Climb onboard for a trip along the winding Trieux, with Sébastien Peillet, who’ll share his passion for the hidden treasures of the coastal river.
Boarding at the port of Pontrieux
Pontrieux, 10 o’clock in the morning. The green and white hull of the boat moored at the dock cuts through the morning mist. It’s Le Passeur du Trieux; Le Passeur Braz to be precise, the third to carry the name.
The skipper of the Passeur, Sébastien Peillet, has been at the helm of the business since 2013 with his wife Véronique Batifoulier. They created the company with the idea of offering commented boat trips on the river Trieux.
After a reminder about the current health regulations (a mask must be worn upon arrival at the dock, gel provided), the boat sets off on a voyage of discovery along the winding river Trieux. There are 29 people on board this morning; this is the maximum allowed during 2020 because of physical distancing, compared to the usual capacity of 58.
A bell rings on the riverbank
“No-one has ever been seasick!” says Sébastien reassuringly. On the left bank, on the Ploëzal side, a bell rings. As is her custom, a riverside-dweller greets the departing boat.
With one hand on the helm and a microphone in the other, Sébastien gives a detailed commentary, while a screen in front of the passengers illustrates his remarks in images. Although he also mentions various threats to the river, such as the accumulation of silt sedimentation linked to agricultural practices, fun and good humour are the order of the day on board the boat.
On a buoy, the cormorants pay little attention to the boat and its passengers. They’re more concerned with spreading their wings between dives into the water. “Unlike other seabirds, their plumage is not waterproof” Sébastien tells us, wearing his naturalist’s hat, one of his many duties on board. The natural beauty of the banks of the Trieux and its estuary hold no secrets for this native son.
Passing through the lock - accompanied by a technical explanation - allows us to understand its workings. After the lock, on our starboard side, is the little port of Goas Vilinic in Quemper-Guézennec, known as the birthplace of the navigator Fleuriot de Langle who commanded the Astrolabe during the famous expedition led by the explorer La Pérouse.
Continuing our journey, the boat follows the towpath and its dry stone wall, accompanied by egrets and black-headed gulls. At the mouth of the river Leff, an affluent of the Trieux, is the Frynaudour bridge, designed by Gustave Eiffel. The skipper passes close by the bridge, whose stone arches are the only remains of a fortress which once stood on the river bank. Lying in the mud is the rotting carcass of the fishing boat Jean-Lou Bernard, once destined to become a restaurant in Pontrieux before the venture failed.
This fortress may have been swallowed up by the forest of Lancerf, but the Roche Jagu stands proud on its rocky outcrop. At its feet, the boat circles the water, and the skipper describes the beauty of the passing seasons here. “The yellow of the broom and gorse in springtime, the heathers of summer and the magical landscapes of autumn! You must come and visit the gardens. It’s free!”
Birdwatchers Michel and Catherine, binoculars in hand, are in seventh heaven. An osprey is flying above us. “A rare bird!” Sébastien is a harsh critic of some of the activities - like waterskiing - that endanger wildlife. The river is a classified Natura 2000 area, and speed is limited to 5 knots.
Zigzagging between sandbanks, our skipper informs us that the Trieux has never been hydrographically surveyed. We pass close to Pleudaniel and the shadows of the Château de Boloï, the ghost of a warlike history with the English. On our port side there’s a little cove, the natural border between the Trégor and ‘the others’ as the Trégorrois refer to the Goëlo. “Not the same culture” smiles Sébastien.
The other side of the bridge
After the Manoir de Traou-Nez and its dark connection with the ‘affaire Seznec’, the bay of Lédano is a cheering sight, with the elegant span of the ‘Pont de Lézard’ bridge high above. Our journey ends here in the port where singer-songwriter and poet George Brassens lived, in his ‘little corner of paradise’. A perfect end to a perfect trip!
Text by : David Kerhervé - Publihebdos