After a hearty, carbohydrate-ridden breakfast, we said emotional farewells to our families and set off on our journey. A few of our neighbours were also there to wave us off and as we cycled out of the village, there were more "goodbyes" coupled with bells, party-poppers and even a bit of Morris dancing thrown in for good measure (much appreciated Kate!)
The cycle down to Plymouth was relatively straightforward. In typically overcast and drizzly conditions, the inclines were not too taxing and the distance of 70km didn't pose too much of a challenge, especially as we'd allowed ourselves 12 hours before our ferry was due to embark! (in fact the most troublesome incident arose when Ashley cut his tongue on a sherbet lemon...'Nuffield said!). Our final farewells were reserved for Plymouth, where our wonderful friends Ash and Justin treated us to coffees and burgers from Cap'n Jacks as well as ensuring that any remaining space in our panniers was stuffed with chocolate bars and fudge!
So, we had arrived in France and were on our way! The countryside around Roscoff was very pretty. It reminded me in many ways of Cornwall, although it had the distinct smell of cabbage which was unexpected, but apparently brassica growing is big business here! After a reasonably gentle ride, Our first stop was Morlaix, where we enjoyed a lunch of baguette and cheese (well, what else?!) outside the Hotel de Ville. After lunch, we continued to Carhaix (we cycled along the D769 for the majority of the way before picking up the old railway line which runs the entire distance from Morlaix. To be honest though, the road was smoother, easier cycling. We picked up the Brest- Nantes canal at Carhaix and cycled a little further before finding a suitably secluded spot to pitch our tent.
The three nights of consecutive wild camping were interesting! We had no trouble finding suitable spots to pitch the tent (on the third night we couldn't even be bothered to put up the tent and simply slept under the stars!). Spring has not yet arrived and having to crack the ice on the canal in order to get some water for a morning body wash was a bracing and not very pleasant reminder of that!
There have been very few problems or incidents so far, you'll be glad to hear! I have, however managed to fall off my bike twice: once after introducing my shoulder to a tree when attempting to navigate a chicane too quickly on the canal path and the second time after getting my front wheel caught in the tram line when entering Nantes! Other random stuff: Carmex has proved invaluable to protect lips from the icy, easterly winds and our Buff headgear has protected our ears! The bikes have been behaving themselves and, aside from a few tweaks to the saddles, there is no news to report on that front!
We join Eurovelo 6 this afternoon and the second stage of our French adventure begins!
Much love and hugs to you all.