Battlefields of the Somme
25th July 2018
When travelling, as I do, with no fixed plan I find one randomly has good, bad and indifferent days. Today has been a good day, not an amazing day just a very satisfactory one.
After a quiet night at La Madelon quay Amy and I had our early morning walk along the river which I reckon Amy got a lot more out of than I did. I didn't get to see much river due to the path being some distance from it and the ground twixt path and river was covered in tall vegetation. The path was badly rutted and rock hard due to lack of rain and not at all pleasant to walk along. However, the good word is the place was simply teeming with rabbits and Amy certainly got a full quota of vigorous exercise chasing them about.
Down the road fairly early today and bought food, water and diesel at Rue, the centre of which is delightfully old skool France - the like of which is getting hard to find these days.
Onwards the road south round the Somme estuary and back to the coast at La Hourdel. One can almost still hear the Great War cannons roaring in that area so redolent is the place with the turbulence of bygone war. It's not just the famous battle of 1916 that was fought hereabouts but also the battle of Crecy in the 100 years war in 1346.
We stopped for a brief paddle in the ocean at La Hourdel and although its a nice enough little place its simply overrun with tourists, notably my least favourite sort the fatcat Eurocamper fraternity, so didn't linger there too long.
We pulled off the road just outside Cayeux sur Mer to briefly consult google maps when I noticed a very pretty lake and rest area in the near distance which was utterly deserted. Nice big lake, the remains of limestone quarry excavation so beautiful azure/turquoise water and teeming with swans, geese, ducks, coots etc. Pretty purple water lilies, lots of good shade, tables and benches - all rather marvellous. We spent a long lunch there and would have made it our overnight spot to stay but was deterred by all the 'no camping' notices, particularly after a sighting of 'John Darm' cruising by!
On the subject of lunch: I have a tip to convert boring Lidl Cheddar cheese into something really quite marvellous. Wrap it in some kitchen foil, keep it out of direct sunlight at an ambient temperature of about 20 - 25 degrees and let it sweat for at least ten days. The more it sweats the better it gets in terms of taste and texture!
After our cheese lunch and a snoozy siesta we eventually pushed off into Cayeux which is a real good old fashioned bucket and spade 'kiss-me-quick' seaside town sort of place. It sprawls along the coast in the most tawdry fashion and very much reminded me of bygone Littlehampton in Sussex. In fact the whole area is very 1950s Sussex like (possibly not surprising as Sussex is just opposite us the other side of Le Manche). The limestone quarry lakes, a long shoreline of round flintstones between land and sand and tall white cliffs to the south reminiscent of Beachy Head. I rather like the place as its not yet started to cater for the affluent Eurocamper mob and as there are no expensive sea front private properties, posh hotels or ripoff campsites run by the local mayor and/or his cronies there are seemingly no restrictions on access to wild camping - plus, there are plenty of potential places to chose from.
For tonight we are here, coincidentally next to another lake but also right on the shore and have the place to ourselves:
GPS precision : 3 m
Its now a glorious evening, following a beautiful day and we are being nicely cooled by a welcome sea breeze as the sun is still very warm at 7pm.
So, that was today - I wonder what tomorrow will bring?
Beach rest South, South Sussex