Saturday, 31 December 2016

Thoughts on another year gone by

The tides of time cannot be held
As another year slips through our hands
Invincibility we once thought we had
Now seems lost by years, just grains of sand

They say with age comes wisdom
But it also steals our past
But hold on to your fond memories
Steadfastly built to last

In a year of big decisions made
No matter right or wrong
Our children’s future must be assured
To them it does belong

Time taking people that you love
Is so hard to comprehend
But as life has its beginning
It sadly has its end

Its now time to look ahead, not back
Although many thanks are due
To family and dear friends of ours
Who helped see the last year through.

Thank you!

Jim Craig

Thursday, 29 December 2016

If at first...more confusion

Following on from my last post and for the sake of other walkers we were determined to suss out the actual route of the Barrou 'Sentiers Pedestres'. This time (yesterday)  we thought we would do the sensible things, like taking the map and going in the right direction!

Leave village from the square and head along Rue de la Mairie past the church...

Continue along Chemin des Magnis...

uphill into the countryside.

This is how sunny it was!

The map suggests you stop and take in the 'panorama' and view the nearby chateau de la Guerche which you can just about make out in the distance...let me zoom in...

- bit better.

Continue uphill into the wood...

where you see the reassuring (and freshly painted) marker for the 'Balisage GRP' route but no single yellow line for the simple 'Balisage -circuits communaux' but lets assume the sign is for both.

Further along you are given further reassurance...

but this time for both though the GRP again freshly painted...perhaps the responsibility for both does not fall to one organization.

You eventually arrive at 'le Rond des Allais' where no less than seven 'cuts' through the woods meet, so your next choice of direction is fairly problem again for the GRP route...take a left turn - but for us?

Well the 'mauvaise direction' crosses...

and barriers help a little in theory narrowing our choice down to two, continue on the GRP route or take a sharp right back on yourself which is what the map indicates but there is no yellow marker that we could see to guide you.

Now I knew (Pauline was not so sure) not to head along the GRP route but others standing with such a choice might be less sure and should they venture down that route a very short distance they would find what they would think was some reassurance in the form of this yellow single arrow encouraging them to continue...wrong!!

Walking along the correct 'cut' we could see no markers, which for first-time walkers on the path would be a little disconcerting!

They would be further confused on arriving at the barrier at the end of the cut as you are met with a right or left choice and the fact that they seem to have joined a new GRP route!

This is not helped by this collection! Which way now? The faint yellow arrow under the two(?) GRP markings suggests a right turn but wrong again!!

Map indicates its left and eventually it's confirmed by a single yellow marker.

Another good indicator for the first-time walker would be recognising 'le Gaudiau' as indicated on the map - even though its spelt differently on the place name!

This wasn't a problem for us as we were back on a road we had trod a few times this week already.

The map indicates a right turn of the road slightly after 'le Gaudiau' (or Gaudyau) and before the woods on your right but surprise surprise the only thing that looked like access had an 'electric fence' strung across it!
Now we knew that by turning right further down the road along the lane to 'Les Divards' we would pick up the route again.

This route is one we often take as an alternative 'short walk' over to 'la Bellevue' (see map) and down the road past the cemetery back to the village.It means you have to pass the property at Les Divards,taking a right turn and pass through what seems like the owners garden, which puts some people off continuing the walk I'm sure. This walk actually has you turning left down a not very obvious (and unmarked) lane.

One that Pauline was not happy taking!

You end up in open country with good views of the Creuse Valley


The path (unmarked) takes you up behind  'la Lombarderie'..

Before arriving back on to 'la Bellevue' road and back down to the village.

Here is the map showing our deviation...even for us 'locals' the route has proven to be a bit of a challenge but for tourists and first-timers??

Future guests...don't worry we'll keep you right!

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Walking a marked route...

Pauline and I headed for the hills behind Barrou again yesterday to 'clear off the cobwebs'. We were,in theory, following the 'Sentiers Pedesttres' one of the marked walks you can pick up locally from the tourist office for Touraine.

We have been doing this route (with variations) for the last couple of walks but we decided this time to try and do the complete walk as per the brochure,although back to front (don't ask).

Our plan didn't last long however as when we approached the cemetery there was,sadly, a funeral cortege walking the route we intended to it was back to variations - up the hill to 'La Touche'. We knew we could pick up the 'official' walk again further along this road.  

This is the point on the route we have christened 'the argument' as it is the point we arrived at last time before Pauline doubted my navigation/geography skills (how could she!) such that it meant us turning around and heading back down the road to allow me to prove a point (only because she was sure she was right - she wasn't); it is actually called 'Le Chêne Charpentier'. We had by this time picked the freshly painted red and yellow route markers.

After a short distance however they wanted us to take a right turn towards Chambon which Pauline understandably wanted to take as there did not appear to be an option to go the other way, although there was no yellow cross telling us not to! I didn't fancy a longer walk so convinced her to carry on and try and pick up the 'yellow only' marked trail. As we had walked a reasonable distance without seeing a marker my sense if direction (?) took over and we made a sharp left into the woods.I recalled walking this road many years ago and ending up a few kilometres from Le Grand Pressigny on the Chaumussay road - only to have to turn around and walk back again, in the dark!

There are alleyways cut through the forests here but this one may also have taken us to Le Grand Pressigny, so another sharp left was required - although Mrs Craig wasn't happy and wanted to turn and go back the way we came.  Where was her spirit of adventure? - although I should probably have brought the map - as she reminded me ( a few times).


My sense of direction proved right and we eventually found our way back on to the road back down to the cemetery and on to the village.

This view of the village shows the village of Maire popping up on the other side of the river Creuse.