Sounds bizarre I know but a 10km hike along the bottom of a lake is exactly what is going through my mind. Walking along the old canal path submerged since the 1930’s, viewing the remains of the old locks and lock keepers cottage’s and imagining the lives of the inhabitants. The skeletons of trees, once showing off their shiny new covering of crisp young leaves, will now be appearing as architectural structures in the mire of the morning mist.
Lac de Guerledan just 50 mins from our haven of tranquillity is the largest manmade lake in Brittany with a surface area of 4km sq. The dam by which it was created was constructed between 1923 and 1930, beginning its life just as the Great depression was taking hold in America and in the year that Masking Tape was invented. Its purpose, to provide a supply of drinking water for Morbihan in Central Brittany but primarily the energy for a hydro electric power station. This lake dissects the Nantes Brest canal which cuts through the centre of the Bretagne countryside. This section of the canal followed the Blavet river heading towards the atlantic ocean at Lorient.
Ok, so I might not be going to put on my diving gear to experience my sub aqua adventure. The Lake is currently being drained for maintenance on the Dam, something EDF have to look at every 10 years. This is probably the last time this old canal path will be exposed as they are putting in the facility to check and repair the dam without the need for draining the lake in the future.
The last time this happened in 1985 thousands of people took the opportunity to explore the strange lunar like scenery appearing from beneath the water. For me the opportunity for some atmospheric photography is just too good to turn down. I hope to be making several visits during the 6 months, beginning in May, that the lake will be drained. Opportunities exist to walk the route independently or pay a small fee to go on a guided tour.
Visit the Penlan Gite website for holiday accommodation