Sunday, June 07, 2015

Maen glas: a green and blue day

Walking around Locquirec today. I started in the very early morning at Moulin de la Rive, where some of the oldest rocks in France, a form of granitic gneiss, can be found at the western end of the beach. Continuing along the coast towards the town, the path around the Pointe du Chateau passes former quarries of Locquirec stone, a bluey-green schist (hence its Breton name maen glas) heavily exploited as a building material from the 17th to 20th centuries.

Rounding the promontory of Ile Blanche, the Roman baths at Hogolo are visible across the mouth of the Douron, and therefore in Cotes d'Armor. Instead I had a good look at the 17th century manor house which dominates the Finistère bank. This was purchased in 1903 by Eardley Norton, advocate of the Viceroy of India, but he soon tired of his wife's expensive parties and lavishly expansive schemes, and managed to off-load it to a religious order.

The cross-country section of my route, after the highlights of a beautiful country chapel with no access road and a gloriously verdant wooded valley, ran out of path in a large swamp and I was forced to change the plan and take small roads up over a hill before descending steeply on a green path with superb sea views to return to the car. Such a mixture of interest is typical of so many walks in Brittany, yet another reflection of the extraordinary natural and man-made heritage accessible within a relatively small space.

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