The Local Outings Club
The Local Outings Club is for those members of the Association Des Amis who wish to discover or learn more about Central Brittany and its local heritage - history, religion, culture, customs, crafts and nature (landscapes, fauna, flora etc.). Francis Le Lay, who knows Central Brittany so well, suggests an interesting visit each month, with commentary provided by the owners or by highly-qualified specialists, in both French and English.
Since the start of the club in September 2016, varied outings have taken place such as:
St Pierre's Church and St Gildas's Chapel at Carnoët
the Church and Radio Kreiz Breizh broadcasting station at St Nicodème
Monsieur and Madame Chambry's modern farm at Duault
St Pierre's Church and the Menou biscuit factory (and its museum devoted to old shops)
Royden Jenkins's tree garden at Lohuec
Patrick Morin's Breton spaniel breeding farm at Keranlouan, Callac
the volcanic lava quarry of Milin-ar-Stang at Lohuec
the remembrance stone of Kerhamon at Duault
Martin Vaculik's organic farm at Lesmabon, Duault
Lohuec, the history of its former low furnaces and the remains of slag in the local forest.
The visits usually take place on Monday or Wednesday afternoons.
If you are interested, please contact Catherine Sinclair, President of the Association:
(telephone: 02.96.45.95.94 or email: [email protected]).
Visit to Michel Lozac'h, beekeeper in Callac - 5 December
On Francis' suggestion, 18 members of the Local Outings Club visited Michel Lozac'h, a beekeeper in Callac. Thanks to Michel, we learnt a lot about bees: their history, different types of bees, their life-cycle, and the work involved generally in beekeeping and managing beehives. This visit focused on their activity in winter, and it's hoped to follow it up with other visits at different times of the year, so that Michel will be able to explain the different stages of the life of the bees and the work of a beekeeper throughout the year.
At the end of the visit, we were delighted to taste some of Michel's lovely honey - two thick honeys - one made in spring, one made in summer, and a runny honey also made in summer. The differences in texture and taste were amazing, but it was not easy for us amateurs to decide which flowers they had been made from. Then to round off the visit we tasted some of Michel's chouchen, which was a real treat.
Visit to a modern dairy farm that uses a robot system - 27 January
Ms. Clochet of Locarn spent a good two hours showing us around her modern farm where dairy milking is fully automated. She answered all of our questions with a smile. A big thank you to her for her warm welcome.
Visit to Michel Lozac'h, beekeeper in Callac - 21 October
The visit was fascination and helped so much that Debby and Claire knew about it, being bee-keepers, and Debby translated so well. We learned about the hives, the honey collection and the huge effort needed to produce the final results. Cleaning is a massive part and my pictures show the melting of the wax after the honey has been collected. This is cleaned through boiling, skimming, filtering and, each season, M Lozac'h can exchange his big block of wax for a discount on the waxed racks which go into the hives, on which the bees build their cells and produce honey. The other picture shows the finished products - honey, whipped honey and Mead, etc available for purchase.
After the information session, we were given a taste of the honey, and a glass of Mead, followed by coffee! It was a great afternoon and an enormous surprise to me that it was all happening so close to my home!
Debby and Claire provided vital information, being bee-keepers themselves, and Debby was wonderful in translating for us! Thank you both.
Despite being rather nervous as I arrived at having to translate, Michel immediately made us all feel very welcome and at ease.
Claire and I do have our own hives, but we are always eager to share knowledge and especially to learn from other beekeepers and it was an interesting and highly enjoyable afternoon.
Sylvie, Michel’s wife, was also on hand and was a super hostess with coffee and samples for all. I’m already looking forward to our next visit if that will be possible.
Many thanks too to Francis for organising and showing us all where to go.
The visit far exceeded my expectations and I spent a very enjoyable afternoon with Michel and the other members of Les Amis. I learned so much about the life of a bee! Michel explained every stage in the life of a bee and it was fascinating to learn about the different roles of the male and female bees in the hive and how life all revolves around just one bee - the Queen. He demonstrated how the honey is produced by showing us the inner workings of the bee hive and then explained how the honey is removed and worked to produce the end product.
Debby was a wonderful translator and made me more determined to work harder in our French classes! We were then all treated to a sample of the delicious honey accompanied by a glass of bee mead. All made from Michel's bees and available to buy at very reasonable prices. This was rounded off by a cup of coffee and cake all provided by Michel's wife.
I highly recommend a visit there and would like to thank Michel, his wife, Francis and Debby for making it such an interesting and fun afternoon.