Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Colour blindness...a walk around Betz-le-Chateau

As you may already know,Pauline and I are working our way through the local 'Sentiers Pedestres' so we can recommend walking in our southerly part of Centre-Val de Loire (Loire Valley). To date we have been  met with unmarked routes,badly marked routes and at times a general lack of information. On Sunday we headed over to Betz-le-Chateau (which reassuringly has a chateau) to sample their local walk.

Along with our friend Dave we decided to choose the 12km 'variante'. On our leaflet map (as above) the markings (balisage) for the walks were yellow for the short walk and green for the two longer walks.
So we made our way to the carpark behind the fine church...

where, conveniently, the map for the walk is displayed. The leaflet says the walk starts 'centre-bourg' and the church of a village is always a good central point.

One side of the board shows all the walks in our part of Southern Touraine and the other side shows the local routes.

Both maps showed our route in blue (effect of the sun perhaps) but this was not a problem as it matched our leaflet plan.

:So all we had to do was find a green marker to get us started.

We  decided these were just put there to confuse us or perhaps they were something to do with one of the local events? (like the 'banana party')

Now,with hindsight, we should have followed the GRP markings (yellow and red) but faced with the choice of  that, the yellow which our leaflet is telling us is the short 3km walk or blue (maybe the sun hadn't had an effect!) we chose blue but as the cross indicated it wasn't this way!

We picked up another blue marking nearby and despite still not being certain decided to follow it.

Looking back towards the village

Looking back towards the village I was doubting our (my) choice but hey we were walking!

Our first which-way-now? moment was when we hit a main road and Pauline picked up on the fact that it was not the one it should have been! We were doing the 3km yellow (or is  that blue) walk!

So it was a case of back to town  past the chateau to try again!

This meant we had the climb back uphill to the village.

Been here before...follow the yellow brick road perhaps!

We decided to do the shorter part of the 'variante' which, added to the 3km we had already done, would give us a reasonable walk.

So it was back into the countryside again...on a well marked route.

We eventually crossed the main road we were looking for earlier!

The route has a smattering of etangs along the way as well as some other points of interest.

As we headed towards the 'Chemin de l'Eveque de Tours' (Way of the Bishop of Tours) through the forest I made an executive decision as that it was getting late and it looked like it might be dark before we finished, we should make another deviation and follow  the main road back to the village.

This took us past the 'Ferme du Bois Rouge' and its nearby restaurant where Dave and Hillary had sampled all things pork in the past.

Within 2km of the village my decision was proving to be a good one and we made it back to the village before sundown.

Interestingly the minute we stepped into the carpark the streetlamps came on to confirm the decision.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Walking and talking...

Pauline and I have decided to join the randonnee club over at Le Grand Pressigny to increase our walking opportunities. We did our first walk of this year's season with them on Thursday and very pleasant it was too!

The advantages of an organized club are that you are led by experienced walkers who can vary traditional routes without getting lost plus with this group there is the added advantage of being able to practice our French with our very patient walking companions.

The walk started at 'La Fontaine' between Le Grand Pressigny and Abilly and took us past the goats cheese farm we have walked by on a previous trek.

It was a lovely day for a walk and the company was good...we are already looking forward to the next one.

The 'source' at 'La Fontaine'

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Walking around La Celle Saint Avant...which way now?

Last Sunday's walk took us over to La Celle Saint Avant to follow (?) another of the 'Sentiers Pedestres' of Touraine Sud - 'Le Pont de Saint Jean' (10km). It was a bit  of a grey day and if I was to give some colour to the walk it would be gray also.The leaflet says the walk starts at the Salle des Fetes but the is no indication that there is a walk starting anywhere,no route map or markings. There was a map in the bus shelter confirming we were in fact in La Celle Saint Avant, so that was something I suppose!

I knew from the 'map' that we should head south down the main street but it wasn't long before we had to make a choice...right towards the railway line and the 'pont'.

Le Pont de Saint Jean couldn't be called the most attractive bridge in Southern Touraine but it still warrants an information plaque.

Once you pass under the bridge you almost immediately leave La Celle Saint Avant but which way? Surprisingly there was a yellow cross on the concrete post in the photograph (it was the first and last we would see on the walk) so it was a left turn past the silos.

Not the most promising of starts.

As we walked along the road it did not get much better with the holiday accommodation looking a little tired.

There was the odd glimmer of hope although I had to clamber over a ditch and hold the camera above a wire fence to get it!

Which way now? Fortunately we met a local couple who put us on the right path but did enquire as to why we wanted to go there!

There were a few 'plans d'eau' along the way that looked as if they would be ok in the height of summer.

One of the things I love about the French is their practical approach to situations and lifestyle - highlighted along the way by potholes being filled in by the excesses (oyster shells) of the holiday season passed.

Which way now?

Not this way says Pauline...

though I convinced her it was ok.

Another distraction.

We entered into some woodland that hat a pretty scary sign which at the time we did not recognise the meaning of, which Pauline found a little unsettling.

We now know we were being warned about 'traps' which had been set in the woods.

Which way now?

Or now?

Convinced Pauline I knew what I was doing with my map reading skills (?).

Catching sight of the tower of the silos helped confirm my earlier decisions as correct.

More scenery!

As we passed under the bridge again back into civilisation things got a little better.

Oh and we did eventually catch sight of a marking.

On the face of it La Celle Saint Avant does not have a lot to offer,certainly not a picturesque walk, apart from a locked church. The red light in this photograph might be symbolic...stop! don't go.

Although someone may know something we don't!