The Way to Montsoreau
Kristine was up very early, about 5am, before day break and went out on a walk. She circumnavigated the island and saw the sun rise and early morning mist rolling over the river. When I finally roused myself, around 6am, I was feeling a bit grubby and so decided to bathe in the river. Steve joined me and it felt good to get wet and clean in the fresh morning air. We got another fire going and cooked up some sausages for breakfast. As usual Steve prepared the coffee.
After breaking camp we were soon on our way. We were aiming to arrive in Montsoreau about 3pm, in plenty of time for our rendezvous with the outfitter at 4pm.
We moseyed along in the warmth of the morning sun looking out for a riverside village to take a break. Eventually La Chapelle sur Loire hoved into view and although we had to take a long detour around a very shallow sand-bank we eventually came to an access ramp below the walls of the village. A fisherman was here blocking the way but he didn't seem perturbed that we need to get access here and eventually he did move his stuff out of the way without complaining. In the village itself we found a solitary cafe and managed to order a coffee and a croissant. It was pleasant sitting in the square under the sun. We visited the 'Chapelle' itself too.
Back at the dock a local style of boat had appeared. A sailing boat with a low draft used to ferry people across the river. Another couple we here too in a heavily laden canoe. They said they were headed for the ocean! We set off and paddled steadily for an hour or so before a huge Nuclear facility came into view and came closer and closer. It was not clear whether this was a Power Station or a research place. We slinked past it as best we could until it disappeared off out stern.
After passing under a bridge we began looking for somewhere to stop for lunch and eventually settled on a beach on the left bank just beyond the town of Chouze. Of course we had the usual fare for lunch. and very nice too.
Back on the water we had an easy last stretch of paddling to do as we passed where the River Viennes joins the Loire at Candes-St-Martin, and then the very final piece as we arrived at Montsoreau underneath its Chateau. It was getting on for about 2pm so we were in plenty of time. After disembarking Steve and walked along the river front and found the camp-site and determined where we would be pitching up. We then went back to the boats and paddled the last 100 yards or so to the closest access to the camp-site. here we unloaded and carried out gear through the camp-site. Unaided, I should add by the sons of my friends, who were too busy playing tennis. At least they said hello eh!
It was in fact a little disappointing to reach our destination, even though we had friends to meet and a party to go to later. The good news is that Steve and Coral enjoyed their first experience of canoe camping and might give it a go again.