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Cycle camping: day 5 - John C. Kirk

Jul. 8th, 2010

11:00 pm - Cycle camping: day 5

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I went on a cycle camping holiday in Brittany from 3rd July to 10th July (via Breton Bikes). I'm backdating my blog posts for each day, based on notes I made at the time.

I left Guemene at 10:30, heading south. At 11:15 I stopped off at a pub, and when I got back on the bike afterwards my watch beeped at me: it only had 4h30m of memory left. I'd been worried about the GPS battery, but this issue hadn't occurred to me. Normally I synch the watch with my computer every day, then delete the exercises from the watch. Sometimes I go a couple of days without synching, but I've never come anywhere near memory capacity before. It makes sense that there is an upper limit, but it's a nuisance. Obviously I wouldn't have enough memory left for the rest of the holiday, so I decided to keep the first (6 day) route intact, and then keep deleting the most recent exercise for the second route. When I do LEJOG, I'll be away for even longer, so I'll need to take my netbook with me; that way I can synch the watch along the way. Hopefully there's some way to merge the records between two computers, but I'll need to investigate that. Also, I'll hopefully find somewhere to recharge the netbook batteries! If I stay in B&Bs (rather than camping) then that should be ok. It's extra weight, which is a nuisance, but such is life.

I reached Plouay at 12:30, which was roughly the end of day 2 of the route; there wasn't much point in going to the campsite then back to the centre of town. I stopped there for lunch, then pushed on for day 3: I left Plouay at 13:10 and reached Lorient at 15:40. So, I'd now gone coast to coast! I left the north coast of Brittany (L'Arcouest) on Tuesday morning, and reached the south coast (Lorient) on Thursday evening.

When I entered Lorient, I saw my first McDonalds of the holiday; they still use Ronald McDonald as a mascot, which I haven't seen in England for several years. Anyway, I didn't go in; I also avoided the Lidl. Still, that gives some idea of what the town is like: far less rural than the other places I cycled through.

I caught the 16:00 ferry, which reached the Isle de Groix at 17:00. Unfortunately, I then realised that I'd messed up, and specified 16:00 for the return trip as well. I went along to the ticket office on the island, and asked whether I could exchange the ticket, but the lady on duty told me to come back in the morning.

Despite the "Island of Adventure" nickname, it's actually very tranquil there. I went to Camping Des Sables Rouges, although I had a bit of trouble finding it. Most of the campsites have their names painted on the road, a bit like lane markings in England, then you just follow the arrows. However, I didn't see any for this campsite; the only marker I found was painted on a stone about 200m from the campsite, and that arrow was pointing in the wrong direction! Anyway, I had a map from the tourist office, so I found the right place in the end. I arrived at 18:30, and I'd pitched the tent and unpacked by 19:00.

This was the most expensive place I stayed in all week: €11.20 for the night (€5.10 for me, €5.60 for the pitch, and €0.40 for tax). However, they did have nice facilities, including a private beach. When I arrived, I saw a few people wandering back in swimsuits, but by the time I went down it was deserted. The beach had some sand, but also a lot of big/flat rocks. As I approached, I saw a rabbit hopping around, which was quite cute! I still had half of my wine left over from the previous day, which I'd been carrying in my panniers, so I put it in the sea to cool down. However, it turns out that keeping something cool is easier than making it cool, so this took a while; also, it was a bit tricky to find somewhere that the bottle would stay put, rather than drifting in and out with the tide. After about 45 minutes it was good enough to drink, although probably not at its best, so I had that with some bread and cheese for dinner.

Distance cycled: 63.0km.