2017 E5 walk, day 16: Gouarec to Beau Rivage

Section 4, Day 16
Beau Rivage
low 42 °F
high 67 °F
49,802 steps
19.3 miles

The trail climbed steeply as I left Gouarec, dove back down to canal-level, and then steeply back up again to run along a ridge covered with slate. This day turned out to be the most climbing I did (as measured by my phone) for the entire walk.

At the far left we see a bit of trail with gravel and slate, dropping immediately down to a steep slope covered with hand- or plate-sized chunks of slate.  One enterprising person has made a stack of slate chunks partway down the slope.  At some indeterminate distance downslope, it becomes tree-covered, rolling down to a valley and then back up the other side.
Shale covering the slope. Down below, you might barely be able to make out the canal.

The trail passed several ruined huts, made of stacks of thin slabs that looked suspiciously like slate. The story I told myself is that these huts belonged to slate miners, back in the day.

In a bright forest, a dirt trail heads to the northeast.  Alongside the trail are two or three huts made from thin slabs of stone.  Their doors and roofs are missing and vines are growing along the tops of the walls, but at least one has its chimney still easily-recognizable.
Not the only ruined huts I passed, just the most recognizable.

Further along the ridge, the trail passed several prehistoric barrows, from somewhere around 4000–2000 BCE. In French, they are allée couverte (literally “covered alley”); the English term is apparently “gallery grave”.

A row of large, crooked stone slabs, partially buried on end, is covered with more slabs, making a very low, long structure; it would barely be large enough to crawl through.  Grass leads to it, and beyond to the west is gorse and other brush.
No barrow-wights were observed.

Just to the east of the barrows, the trail forked. The best information I had was that the E5 left the GR 37 at this point, to follow the GR 341 for several days. The GR 341 wound down into a pretty gorge, before climbing up and then descending to the ruined Abbaye de Bon-Repos. (I ate a crêpe at the nearby gift shop.)

A large stone building stands with its corner pointing towards us, at some distance to the east-northeast, beyond a stone retaining wall and grassy lawn.  On second glance, the building does not look occupied; windows are empty, and some roofs are missing.
The very charismatic abbey.

At the abbey, the trail returned to the canal. The canal soon became the artificial Lac de Guerlédan, at which point the trail became difficult. The problem, I think, is that the trail hadn’t grown organically over hundreds of years of use. Instead, it ran more or less along the shore of the lake, which (being new and artificial) didn’t have an especially graceful shoreline. So the trail climbed up and down over the folds of the land, fairly relentlessly. This, at least as much as the slate ridge at the start of the day, contributed to the day’s record climbing.

Stone steps descend into a black cavern, steeply enough that a ladder is probably in place just beyond the edge.  The cavern is under a massive stone outcropping.  A single pipe railing offers some support to whoever might climb down.
I did pass this cave — an old slate mine — right alongside the trail. I decided against exploring.

I topped up my water at the little resort-like village of Beau Rivage, then headed inland to Camping du Lac. Of course I hadn’t called ahead, but the manager (I believe from Italy) let me in through the gate, and I found a small spot suitable for my tent.

Map of the day’s route.