29 August 2016, Chepstow
Me, PG, Kate Force One, Magic Dave
A post-holiday six miler and return to the Mullett, oh the joy! From a carpark outside Chepstow, a stiff ascent of the 365 steps, then a circuit taking in incredible views over the Wye Valley and Severn Estuary, both bridges on the horizon.
The weather was very hot, and the route was tough enough to satisfy Kate Force One’s need for walk-based training. The countryside was beautiful: lots of classic rolling hills, wild hedges and blue skies with fluffy clouds. We enjoyed a food break in the church field at Penterry, learning about some of the village’s darker history.
Highlight without a doubt was being stalked across a field by a few (what is the collective noun?) buzzards- one in particular flying slowly around us at not much height. Majestic.
Good to return to the Mullett after a considerable break, he never disappoints. An interesting walk and only the one obligatory section of misleading directions which left us facing a field of head-high corn…
Finished off with a drink by Tintern Abbey, watching a bushful of sparrows getting on with their fluff and feather business right there in the pub garden. Ace.
20- 27 August 2016, Plouguenast
Me, PG, Kate Force One, Magic Dave, Mother-of-Two, Two, Slide and the Faringdon Archaeologists (x4)
On both counts, extremely successful- not a tarp in sight and glorious sunshine. Not very much in the way of walking really, but we milled around the Breton countryside, meeting local wildlife (cats, cows, chickens, not as many fish as PG and Slide would have liked, at least one more wasp than KF1 would have liked, ouch), and strolled on various lovely beaches. Embarrassed myself with my weird French/ Spanish/ Italian hybrid non-language skills.
A goodly amount of ancient entertainment was achieved, including the astonishing stone rows at Carnac. We learnt quite alot one way or the other about Duchess Anne, champion of Brittany and married to not one, but two French kings (not at the same time we assume). And the de Rohans with their beautiful chateau at Josselin, adorned with their uncompromising motto, A PLUS. And their ancestor, son of a lady pirate who murdered her husband (‘bad childhood’ said the guide) with an even more direct motto: I do what I wish. We see what it took to become the grand fromage in early medieval Brittany.
Beaucoup de grand fromage was consumed by ourselves of course, with mountains of barbecue, booze, baguettes and some fabulous homemade madeleines. Best meal of the week undoubtedly at The Magic Cauldron in Moncontour- unbelievably tasty food, hippocras and medieval hats. Unbeatable.
Best of all, as always, fine conversation, comedy and companionship. Turns out that fun can be had without a tarp. None better, indeed.