2017 E5 walk, day 14: Carhaix-Plouguer to Glomel

Section 4, Day 14
low 33 °F
high 66 °F
52,321 steps
23.4 miles

Over breakfast, the owners suggested grocery stores I could visit up in Carhaix-Plouguer, and I thanked them again and departed.

Here, I did a kind of silly thing. Imagine, if you will, a triangle. The base of the triangle is the canal. The bottom left vertex is where the GR 37 left the canal to go up to Carhaix-Plouguer (the top vertex), and the bottom right vertex is where I stayed. The previous day, if you recall, I’d veered from the trail to go straight along the canal to my destination. This meant there was a stretch of the trail (up to Carhaix-Plouguer and back down) that I hadn’t walked. So, I walked back along the canal to where I’d diverged from the trail, then followed the trail up into town. I did my shopping (groceries, plus a trip to the pharmacy for a critically-important tube of hand lotion), then continued down the trail … to basically where I had started four hours earlier.

In a small grassy field, beyond a wire fence to the west-norhtwest, several grey donkeys (four dark, three pale) are grazing.  Trees and large bushes define the far border of the field.  Beyond is a gradual hillside with scattered trees.
Revisiting les ânes from the previous night.

Most of this day was along the Nantes–Brest Canal. The GR 37 went on the canal-side paths, which unfortunately were paved. But I love being near water, and the day was quite peaceful.

A packed-gravel trail runs from the bottom of the photo to the right side; on the far side of the trail, to the southeast, is a two-story stone house with a peaked roof and dormers, and a smaller matching addition on either end.  A climbing vine frames the door, and a short bush partially screens the window of the near addition.  Several feet of stone slabs fill the space between the trail and house.
I passed dozens of locks, each of which had a lockkeeper’s house like this one. (I gather that most locks aren’t actively maintained and used.)

Other than the locks, and the obviously-artificial shape of the canal itself, there were very few signs of habitation; any settlements were generally some distance away.

Looking south across the canal, a tall tree has fallen; its lower 20′ rest on the grassy far bank, and its upper 10–15′ dip in the canal.  Other trees, perhaps not quite so tall, stand along the bank, and more can be seen beyond.  Tall leaves of water plants grow on the near side of the canal.
Trees fallen into the canal served as further signs of Tempête Zeus.

Towards the end of the day, I entered la Grande Tranchée (“the big trench”), where the canal had been dug through a high point.

The canal runs straight as an arrow ahead to the east-northeast, with the trail directly alongside.  On the other side of the trail is a steep, wooded slope, with the trees casting shade on the trail.  The far side of the canal has a similar wooded slope; its banks are overgrown with brush.
La Grande Tranchée felt almost claustrophobic compared to the other stretches of the canal I’d walked to this point.

Then the trail left the canal, and I climbed up out of the gulch and walked south to the town of Glomel. Just beyond Glomel was Étang du Corong (“Lake Corong”, but I don’t know what Corong refers to), an artificial lake, the trail following its shore. (There were dozens of fishermen with elaborate setups; apparently there was a fishing tournament that weekend.) Just a few minutes’ walk brought me to Glomel’s municipal campground, which was simple, but right on the shore of the lake.

In a grassy field sits a tent, entirely covered by a grey rainfly but for a small opening.  Trees behind it to the southwest shade it, along with most of the field.
Set in the evening shade.
Map of the day’s route.