A Walk Along the Valley of the Creuse

Studying the maps back at the gite, we noticed an interesting looking long distance path that performed several large loops around the valley- the Grand Randonee of the Valley of the Creuse. This path starts at Argenton-sur-Creuse and winds its way around the river down to Crozant, so walking part of it seemed like a plan for today.

We parked at the viewpoint looking over the Boucle de Pin- a large bend in the river- before dropping steeply down to the shore. The first part of the walk followed the river closely along a narrow rocky path that rollercoastered its way along the wooded shore, stepping over tree roots and at one point utilising a wooden staircase.

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Walking in France- La Brenne National Parc

Today we ventured into La Brenne National Parc, heading for the village of Rosnay- we were hoping to see some wildlife and were not disappointed when a pine marten ran out in front of the car before thinking better of it and doubling back.

We had a card detailing a number of walks, but as we are keen walkers and all we felt that they wouldn’t be long enough for us and extended the longest one by using a long-distance (Grand Randonee) trail that twists its way around La Brenne.

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Walking in France; Le Pont-Chretien-Chabanet

Knackered from travelling most of the day before and very little sleep on the overnight ferry due to losing an hour to the time difference and quite possibly drinking beer until 1:30am, we decided to make use of a card detailing a variety of walking routes we found in the gite.

Le Pont Chretien-Chabanet, where we were staying, is a lovely part of rural France, in the Indre Department near La Brenne National Parc- the ‘land of a thousand lakes’. Our gite was rustic but charming, part of a converted mill with its own balcony overlooking a stream.

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Race Report- the X-Runner Wild Warrior

I was out of control, sliding fast towards the murky water with no way of stopping or slowing down. With a huge splash, I was under- opening my eyes a little I could see nothing but dark brown. I could feel the water enter my nose and choking on it I started to feel disorientated. For a brief second I felt panic, but told myself to just relax and let myself float up to the surface. Eventually my head broke free and I started swimming to the muddy water’s edge, fingers trailing slimy weed with each stroke.

I was undertaking the X-runner Wild Warrior obstacle race- doing one of these bad boys has been on my bucket list for some time so when a work colleague started recruiting a team to tackle it I let myself be roped in.

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I’m Off to France!

The time has flown by since completing the Coast to Coast (did I mention that? 🙂 ) and we are just about entering Autumn… so we can look forward to dark nights, cold wet weather and copious amounts of mud…

But all’s not doom and gloom… I am about to embark on one last adventure before Autumn tightens its misty grip.

I am going to France! Helen and I are staying in a gite and plan on doing plenty of local walks. It won’t be mountainous where we’re going but I am sure it will be lovely.

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Coast to Coast- Equipment List

Equipment Carried

  • Osprey Rucksack (borrowed!)
  • 2 litre bladder
  • Pair of Komperdell trekking poles
  • GPS unit
  • Canon DSLR

Clothes

  • Merrell Capra Gore Tex Womens boots (I asked my sister to bring my walking shoes with them to Kirkby Stephen to give me the option of changing but decided to stick with the boots)
  • 4 pairs of Bridgdale walking socks, exchanged for another 4 at Kirkby Stephen
  • 2 pairs of Go Outdoors convertible walking trousers, exchanged for another 2 at Kirkby Stephen

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Coast to Coast- Thoughts in Conclusion

The Walk
… was fantastic. It was so varied- I walked across mountains, moorland, flat farm land, through pretty villages, past ancient monuments and along the coast. There was something of interest or some superb scenery every day. I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone but with a caveat- doing the Coast to Coast as your first long distance walk may raise your expectations so that your enjoyment of other walks is slightly spoilt!

I never realised just how many lovely areas there are for walking in the north of England and would love to go back to places like the Howgills, Pennines and the Yorkshire Dales to explore them further.

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Once again I woke to rain, and hoped it would clear. I had breakfast with the other couple round the big farm table and we discussed the price of wool with Judith, as you do; it appears that imports of cheap foreign wool have hit UK sheep farmers hard and some years that are lucky to break even after shearing costs. I also learnt that it takes approximately five minutes to shear each sheep- the actual shearing can be done in around one and a half minutes, catching and ‘setting up’ the sheep takes the rest of the time. Judith described stuffing the boots of blistered walkers with wool to get them to Robin Hood’s Bay and we felt that there could well be a market for this!

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I woke to the depressing sound of rain against my window and as I gathered my stuff together and went down for breakfast felt really tired, and my feet were aching again. I had fresh blisters which I dressed with compeed; although I had a shorter day today I still had 18 miles to cover and wasn’t particularly relishing it. In fact walking was the last thing I felt like doing!

Everyone at breakfast was a Coast to Coaster, mainly Australian, and it was good to have people to chat with again. I reluctantly left the pub and walked up the road in the rain towards Fat Betty, a squat stone round topped cross half painted white. It is a tradition that walkers leave and take a food offering so I swapped some flapack for a packet of crisps.

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I woke feeling better than I had for a few days, and although I had a 21 mile day ahead of me it was nice to linger over breakfast with Helen. She walked the first bit of the route with me towards Arncliffe Woods, then, purchasing a large flapjack from an honesty box, I disappeared into the woods whilst she made her way back to the inn and her motorbike.

After the first steep climb to there is a wide-reaching view back across the Vale of Mowbray towards Richmond, the hazy blue outline of the Dales just visible beyond.

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