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.