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2017 E5 walk, day 20: Gueltas to Chapelle Saint-Maudan

Section 5, Day 20
Gueltas
2°47′24.0″W
48°5′6.6″N
Chapelle Saint-Maudan
2°42′13.1″W
48°1′33.7″N
low 32 °F
high 53 °F
33,314 steps
13.0 miles

After a lovely breakfast, including Marie-Thérese’s homemade pear/walnut jam (!), I headed out for a relatively short day.

The first part of the day headed south and then east through farmland, reaching the canal by late morning. This stretch of the canal apparently handled a bit of river traffic — there were several boats moored near the town of Rohan, where I stopped before noon for supplies.1

We are looking northeast at a very tall stone chapel — it’s perhaps 60–70′ long, and seems almost that tall.  A large and a smaller door enter from a porch several steps up from the surrounding lawn, and two stained-glass windows presumably shine light inside.
This sturdy chapel, Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Bonne-Encontre, sat just across the canal from Rohan.

After Rohan, the trail left the canal for farmland again.

At the edge of a field to the southwest stand two cows, one black with white patches, the other white with black.  The appear moderately interested in the camera.  Some distance further back in the field, the rest of the herd is resting on the ground.  Clouds dominate the sky above, with occasional patches of blue sky.
I saw cows like this all over Brittany. Turns out they’re an award-winning local breed, the Bretonne Pie Noir.
The trail here is a dirt-and-grass road heading southeast between two well-groomed farm fields.  Twin rows of trees line the trail to either side, and a row of trees is visible in the far distance.
A short while later, there was a little thunder and a brief shower as I walked through these trees, but again no recorded rainfall.

Before returning to the canal, the trail passed the Abbaye Notre-Dame de Timadeuc, a Trappist abbey that’s apparently still in active use. I heard bells inside as I passed.

A stone building, one story plus a peaked roof, stretches the width of the photo.  In the center is a taller tower or gatehouse, with an arched gate in the middle leading through southeast to perhaps a courtyard; on top of this is a small cross.  A drive paved drive leads to the gate from the road in front.  Two large trees and a lawn fill the space between road and building.  The sky above is pale grey.
The charismatic entry to the abbey.

After a brief stretch along the canal, the trail headed up the slope to parallel it a little further. I then left the trail at Chapelle Saint-Maudan, a lieu-dit — a “spoken place”, a location with a name.2 From there I headed up to the farmlands above, where I was staying for the night.

In front of a hedge, a flag flies from the top of a pole, in the rough pattern of the American flag.  Nine stripes alternate black and white, and the white field in the corner has eleven identical small shapes, resembling a black triangle with three dots at the top point (“sable, four bars argent, a canton ermine&rdquo).  Behind the hedge to the northeast are a house and some trees; the sky above is blue, with a few clouds in the distance.
I’d been seeing the Breton flag along my entire walk, though it was becoming less frequent as I made my way east. Marie-Thérese had told me the night before that it’s called the Gwenn ha Du — white and black. (The heraldic ermine has been associated with Brittany for over a thousand years.)

I stayed for the night at la Ferme d’Accueil d’Arné (roughly, Farm of Welcome, or maybe Homey Farm), in the settlement of Arné. I arrived well before they opened for guests, so killed an hour or so by walking around the area, making a circuit of nearby settlements — Cliviry, Beaulieu, and la Ville Samson.

Once I officially arrived, I was made welcome by the manager, who made sure the wood-burning stove was well-supplied. I met the farm’s cats and chickens, and made a simple dinner of pasta with cheese and salami. Later, as I strolled around the farm, I met the farm’s owners, who told me among other things that the gîte was converted from the farm’s old barn.

A black wood-burning stove has one door open, revealing a glowing orange fire inside.
Helping to keep the gîte warm for the nearly-freezing night.
Map of the day’s route.

  1. Stopped by choice, not by outriders on the lookout for bands of orcs. ↩︎

  2. As near as I could tell from the map, every place with more than one building had its own name. In my head, I decided that in medieval times, names were given to any place with more than one family living there. ↩︎