Thursday, July 23, 2009

Cap Fréhel, more blue. And pink.

When my sister was here, we made a trip to Cap Fréhel. I hadn't been there for ages. It's a headland that sticks out northward into what is still the English Channel.

Looking west, you can see across the Bay of St Brieuc, up the Paimpol peninsular, to the Ile de Bréhat, at least on a clear day, which it wasn't really.




Eastward is the Bay of St Malo, the land jutting out in many little limbs, mostly named for saints: St Cast, St Jacut, St Lunaire, St Briac, St Malo...


It's a tricky place to come to by sea,

there's a fairly modern lighthouse,



built onto the body of an older one,


then, right out at the point, a small, stumpy one, presumably the oldest of all.



With rocky thin soil, moorland and a lot of obdurate rock, no one much bothered to develop it. Now I think it's protected.


So the birds, like these cormorants, can live their lives in peace, since even the many visitors who come to walk here can't get close to where they live and feed.




The photo below, without the zoom, gives you some idea how high you are above the sea and the rocks, the tiny black dots are the cormorants, the white flecks may well be gannets, a bird with a four-foot wingspan, I certainly saw some there.



And this shows how little the landscape is spoiled by fussy nonsense like safety barriers: the little boy who I inadvertently got partially in the shot is standing more or less on the edge of a sheer drop - his bigger brother was standing by him, though sibling rivalry being what it can be that was not necessarily a guarantee of his safety.


At the other end of the same peninsular is Fort La Latte. Remember that 1950s epic 'The Vikings'? It was filmed here. I think I'd like to see it again, but Tom says I'd have to watch it on my own, as he finds the chopping-off-Tony-Curtis's-hand bit too bloodthirsty.


Most of this coast is granite, but this is part of a strip of pink sandstone, (not pink granite, as is found further west on the pink granite coast round Perros Guirrec) that runs mostly under the sea, but emerges again at the northernmost tip of the Ile de Bréhat, where it seems to take on a quite peachy hue, and another lighthouse has been built from it, so it rises from the rocks it stands on in a very harmonious and all-of-a-piece amnner .
Here it has been sculpted by the elements into dramatic stacks and towers. I wonder how long that chunk of stone has been trapped in that space, and when and why it fell?


It blends with the blue-grey and golden lichens, and with the yellow gorse and reddish heather that cover the landscape much of the summer, and looks quite vivid against the blues of sea and sky.


And the birds seem to like it too.

19 comments:

Dick said...

On dirait Cornwall. There's a remarkable similarity to the North-West coastline.

Zhoen said...

Thank you, I love lighthouses. Especially old ones.

jzr said...

What a lovely corner of the world!!

Elizabeth said...

How beautiful. That sheer drop reminds me of the Grand Canyon in the American west. My husband was VERY nervous when we visited there.
Thank you for your lovely photographs :)

Peter said...

Western civilization has been going on so long in Europe, and yet so much is left. We got started late over here, but we've managed to chew most everything up in no time.

I love the almost whimsical final photo.

Granny J said...

There was a lovely, moody blue in the close-up on the two cormorants. The trouble with Arizona is that I miss the sea, especially when I am reminded of it by such land/seascapes that you have photographed.

HLiza said...

Oh Lucy, these are such feast for my eyes..I love seeing the old natural rocks..their 'texture' and how lovely the details are. We don't have much natural rocks like these here in my place..I can imagine standing and absorbing all these lovely, lovely God's creation for hours!

Crafty Green Poet said...

gorgeous photos. It looks like a lovely place...

A Write Blog said...

I come to your site to bask in your photos.

I love the pimkish hues in the stones and that trapped one, caught as it fell, looks as though time has stopped in that little space.

Rouchswalwe said...

The colors! Their beauty struck me even more because I have seen photos of this area from the early 1940's, in black and white of course. The angular "porch" of the cormorants looks to be a wonderful abode, and I'm so glad to read that it is a protected area.

Barrett Bonden said...

Or Kirk Douglas getting his eye clawed out by a falcon, or Ernest Borgnine being forced to jump into a pit of ravening wolves.

Perros Guirec - I wonder if Plutarch's memory banks are going to respond to that name. Notably the grocer who, after we'd made perhaps ten pre-9 am visits, charmed us both with his Toujours de bonne heure, messieurs.. Definitely un bon coin.

Rosie said...

I am ill at ease when it comes to sheer drops. Something strange happens to the back of my knees and the pit of my stomach...

June Saville said...

Lovely! These pix remind me of a beautiful place called Fingal not far from my home in Oz. It's named after Fingal in Scotland of course. Have a peek at my post on 70 Plus and Still Kicking:
http://70plusandstillkicking.blogspot.com/2009/03/chocolate-cake-and-porpoises-at-fingal.html
June in Oz

Plutarch said...

I remember it well. Not so much that shopkeeper, but the neglected dogs barking almost non-stop in the house opposite. I was trying to remember places we had visted along that coast and wondered, Lucy, whether our paths had crossed.

The place names are similar to those in Cornwall, and, as one is led to believe, the Breton language is close to the almost extinct Cornish.

Dave King said...

Lovely pictures. Reawakened the call of the sea in me!

Phoenix said...

Lovely.. fantastic pictures.. how I wish I was there :)

The Crow said...

I love the sea, Lucy, and hanker to move near the rocky coastline on either side of the US. Your photos make me feel homesick.

Loved your comment regarding sibling rivalry...two of my brothers fit that warning quite well.

My favorite of all the pictures is the one of the stubby lighthouse. The composition is beautiful. I can see a painting of it done by you.

:)

Julia said...

We've been there before - what a super spot! Was it very windy during your visit?

JamaGenie said...

Such lovely photos of a lovely place. Being 1000 miles from any coast here in the U.S. but with mostly English blood, the sea constantly calls to me. How lucky you are to live so near to it.

The rock caught in mid-fall - one can't help but wonder how long it's been there and how long it will remain!

I did a post on Guernsey a while back and was fascinated by the French side of the Channel. Now I'll have to explore a bit more along the coast! Thanks for sharing your visit!