Brean Wreck

Last July we were lucky enough to get away to Somerset for a few days. Whilst walking on the beach at Brean I came across this old wreck in the sand.

Brean Wreck
Having taken the ‘obvious’ picture I thought it would be a good idea to go inside the opposite end of the wreck and take one looking up the beach, towards the dunes. So I walked down to the far end and stepped from the (very firm) sand of the beach...
The next thing I knew was that I was lying on my side in a layer of extremely soft mud holding my precious camera aloft. Luckily, my wife was persuaded to walk to the edge and reach across for my camera. The mud was only about knee deep, so I was never in real danger. The cleanup took quite a while!
Muddy!

West Coast Stories pt.1

In June of 2017 Mary and I decided to spend our holiday exploring some of the west coast of France.

We planned to take the ferry to Cherbourg and spend a few days near Bayeux, then travel south for a few days to the Loire Valley, and on into Charente-Maritime before following the coast north to Brittany.

The first few days were enjoyable as we settled into our holiday routine and took in the sights of the Normandy beaches and the Bayeux tapestry. Our first surprise came when we moved to the Loire Valley and visited Saumur.

Here, we accidentally found ourselves in the the Anjou Velo Vintage festival. There were hundreds of riders, in costume and all on bicycles from before 1987.

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There was a real party atmosphere - including the balloons.

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We visited chateaux, including Saumur (above) and Montsoreau (below).

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PF Peaceful Path-2
We found this lovely area of wild flowers behind the Chateau of Montsoreau.

See part two for our adventures when we moved south west to the Charente-Maritime.

West Coast Stories pt.2

Travelling south west to the Charente-Maritime. We arrived at the municipal campsite of Saujon, a town near Cognac. This was a good base for visiting the coast south of La Rochelle.

Exploring the area we drove through Cozes, on our way to the Gironde estuary and the small town of Meschers-sur-Gironde. Here, there are traditional fishing cabins along the shore.

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On other days we drove to La Isle de Olleron and La Rochelle.

Eccentricity

I found the the towns and villages along the coast, such as Chaillvette, Talmont and Royan more interesting.

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We had booked a visit to one of the most extraordinary places I’ve ever been to, but more of that in part three…

West Coast Stories pt.3

Having travelled to a site just outside St-Laurent-sur-Sèvre in the Vendée department. We visited Grande Parc Puy du Fou. It’s described as an historical theme park, but if you expect to find rides here you will be disappointed. What you will find is an absolute feast of amazing re-enactment.

I’m not going to list all of the attractions in the park. This link to their
Wikipedia page describes everything. Highlights for me were…

The Viking raid

Vikings

Le Bal des Oiseaux Fantômes

Birds

The Roman chariot race

Chariots

This was all more convincing than I had expected, in part because everything looked so authentic. The Roman arena was built in stone, for example.

On the following day we walked into St-Laurent-sur-Sèvre. The town is well known for the ancient church of St. Laurent, with a rather spooky calgary.

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On the day after that we travelled on to Brittany and what happened there is in part four.

West Coast Stories pt.4

We travelled to a campsite just outside Concarneau. This is a very picturesque part of France, with interesting fishing ports and pretty coves to explore.

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Concarneau is very ‘touristy’ but well worth a visit.

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We toured the area and enjoyed some really beautifully walks on the coastal paths.

The plan, was to travel north to one last campsite in Normandy. The plan was not to be!

In the final part of this account shows the value of being well insured.

West Coast Stories pt.5

We had planned to travel north from Concarneau, to a site near Pontorson, in Normandy. We were going to stay there for the last three nights of our holiday, crossing from Cherbourg on the Monday.

About an hour after we set out, our trusty Subaru developed a problem which resulted in our having stop and call for assistance. We had insured our trip with the Caravan Club’s Red Pennant travel insurance. By the time we’d had our lunch a recovery driver arrived with a truck that would carry our car and tow our caravan. After an hour's journey south (we
had been travelling north) we arrived at a ‘depanage’ depot at Vannes. We had no idea what would happen next but I received a call from Red Pennant and was told that we would be taken to an ‘approved’ campsite, and that our car would go to the nearest Subaru dealer, which was in Nantes, some seventy odd miles away!

As it happened the ‘approved’ site turned out to be Penboch, which is on the Golf du Morbihan, not far from Arradon. I should mention that this was on a Friday, which also happened to be Bastile Day, so there would be no news about our car until Monday at the earliest!
We arrived, with the caravan, on site at around 4pm and settled in, with no idea of how long we would be there.

The following morning we explored the campsite and immediate surrounding area. Well, if you
have to be stranded somewhere, you’d go a long way to find a better place than this. I had previously been unaware of the Golf du Morbihan, which is an enclosed bay dotted with islands and teeming with pleasure craft. It’s a real summer playground.

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We were without a car, but the three mile round trip to shops in Arradon (or four miles to the supermarket) was a very pleasant walk along the shore, but best done early as the weather was very hot. Whilst there we enjoyed some lovely walks along the coast and around the country lanes near the site. One day we will visit that area again.

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Our car was repaired by the Tuesday. The problem had been a split turbo induction manifold (replacement & fitting £176). We took a taxi to the dealer to collect it and were able to catch an evening ferry on Wednesday.

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We had enjoyed an extra two days in what was, for us, a previously undiscovered part of France. Red Pennant had made all the necessary arrangements, including changing the ferry booking, and covered the cost of the recovery, the campsite and the €200 taxi fare to Nantes. Their staff were friendly, reassuring, efficient and kept us informed as the situation unfolded.

What could have been a disaster, we look back on as a very enjoyable adventure. We had that Subaru Outback for over ten years and 100,000 miles. That was the only time it missed a beat.

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