Pontivy to La Chappelle-Caro
Off just after 8 with a breakfast baguette and cheese hidden in my pannier. The hotel was right next to the canal so I was quickly on my way.
The section from Pontivy to Rohan was the prettiest of the canal sections so far. A bit more up than down but the path was dry and in great condition and the motor on the bike was there when needed. Most of the time yesterday the power was off and that is the plan for today too.
After much deliberation, I have awarded ecluse of the canal to:
On the edge of the forest, a run of locks before and after it and a cheeky look of neglect.
I stopped here for a drink and put my feet up for half an hour. In that time I didn’t see a soul. This is not a busy place at this time of year.
Shortly before Rohan I rounded a bend where the road ran alongside the towpath. A young lady, in what looked like swimwear, was sitting by the roadside reading next to a large blue van. She waved at me and I gaily waved back as I headed towards the town. Perhaps she wanted to chat but I had to get on. Another 70 kms on the itinerary for today so no time to dawdle.
The etiquette for towpaths conversation is interesting. All cyclists will say bonjour or bon route unless they are road cyclists in Lycra in which case they tend to just stare straight ahead. Almost all walkers will say “bon courage” if you are carrying panniers and runners are too breathless to say anything! Fishermen will sometimes raise a hand but are just as likely to turn away. It’s just like being in Yorkshire! A solitary sport for solitary people.
Rohan was a fine spot. A great little quay by the canal and evidence of the first navigable section to come. I stopped for water and the baguette at the quayside and scoffed a Mars bar bought at the first canal side shop I have found all the way from Carhaix.
After lunch the section from Rohan to Josselin. The canal broadened, the flora was more cow parsley and clover than Iris flags and it was altogether a bit drab compared to the morning’s ride. Long straight runs with fewer locks, today was taking its toll on the knees so time to power up! There’re were one or two stunning stretches lined with Plane Trees as I approached Josselin and the interest was kept up by the first few canal cruisers heading up towards Rohan.
By now I needed music to keep me going and so the IPod was deployed and I worked my way through the “old people” playlist so thoughtfully prepared by Lucy. Thanks Lucy. You will be old too one day!
A second detour because of damage to the towpath caused by the February floods forced me on to the Voie Verte but luck was on my side and the route took me into La Chappelle-Caro where I am staying for the night.
Mine host took one look and poured me a pression! Now that’s customer service!