Well, the days are certainly flying by….. The weather has been gloriously hot and sunny, and we’ve been trundling along in SOK, vaguely following the coast, and stopping off to look at things we come across along the way…..
After our last post, we carried on South to the Pointe de St Mathieu. There’s a ruined abbey here, built in stages between the 11th and 15th centuries, together with the obligatory lighthouse.
There was a community of monks at the abbey right up until the French Revolution. Interestingly, the monks used to keep a fire burning on top of a tower to warn passing ships. To fund this, they were entitled to a share of the salvage from ships that didn’t make it. Unsurprisingly, there were still plenty of shipwrecks, despite the monks’ best efforts (or despite the monks’ “best efforts” ? 😱).
Only 1958 km to Santiago de Compostela….. “km 0” could be quite depressing to anyone pulling on their hiking boots ready to set off 😵
There’s also a National Memorial to French mariners (originally for those killed in WW1 but now for all French mariners):
A bit further along the coast at the Pointe du Petit Minou we found another lighthouse and the (limited) remains of a Vauban fort dating back to 1697:
The beach (we parked in the beach car park) was where the first transatlantic telegraph cable joining France and the USA came ashore (1869 – only 3 years after the first durable transatlantic connection to the UK).
From here, we hit the main road around Brest. We decided not to visit the Presq’Île de Crozon this trip; as Mark said, our time is limited so we can’t go everywhere….. so we continued South off pages 30-31 of our map and onto pages 52-53…. After a very pleasant overnight stop at a place called Plonévez-Porzay, we turned West towards the Pointe du Van and the Pointe de Raz (which are in the top left corner of the second map below).
We found a couple of windmills just before the Pointe du Van:
“Oh no” cried Mark as we arrived at the Pointe du Van, “height barriers!”:
We needn’t have worried. This is France after all 😀. Of course they’d left an area for motorhomes:
There’s a nice coastal path here with views across to the Pointe du Raz and a church.
We’re not sure what this is. Mark reckons it’s for the vicar’s chien 🐕:
The Pointe du Raz was an altogether different experience. Why is it that “the end” of things become such tourist traps? Here they wanted 6 Euros 50 to park – so we didn’t ! Such a shame that we missed out on all the tat shops 😉
Our overnight stop was right down on the South coast near Loctudy. This was more like it – a grassy aire with just a large sand dune between us and the beach:
Mark wasted no time in winding out the sunshade – the first time it’s been used since we got SOK in late October:
On Friday we visited Concarneau. We had a walk round the ramparts of the walled town in the harbour and checked out the tourist shopping opportunities within (no purchase was made).
Wandering around the harbour we came across the Transat AG2R La Mondiale yacht race, which sets off from Concarneau on Sunday (22 April) and ends in St Barts in the Caribbean. The boats spend ten days in Concarneau (presumably for publicity purposes) before the race, and there was plenty going on. It’s a bi-annual race for pairs in Figaro-class yachts (all the boats did look exactly the same except for the colours).
This year there are 20 boats competing (we counted 18 in the harbour). It’s a long way to St Barts – 3890 nautical miles. The record time is 19 days 22 hours 24 minutes and 30 seconds, set in 2006.
Today’s stop has been at Pont Aven, a village famous for its links to Gauguin and other painters in the late 19th century. It’s a very pretty place, with a mill race running through the centre (the mills having been there long before the artists arrived).
Some real live artists behind Mark on the bridge (there is of course an art school for those who require the full Pont Aven experience…):
The place is full of shops aimed at tourists, from posh-looking art galleries right down to the many biscuit shops……
We’re now back at SOK on a very pleasant aire not far from the town centre. Mark has tested his purchase of the day and we have decided that the rest of the afternoon is to be spent dossing before moving on in the morning.
It’s a hard life……