Phil, Paul C, Paul N (Nelly), Tim and Rupert.
We opted to leave for the weekend late on the Thursday afternoon in a fleet of vans (2!), kindly supplied by Phil to get through the tunnel and onto French soil ASAP making for an easier journey the next day.
Arriving late afternoon on the Friday, we were immediately impressed with the accommodation, a large spacious farmhouse the owners had converted into a smart B&B. We had the top floor offering 9 single beds and adjoining shower rooms. A small sitting room was also available with Sky TV and more importantly a fridge full of beer!
The first evening we opted to go into Limousin for a meal settling on a nice restaurant with all the usual French fare, snails and frogs legs!
The following morning our host Torsten leading, we had a short road ride back into Limousin to meet up with some local trail riders that we’re going to be leading for the day. The lead rider, Dominique is the president of the local enduro club and knew the area well having lived there all his life. Another Dominique rode as tail end Charlie, all very organised with a yellow bib. With Torsten as translator he told us what the plan was for the day and how the riding system was to work.
Leaving the town, after some initial road work, we hit the trails, and what trails they are! A superb mix of flowing lanes followed by some rocky climbs followed by some river riding and repeat! A bit like Wales without the gates. We were struck by the plentiful routes, no sooner had you left one trail onto a road, you turned into another.
Many of the routes seemed to have little use. Several times we had to stop to move a fallen tree or, on one occasion ride round it. This involved getting up a steep soft bank that resulted in at least two bikes being flipped right over!
All was going well until Nelly lost all drive as the split link had failed on his CRF. He had a spare but it was unfortunately the wrong size so Domanique came to the rescue with the right one. It soon became apparent there was a bigger problem as his bike seemed to be stuck in fourth gear. This made it impossible for him to continue on the trails, the terrain at this point was quite difficult with steep climbs so as we were near the lunch stop a couple of the French guys led him on the road to the restaurant.
In true French tradition the lunch was a large affair – starter, main, desert, beer and wine. All guaranteed to help with the afternoon riding skills…
After lunch Nelly was pointed in the direction of the B&B via the road and Paul C opted to go back with him.
The rest of us headed back onto the trails, the terrain was flatter than the morning and seemed to be including more water. By mid afternoon Phil had decided to head back to the B&B leaving just myself and Tim to fly the flag for the UK side!
The superb trails continued well into the afternoon and we found ourselves back in the town. Domanique pulled over and asked if we wanted a beer. “Of course” we said, so expecting to head back to a bar he led us through to his house where we were offered a choice of beer from his varied bottled beer collection whilst surrounded by his collection of XR Honda’s!
Thankfully all lights were working as by the time Torsten, Tim and myself got back to the B&B it was dark! That evening we had a superb meal cooked for us at the B&B supplied with a lot to drink. Over dinner we discussed with Torsten the plan for the next day and the type of riding we would be doing.
Sunday morning we managed to persuade Nelly to hire a bike to come out again as it was a long way to go to wait around at the B&B.
The morning was much colder than the Saturday with quite a bit of fog so visibility was a bit limited for a while. The day started with quite a long road section but once the trails started they were a good mix again, probably a bit less river work than the day before with a lot of woodland trails.
After about 30 minutes on the trails Nelly managed to break the hire bike as well as his own (well a puncture anyway) so after a short hold up to change the rear tube we set off again
We came across a French hunt, thankfully they were behind us as Torsten informed us the French would shoot anything that moved in the trees!
Some of the scenery on this route was stunning, one minute down in a valley, the next up on hills with views across the lakes and forests.
Quite unusual for UK trail riders were the people in the villages waving to you in a friendly way!
We headed into a small town for lunch but finding somewhere open was a challenge. Eventually a small bar agreed to serve some chips and drinks so after a shorter lunch than the Saturday we headed back out taking in some of the trails we had ridden that morning back in a loop to the B&B.
After another great meal that evening at the B&B we discussed at length the weekends events and all confirmed “we’ll be back”
An early start on the Monday meant we were back at the tunnel in good time and all home early evening.
All in all a great weekend, superb trails, great company and excellent hosts, thoroughly recommended.
Special thanks go to Phil for organising the location and transport.
For more details visit http://ridelimousin.com/