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Wednesday 28th May – Monday 30th June.  Liz + Chris + Hugh in our Campervan Kon-tiki.

Ferry Portsmouth to Caen (Ouistraham). Hugh flew back on 14th June  from Perpignan [Flybe].
Total: 1,730 miles; 2,768km.


Click on place names on the itinerary below to go direct to the pictures [in same sequence as the itinerary]     

Ouistraham, Mayenne, Bauge, Lac Rille; Langeais, Motorway past Poitiers, Limoges, Angouleme, Perigeux,
Le Bugue; Caduin, Agen, Cologne, St Cricq, Lac de Thoux; L’Isle-Jourdain; Motorway around Toulouse,
Foix, Ax-les-Thermes, Col de Puymorens, Bourg-Madame, Mont-Louis, Matamale; Mont-Louis, Prades,
Thuirs, Argeles-s-Mer; Perpignan airport, Estagel, Tuchan; Durban-Corbieres, Ripaud, Gleon;
Portel-des-Corbieres, to Motorway past Narbonne, Beziers, Lodeve, Le Vigan; Ganges, Anduze, Langogne,
Lac Naussac
; Solignac, Rion, Montlucon, Ciron, Rosnay; Bournan, Saumur;  Bauge, Sable-s-Sarthe,
; St-Pierre-sur-Dives, Troarn, Ranville, Merville-Franceville Plage; Ouistraham; Portsmouth.

Click here: For full Itinery       For Camping Guide      For all France pictures

After usual nervous wait in Portsmouth we had a fairly empty ferry
Lac Rille        TOP
More picture of this place in 2012 pages and 2013 pages
Our usual site next to the railtrack
Our local train which goes within 2 metres of Hugh's tent
Can't get enough of it
lac rille
Lauch pad for kayaks and reeds for the reed warblers
This appears to be some sort of shelter (sheltering from?)
Brave, freezing campers
She said it is lovely and warm but shivering Hugh was a better indicator

Le Bugue.          TOP
This is where the gear problem was confirmed to be caused by
loss of synchromesh, thanks to mechanic friend of Max et Marguerite Avezoux

le bugue
An approaching storm. This was just after our diagnosis. I learned to drive in my 1939 vauxhall with
no synchromesh so had no worries about driving over the pyrennees without it (OK some small worries)
Typical Dordogne house next to the campsite
irrisstanble ??

The camp pool

Chez Avezoux, home of my previous research student Alain
Max (only slightly mad)
Mark Wells painting, from many years ago
Had to put this demonstration of the clear skies of Le Gugue
Lac Thoux        TOP
Our wonderful site (sorry for sloppy photo)
Our neighbouring sails; Hugh checking if he has remembered how to use his camera
Our friendly local 'controller of the lake (Thibaud) coming to the aid of young sailors
Thibaud after rounding us up to tell that we must pay to use lake and to offer us bette
r kayaks (how could he?)
Mrs camper
View of our camp from the far side of lake
Messing about in boats
The local church at the top of the hill on the opposite side of lake (Saint Cricq)
Confirms 11th Century
Big house next to the church
The back of the church next to the cemetery
Memorial to young motorcyclist
Memorial to a father and farmer
Goldfinch at the cemetery
At excellent restaurant next to campsite
Black-winged stilt at the campsite
Matamale          TOP
We were slightly nervous about this part of the journey as the loss of synchromesh meant double-declutching over winding steep mountain roads of the Pyrennees. The closed tunnel meant we had to go over the Col Puy de Morens. It was no problem and much better than a tunnel.
Col Puy de Morens
Our campsite beneath the pines, surrounded by high peaks of the Pyrennees.
Our neigh bours at the adjacent riding school
Female black redstart about to feed the recenly fledged young
Church tower in Matemale village in the valley below
The end of our adjacent lake looking South East. Part of favourite bike ride
Arausing sheep in local forest
A Matemale monster
A short-stemmed narcissus thatcarpeted the local fields like smmer snow
Linnet making the most of a sunny pine song perch
A butterfly for Liz (name please)
Matemale moon
Argeles sur Mer     TOP
The path to the beach
Hugh setting up home
Storm threat that passed peacefully
A beach xerophyte
Hoopoe posing for me
The wonderful pool
German friends met at the pool; Martin, Emalie and Tina
Sad farewell to Hugh, parked at Perpignan airport
Tuchan    TOP
One of our favourite sites lacking only Hugh
Bar and restaurant, always very friendly and the place for watching football
View from campsite
Church tower in Tuchan
Liz dancing to the waltz from the jazz suite of Shostakovich blaring out from the village to tell us the market is open
On the way to market
War memorial
So many from one small village
The camp goat
I know what i like but don't know what it is
The pool and restaurant
It's art innit
Chateau Gleon      TOP
A favourite France-Passion site where we stocked up with Monsieur Montagnie's Corbiere wine
Liz and      on the bridge leading to our camping site at the chateau
On a walk near Gleon

Le Vigan. Val de L'Arre.      TOP      
As we came down the mountain towards Le Vigan a horrible grinding, rumbling sound attacked us, from the engine. We crept into the campsite and had a couple of worrying days diagnosing the problem with help from the local mechanic. "C'est tres grave monsieur. It was a smashed drive shaft bearing. Not available as a spare for a 25 year old van. So we watched birds and frogs and football on the snack bar TV. The owner of the campsite was so kind. They offered us a free camping 'hut' for a few days if we needed to leave the van (our home) for a few days. Then limped home at less than 50 mph, rolling down hills in neutral etc (and double de-clutching). Ten days of stressed driving alternating with wonderful campsites and new compassionate friends.

For pictures of the campsite itself go to pictures for 2012

"C'est tres grave monsieur"
The statuary swim in river Arre in the campsite
A literal friendly frog
A grey wagtail nesting opposite the van
Spotted flycatcher at nest opposite the van
On a local walk
Lac Naussac Near Langogne       TOP
We discovered this site in previous year when the van had a gear problem; we chose to come here instead of
our wild camp site at Causse Mejean because of our nervousness about van.
Our site with great view of lake
View from our site
Liz always wanted to be a milkmaid
From other side of lake; wwe are camped up the hill on the right
From my chair in our site
A whitethroat that nested next to us
Yellow-legged gull (close relative of herring gull
Our entertainment - collecting water for local forest fire. Three planes were involved
Art innit
They only just got airborne before flying very low over us
The propellers have not really stopped
I felt no more secure or civil
They continued until almost sunset
Keep going
This one seemed to be interested in our kayaks
Rosnay in La Brenne         TOP
A peaceful place
A peaceful lady
My misty morning birdwatching walk
Early morning grey heron
Willow tit
Purple heron
Three hoopoes
Our nice neighbour
Sad and abandoned
Not surprising
It stopped giving a roof over their heads
Sad end of another old van
Blue-eyed Beauty
Saumur       TOP
We had hoped to visit the France-Passion vineyard at Chinon but opted for an old favourite because of van worries
A familiar home
Small excellent restaurant to celebrate nearly home
The castle from the campsite


Upstream at the end of our island
My yellow feet are for identification purposes
Damsel fly
Female damsel
Staggering is not interdite
View from below the bridge
The campsite was very full because of the Cycle festival; this is our neigbou'rs pennyfarthing
View from bridge on the way to celebration dinner
Celebration dinner
Cute car
View from the bridge on way home
House boats
Celebrating cyclists
Sille-la-Gillaume         TOP
We came to this site as so few others were available. Under dripping trees i was a bit English.
Watched Football (Uraguay) with some Dutch boys in the entertainment tent
Camping under the trees struggling to dry out
View of lake from van. Not readily accessible for boating
Merville-Franceville-Plage       TOP
Our last camp in Kontiki; On the beach at excellent site
Liz's last ocean swim
From the beach; the kayak can be seen to left of watch hut
Our beach, shared with an English boys' camp
Herring gull Lesser black backed gull
Excellent sea front restaurant, reached by short walk along the beach
Sunset on the walk home











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