Thursday, July 30, 2009

Holiday Part III: The Insight Adventure

Day 4 - Monday - was earmarked to be very very silly indeed as I donned my monthly guise of White Cane Adventurer for Insight Radio.

The Famous Five of Tr├ębrivan clambered into the little pink vehicle again and made our way to just outside Glomel where earlier this year Mrs The Millbrooker and I had discovered for ourselves a flight of 14 locks on the Nantes-Brest canal with canoe chutes over each weir. Back then, I'd thought "this has got to be done". And here we were ready to do it. The idea is somewhat self explanatory, but if you're not sure about what happens next, the photos will tell you everything you need to know.

First off, we showed one of the chutes to Shazzeroooneypoos who was a bit unsure about the whole thing being a bit on the scared-of-heights-and big-bumps side of things. Note concerned expression on the Little Lush's physog (the top of canoe chute is on the left, complete with helpful "go this way" arrow):Dong had no such misgivings. Note manly, nonchalant pose as he undauntedly bestrides another example of a chute in an effort to encourage his paramour into a canoe whilst Mrs The Millbrooker peers downwards.
Having found the canoe hire place closed until after lunch, we indulged in a quick sojourn in a bar in Glomel before hightailing it back to part with the ludicrously small sum of 11 euros and 30 centimes each for an hour and a half's sopping-wettedness. Before immersing ourselves in the River Hyeres, though, we had to be kitted out: flotation vests in assorted sizes (xxl for some of us and eeny-weeny-tiny for Auntie Sharon), skid-lids, paddles and inflatable canoes.
A bit of clambering was required to get us into the canoes, and then it was a simple matter of following the river downstream until it started to go a bit more steeply and we made lots of splashes.I'll let the photos tell the story; we did this fourteen times. It never got any drier no matter how often we did it - but it was gloriously silly and enormous fun.
The river had set traps for the unsuspecting adventurer in the shape of overhanging trees that caught a certain Millbrooker after one of the chutes. We got quite confident after a short while and started playing with heading downwards in reverse. That way we got really, really wet.
There were many cries from Dong of "why are we going around in circles again, Sharon?" Mostly it was because the water gets quite turbulent and spins the canoes at the bottom of each chute; sometimes it was because the teamwork required in a double canoe lacked a certain coordination; once it was because someone might have slid up behind them and poked their canoe in the wrong direction. But soon after every pool of water in which such mal-coordination occurred, we found ourselves at the top of another chute - huzzah!All too quickly (it took us about an hour overall), we reached the end of the flight of locks, where The Wizzers of Soz was on hand to help us pull the canoes from the water and Mrs The Millbrooker was waiting with dry clothing. They'd both followed our progress from the towpath - hence the plethora of photos; thanks to both. Mrs The Millbrooker wants to be in a canoe next time.
After our awfully big adventure, Dong and Shazzerooneypoos kindly sponsored lunch at the Merlin restaurant in the Anse de Sordan (Lac de Guerledan) where we munched in (mostly) lovely sunshine, enjoying both the food and the marvellous view over the lake.Great day - great adventure.

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