Brittany, Breizh, Bretagne, An Bhriotáin, whatever! Roscoff, Quimper, Brest, Roscoff
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.
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.
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,
and then on the D30 and D18 (all really the same road) to 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.
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.
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.