We haven’t done a lot of geocaching this year, but have managed to fit in two nice geo-outings during the Christmas holidays. On Monday, having seen that storms were heading our way on Christmas Eve, which is when we usually go for a family walk, we headed off to Etang des Landes. We go there several times a year as it’s a pleasant walk around a bird sanctuary (not that we ever see many), and had an extra incentive of some new caches to find. It was a fabulously sunny day and very enjoyable.

greatest achievement

And today we crossed the border in Cher and went to Culan, which we already knew has a very impressive castle.

The castle from the viaduct

The castle from the viaduct

We didn’t know about the equally impressive old railway viaducts.

culan railway bridges

Or the old tuilerie (tilery) kiln and chimney.

culan kiln

But we do now and that’s why we love our geocaching. You discover so many treasures like these that otherwise you might never find out about.

Culan is a busy little town with lots of old buildings dotted around.

culan 1813 plaque

Some of the newer parts are a little tatty but it’s a pleasant, interesting settlement.

The castle had its origins in the 10th century in the form of a wooden structure, of which nothing remains today. It was built on a rocky outcrop above the River Arnon. A subsequent building in the same place was destroyed by Philip II Augustus of France in 1188. Then came the castle we have today, which was started in the 12th century, mainly finished by the 15th century but had a few bits added during the Renaissance. It has belonged to plenty of people in that time, including Admiral Louis de Culant, the duc du Sully, and the Prince de Condé. Louis XI and Jeanne d’Arc are amongst its visitors, as is good old George Sand (famous 19th century female novelist) who seems to pop up at every local castle at some point!

culan castle thru trees

The medieval gardens have been restored by the castle’s current owners Jean Pierre Marquis and Edouard Marquis. We could see a tree covered in medlars, a very old fashioned fruit, in the garden, together with other fruit trees. They’re continually doing restoration work to the building itself too.

Having seen what a magnificent building it is in such a splendid location, I can’t wait to visit the castle and its grounds, but I’ll have to since it’s only open between Easter and Halloween.

The entrée was firmly shut today

The entrée was firmly shut today

The viaduct we walked across – the railway line has long since been removed – had height markers at either end. Here’s the one at the end we started at:

culan bridge height one end

and here’s where we finished. The viaduct was around 500 metres long, possibly more, so that’s a very gentle gradient.

culan bridge height other end

Along the way there were lots of these iron rings, clearly designed to hold something firmly in place. A few of these were child neck height, but we couldn’t persuade Rors to let us try them out on him!

culan iron ring

It was a great Boxing Day jaunt.

culan daggs