to the high summit without realising! After a short stop and some local info from Lesley, we then walked briskly south on the path alongside the Rance estuary, keen to get back to Lehon for our picnics!
Fully revived, after our lunch beside the Abbaye at Lehon, we then set off in convoy for our final part of the day's outing. After a short drive south east, we arrived at Chapel Cheddar where Erica was waiting for us. Having lived in France for many years, she told us the entertaining story of how she came to be making cheddar (and other cheese) in France, and then talked us through the processes needed to produce her organic cheese. It sounded like very hard work and very labour intensive, however when we tasted the samples that she kindly provided, I think we were all agreed it was well worth the effort - delicious! We finished the day with juice and cakes before departing for home, keen to tuck into the cheese we had bought! I'm sure we won't be the only ones visiting her stall at Dinan market in the future!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Dinan walk and visit - Tuesday 4th August

Tomorrow we have a 6km walk starting from Lehon at 11am and going through the medieval town of Dinan before returning along the canal towpath. Bring a packed lunch: we'll eat in the pretty little bourg of Lehon with its famous abbey and ruined castle before a short drive to visit Erika, a cheddar cheese maker right here in Brittany. All welcome. Meet by the bridge in Lehon which is about 1.5kms south of Dinan.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


A great day under the sun! More than 50 people celebrated our annual association fete yesterday, enjoying an excellent lunch - thanks to members who provided superb food - and then a Morris dancing session thanks to Lesley. Joan and John's hospitality was as generous and efficient as ever. Thank you to Karen and Jude for their help, and everyone else who contributed to making the day such a success.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Members Party - this Friday

Look forward to seeing our dear members and their guests on Friday (details in your bulletin). Lesley is kindly offering another Morris dancing funshop after our lunch - please bring your own bells! Hoping for bright sunshine......

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Keltik Association Walk at Lannilis - Sunday 26th

There is a walk guided in English this Sunday, starting from Lannilis Tourist Office at 2pm. This is a reglar annual event in Abers country, with Guy explaining the history and legends of this coastal area in north Finistere. The cost is 3€ and further information can be found on 02 98 04 55 50 or 02 98 04 05 43. Reservations: keltikasso@yahoo.com

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Wet Tuesday prevents view of America

18 mad people enjoyed a very wet day in Pays Bigouden, and insisted on completing the full programme, plus an unscheduled lighthouse - despite the weather (admittedly it was either that or eat lettuce). We had a delicious lunch - al fresco pluvioso - thanks to everyone bringing along such nice things to eat. Even the dogs were thoughtfully provided with cheese sandwiches of home-made bread, courtesy of Barbara. We had a drink in a bar - scorning the wimpy indoor area and sitting outside (OK, under cover). And a drive-in cake and juice service was provided later in the afternoon - memorable contributions from Jean. All this, plus a good walk by the estuary, a famous historic spot, the oldest calvaire in Brittany, the Finistere archaeology museum, a lovely (saturated) beach, the Black Rocks at St-Guenolé with surging Atlantic ocean and the Phare Eckmuhl. Who cares about a bit of rain?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Outing - Pays Bigouden

We have a day out in Pays Bigouden on Tuesday 21st, meeting at 11 in Pont l'Abbe on the waterfront near the Bigouden memorial (photo). After an easy walk down the estuary and back, we'll move on (by car) to various significant spots, especially the magnificent Atlantic coast. Chaucer wrote about the 'black rocks of Penmarc'h' - here's your chance to see them. Bring food to share for picnic lunch. All welcome.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Once upon a cake......

A brave crowd turned out on a day of ominous weather, and the BWs luck almost held. We had only the odd light shower until near the end when it pelted down, but nothing to spoil a most beautiful walk along the river Scorff and through woodlands. Karen and Graham surpassed themselves with chocolate cake and flapjacks of supreme deliciousness. Great day - thanks to all who participated.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Walk at Gueméné - Tuesday 7th 2.30pm

We have a walk this Tuesday near Gueméné-sur-Scorff, at 2.30pm. We start from a small parking area about 350m along the D3 (direction Rostrenen) just outside Gueméné. There may not be room for everyone to park right there, so please allow time to find alternatives. This is a riverside and country walk, Level 2, generally suitable for all. After rain some short stretches may be muddy, but mostly the paths are good. Everyone welcome.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Cliffs of Plouha

If you enjoy coastal walking, have a go at the cliffs of Plouha (north of St-Brieuc), said to be the highest in Brittany (although they don't feel as vertiginous as the Crozon peninsula's steepest). Start from the delightful Palus Plage (in picture) and head north up the Cote de Goelo. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hot walk!

A hot time was had by all at Loqueffret yesterday, but a lovely walk with many things to see and some delicious cakes at the Presbytery, courtesy of Judith. Thanks to the usual Level 3 stalwarts and some delightful holiday-making guests! (Sorry picture taken before all had arrived!)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Walk on Tuesday 23rd - Loqueffret

We have a long walk (10kms) this Tuesday starting at 2.30pm from the church at Loqueffret (D14 west of Huelgoat). Fantastic views and scenery, with plenty of ups and downs (and one very muddy stretch) on the edge of the Monts d'Arrée. There will be a short break to see the remarkable church on the way at St-Herbot and refreshments at the Presbytery there. All welcome as ever, but please note that this is a Level 3 walk, so faster pace and a more demanding route than usual.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Lesley's view of our holiday

Wild orchids, rare butterflies, 'Mediterranean Blue' sea, ancient architecture. What more could one need to make a perfect holiday? Excellent company, of course. Many thanks Wendy, Joan, Monique, Barbara & Derek for making a great week perfect.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Something different

Something for those who like to listen to period music in appropriate settings. Members who came on the Quimper walk last year will remember the remarkable Romanesque church of Locmaria (above) near the river. If you are interested in hearing one of the greatest English composer's work performed here, the festival of "Purcell in Cornouaille" includes a concert in the church (on Friday June 26th at 8.30pm), which will also explore connections between Purcell and Gershwin.
There is another concert in the series at Ergue-Gaberic near Quimper on Tuesday June 30th at 8.30pm - a rare chance to hear the organ (see above) built by Englishman Thomas Dallam in the 17th century.
The artistic director of this project is Claude Hermann. For tickets and further information, phone 02 98 52 02 63.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Ile de Batz - what a fabulous day!

Blue sky and sea + sunshine + atmospheric island scenery + historical remains + beautiful gardens + all kinds of refreshments (including Sue's delicious cakes) = 26 happy people + 3 happy dogs.

Monday, June 8, 2009

From Monique's album

If you would like to see all Monique's excellent photos from our coastal walking holiday, just click on the following link: