Saturday June 2 1984
Carhaix, Finistere, Brittany, France. 80 km Total 80km
Without breakfast, we are cycling by 8, due west along the coast to turn south and make for St. Thegonnec. We pass small fields, seemingly made of sand, smelling strongly of old sea, fields of big artichokes, friendly bonjours. Gradually the terrain changes to become more undulating more treed. St. Thegonnec is in our notes as having a good calvary, so we go to have a look. Really hungry by now, we buy two curranty brioches and go a convenient bar-tabac. It is also a beautiful one, with ivy growing up all three stories leaving only the windows. Two coffees later, at the fine carved church with elaborate calvary, a great organ plays softly while I admire a massive pulpit carved from the bole of a great oak, with no inch left uncarved.
Continuing into a remarkably strong headwind, the land becomes rolling with long and gradual hills up and down. At the top of the highest ridge of the day, some moorland is visible, but mostly we journey through woody green places. We follow a long D road marked as scenic for the whole of its length, and it proves to be very scenic. I notice that the verge side vegetation is very similar to that of an English Lane, – brambles, ferns, campions, speedwell, and look forward to the way it will change as we head south. The same will happen with the birdsong.
The wind makes the going hard, and, having now bought a Gaz carton, we head for Carhaix campsite, stopping short of the expected days mileage. The site is closed, but there some lads with cycles. We ask about water, they ask if we are English, and begin to find their English words. They offer to show us where we can get water, in the town. After a delicious supper of cheese experiments we walk down to the river, beneath a tall bluebell bank. There is a lovely green valley where a cuckoo calls, and woodpeckers occasionally hammer. We play on the swings and seesaws.