Brittany, Breizh, Bretagne, An Bhriotáin, whatever! Roscoff, Quimper, Brest, Roscoff

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I'd been cycling in Brittany in the past, perhaps eight or nine times. My friend Mick Lehane had only been there once and twisted my arm for a late autumn tour as he hadn't been touring this year, so the Cork-Roscoff ferry was booked and off we went.

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The wonderful view of Cobh and its cathedral from the water.

Ferry is a stress-free way of travelling up to a point and that point is that the cabins on ferries were built for vertically unchallenged folk with no luggage. Anyway we put up with the squash and the squeeze, had dinner on the ferry with a buffet starter which was excellent and main courses and desserts, again a buffet. It was fine and we had, for a change a white wine, a rather stunning Riesling from Alsace. Arose at 6am French time and breakfasted and away we went about 7.15. Roads dark but we both had lights and reflective gear. I'd designed the whole route as GPS tracks for my new Garmin 62st, and apart from one or two unsurfaced roads I'd managed to select (we avoided them) it was rather top hole navigational affair all told. The morning was moist but very mild, as it was to stay throughout.

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Michael enjoying the moisture.

Coldest temperature I recorded on my comprehensive instrument panel was 14C and the highest 23C. We basically went down the D69 (quiet on a Sunday morning) and popped into Lampaul Guimiliau to see its famous church which we'd seen before,

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and then on the D30 and D18 (all really the same road) to Le Faou.

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Le Faou

We'd diverted in Sizun for coffee and so sooner were we served, having bought cakes in a nearby patisserie (that is normal in France) than no less than 50 English cyclists arrived, but not all at once. One chap had a Thorn Audax but I raised him my Thorn Raven with its Rolex hub and he wouldn't see my cards!

At Le Faou I told Mick that we must have lunch here as there was no prospect of lunch later on. I'd done this route before. He gave me the "I am not hungry speech" and I countered with my "remember the time on the La Rochelle Carcassonne tour that none of you would eat when I asked you to because you weren't hungry and we all managed to get some ice-cream towards 5pm, fainting with hunger" speech. My speech won. We had lunch.

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The weather continued damp and we headed onto the Crozon peninsula.

The entrance to this features a view of the sea with a wooded slope, some old warships at anchor and a big new fancy bridge alongside the old one which was there 6 and 17 years previously when I and Mary had done this tour.

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Impressive views. We then continued on the featureless road to Crozon and headed north around the Pointe des Espagnols where you get a great view of the Rade de Brest. This was misty but wonderful.

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10 comments on “Brittany, Breizh, Bretagne, An Bhriotáin, whatever! Roscoff, Quimper, Brest, Roscoff”

  1. Hilary wrote:

    Wonderful pics as always Garry.
    I've got unfinished business with that part of Brittany – that was the trip that was abandoned when Dennis' moped packed up. Moral – don't go cycle touring with someone on a moped!

    Jetboil (my latest stove, I have about 10) was really good.

    LOL Its my latest of about 10 too! Glad to hear it performed well, I've hardly used mine, I must dig it out altho a shiny blue bike with matching shiny blue stove could be a bit much even for me! :)

  2. Garry wrote:

    Mine is royal blue as well. My friend Mike Harris, who is set in his ways thinks that a bike should be red or black, not blue. Several of us have at least one blue bike and we poke endless fun at him over it. The blue stove would be the stove de grace!

  3. Mary wrote:

    What a fabulous tour Garry. I would LOVE to tour Brittany/France, every account of it, I have read/heard about has been positive.

    As usual your pictures taken along your ride are calendar quality! Love the green three wheeler car or is it a trike? I can fully empathise with your poor sleeping, I can never sleep when I am away from home either, the slightest sound wakens me.

  4. Garry Lee wrote:

    It's a three wheeler car. Brittany is not all beautful but in a way that's an advantage as you don't get scenery fatigue as you do in places that are all beautiful. The coast east of Roscoff as far as Paimpol is sensational. It has this marvellous pink granite. The first time you see it it'll amaze you, but I've seen it about 7 times. If you do a bit of research there are some lovely little towns inland, like Moncontour which we visited on our first ever Breton tour. St.Malo is fabulous, as are Dinan and Dinard, but I've not visited the latter two. Another fab place is the Phare du Paon on the Ile de Brehat. A Frenchman told me about it. I've seen it three times. Another lovely tour to do is a tour of the Parish Closes, of which Guimiliau and Lampaul-Guimiliau are the most famous, but there are loads of them. These are churches with churchyards and ossuaries.

  5. Kern wrote:

    Two great bottles of Alsatian Resiling, two good bottles of Cotes du Rhones, Mary's fruitcake and who knows what other treats in between – it has all the makings of a great tour. The weather at the start looks decidely Irish, i.e. "soft" :).

    How are the hills in Brittany? We're fishing around for a tour location for next year. I should get a map.

  6. Garry Lee wrote:

    It's very hilly but the hills aren't that steep. Very much rolling. Was in my lowest gear just once on a switchback. But you can see that the hills mounted up most days. It's not as pretty as Ireland or Scotland generally but has some fab places. There are also some dull boring bits.

  7. Mary wrote:

    "There are also some dull boring bits."

    All made the better for all that fab French food and wine though....

    I always thought Brittany was a bit like Norfolk and Suffolk in the UK as a hillyness comparison, it is a bit hillier then?

  8. Garry Lee wrote:

    Yes, it's pretty hilly. Not as hilly as the Peak District or the Yorkshire Dales but distinctly lacking in flat. You would need a triple there.

  9. Chris wrote:

    Lovely pictures as always, Garry. How incongruous is that Pirates of the Caribbean pin ball machine?

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