A unique view of sea and history
We wind our way along pretty little earth pathways, as well as tarmac and gravel routes, and Isabelle’s carefully designed itinerary brings us to a magnificent panoramic view of a famous maritime scene: the district of Erquy, the port of Les Hôpitaux and the islet of Saint-Michel. The pink sandstone rises up from the waves, and tells the story of the quarrymen who made their lives here in little houses that look like mining cottages. We bound over the rocky outcrops to reach a brand new stunning viewi point with a vista that stretches across the dunes, vaulting over the clifftops all the way to the Cap Fréhel lighthouse.
A symphony of colours
The landscape changes yet again, and we are riding along delightful narrow lanes lined with flower-filled low walls along pathways that make their way through fields, as a new palette of glorious colours bursts forth. Orchids, comfrey and elderberries nestle alongside each other, and Isabelle explains the benefits of each of these plants. We see a surfer and then the leafy valleys give way to romantic-looking heathland. The pink of the heather and the yellow of the gorse tumble down towards the shingle, stopped in their tracks by vivid green ferns. Our guide tells us that there are carnivorous plants lurking within this shimmering palette, as we are greeted by the song of a cuckoo.
70m high, between lighthouse and birds
We reach Cap Fréhel without even being out of breath. It’s the perfect moment to enjoy a soothing lemon balm tea as we hear more about the lighthouse’s history, overlooking the sea from a height of 70m. On a clear day, you can make out Jersey from this amazing vantage point. Close to the cliff are two rocky peaks that plunge down into an emerald sea, their sides whitened by the guano of the seabirds. Isabelle’s keen eye picks out the nests of European shags, downy young seagulls and little black-legged kittiwakes. Although the auks are shy, they still give away the secret of where their eggs are laid. Anne takes plenty of photos and everyone is captivated by the spectacle and finery of the birds.
After a long look around and an insight into the local legends, the pack of cyclists re-forms and makes its way back to the starting point. With the wind in our hair, everyone enjoys their bike at their own pace – and at the pace of their own calf muscles too. Karine accelerates along the protected pathway with no wasted effort at all, and the landscape unfurls its shimmering palette of colours. It’s smiles all round as a great day out is rounded off with a glass of apple juice by the propped-up bikes.