This was the annual weekend of frenetic physical activity in the Monts d’Arrées – and we had forgotten about it when we planned a walk from St-Rivoal, desperate to be out on the hills again. Driving to St-Rivoal we noticed a number of cyclists on the road, quite common on Sundays in France, and in the hamlet there was a refreshment post, but the scale of the activities didn’t become apparent until we were under way…
St-Rivoal is a remote hilltop site which has been inhabited for hundreds, if not thousands of years and there is an interesting insight into its history here. We planned to follow a GR and just outside the village the GR led us into a beautiful green lane between two built-up soil banks filled with ferns and moss with a river on one side – really gorgeous.
Then the cyclists appeared, some of the 7,000 determined, manic cyclists who were apparently in the hills that day pedalling anything up to 120kms! The path quickly became a muddy, slippery, horrible mess and we changed our walk route as soon as we could!
At a small hamlet we turned left while the cyclists went right, and after a stretch on quiet roads, which were thankfully not muddy or running rivers, we plunged again into green lanes.
The wooded lanes led to a house in the valley with children playing in the garden alongside a quiet stream surrounded by beautiful ferns. It smelt damp, earthy, and old and was almost unreal. The path climbed out of the valley and another quiet country road led back into St Rivoal.
And so back in the village…
We had parked alongside the Church and popped in… It looked old but apparently dates from 1838-43 and I wonder if it was rebuilt on the site of an older building?