2017 E5 walk, day 9: Skiriou to Saint-Rivoal
I woke to the sound of church bells: The church in nearby Brasparts was celebrating Easter. The bells seemed to go on for an hour or more, as I broke down my tent and got ready to go.
I still hadn’t seen the owners, so left money at their doorstep while I was getting ready to leave. As I was putting my backpack on, one of them hurried up, concerned that I’d paid something like 0.50€ too much, and insisted I wait while she counted out my change.1
The day was going to be a short one; a little bit further ahead was a regional park with no accomodations, so I was aiming just for the not-very-distant town of Saint-Rivoal, which had a gîte. I probably left the campsite around 11 AM, maybe a little earlier, and reached Saint-Rivoal a little after 2 PM.
It was a good thing that I arrived early: When I was finally able to contact somebody, I learned that the gîte had been completely booked, presumably for an Easter weekend thing. They helpfully suggested I try the next town over, Saint-Cadou. This was another hour or more away, but my only other option would be to walk another 20 miles to the next town, Huelgoat, which would have been ambitious for 3 PM.2
The hike wasn’t the most pleasant, perhaps because I’d been mentally prepared for a short day. Part of the way was along a somewhat major road, so I needed to step over to the shoulder every few minutes for passing cars. Once off the road, there were were also several fallen trees to scramble over or around.
Once I made it to Saint-Cadou, I found the Gîtes de l’école, a former schoolhouse, and knocked, only for the woman answering the door to tell me they weren’t yet open for the season. Then she asked me to wait, went inside, and came back out ten minutes later telling me they could give me a bed after all, but making sure I understood they wouldn’t be able to provide a breakfast or any other services.
I am still incredibly grateful for their kindness; this was not something they needed to do. (Much later on the walk, another owner declined to do so, which was disappointing but reasonable.) If they hadn’t, I probably would have had to camp along the side of the trail.
Around the corner from the gîte was the Irish-themed Pub Saint-Hubert, where I had a cozy dinner and cider, and then to bed.