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Monts d’Arree a land of myths and legends

Monts d’Arree a land of myths and legends

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Monts d’Arree a land of myths and legends

Brittany’s landscape has mesmerised many writers and artists This captivating landscape has spawned many local folkloric stories. The Armorique Regional Natural Park covers a large section of Brittany and encompasses some of its most spectacular landscapes, from the forest of legends of Huelgoat to the coast of the Crozon Peninsula. One of the most unmissable natural landscapes in Brittany, however, is the mystical Monts d’Arrée that form a spiky spine through Finistère.



The Monts d’Arree (the other of the Armorique park’s four) is, despite its name, hilly rather than mountainous. It’s a wild, craggy place, not unlike parts of Exmoor and Dartmoor, with terrific views and great walking. One of the loftiest spots is Roc-Trevezel. This environment of rocks, moors, woods and rivers form a center of Breton legends. Like Yeun Elez, this boggy marshland which can be found in wild heart of the Monts d’Arrée hills. Yeun Elez or the gates of hell, was vast a marsh which originally covered the large depression that lies at the centre of the Monts. This was before it was flooded in 1937 when the river Ellez was damned to create the St-Michel reservoir. The remains of the bog surround the edge of the reservoir at the foot of the Mont-St-Michel. These boglands are filled with pools of evil looking peaty water.



Ankou, a personification of death in Breton mythology, is reported to have been seen picking up lost souls with his cart from the marsh, including goblins, elves, leprechauns and other little demons including korrigans who are wicked fairies. Ankou is the worker’s death (oberour ar maro) working for God. It is a very tall and very thin man, who looks like a peasant, so we often take for such when seen from far away, or back. He wears a large black felt hat shading his face, and is covered with a large dark cloak also. People who saw and described almost say he has no nose, his eye sockets are black and deep, and his skeleton is covered as a putrid flesh and tattered. And so he can cover his eyes throughout the region, his head turns 360 ° on itself. They all are a link between the world of the living and the dead. The gates of hell are here aptly named.



The legend goes that these lush fields would entice innocent walkers to explore them. As they advanced towards its centre the ground became less solid beneath their feet and soon these misguided souls would find themselves plunged knee-deep into stagnant foul smelling water.

At the heart of the Yeun Elez, the feckless hikers would be faced with a bottomless pool called the Youdig or Youdic which translates as ‘small boiled’. This black watery quagmire of sticky mud would would start to boil as the gates to hell opened. The hapless victim would be dragged down into the murky depths and swallowed up by unseen forces below !



There’s nothing inside the chapel, but the 360-degree views are incredible. The landscapes around the skirts of the hill can look eerie, as they’re so barren, but the trails crisscrossing the terrain are tempting for walkers and riders.


Movie of Monts d’Arree, fabled land in Brittany:

Movie of Monts d’Arree, fabled land in Brittany

Behind Mont d’arree photography tips:

Behind Monts d’arree photography tips

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