Bike Touring Highlight (Segment)
This passage is the culmination of the canal. We had to dig 3 million cubic meters of earth and rock to pass the canal: as much as for the construction of the largest pyramid in Egypt!
The construction took place in the 19th century by deserters imprisoned and sentenced to forced labor. Many are those who did not survive the unimaginable working and hygienic conditions.
A book "Les Bagnards du canal de Nantes à Brest" retraces the little-known history of the builders of the canal from Nantes to Brest.
August 20, 2021
To cut the canal through this mountain was one of the most labor consuming Herculean tasks for the crew, involving thousands of forced and prisoner labor in addition to the hired workers.
May 19, 2019
To connect one valley with another, this was dug out by hand, the earth removed on men's backs and all with no machinery. This is the highest point of the canal. As you go along the path, look at how high the woodlands on either side are. It was cut through rock (schist). It is 3.5Km long. On one side was a camp, really a prison, where the 600 convicts, from the prison in Brest, were housed and who were forced to do this labour. Mostly they were deserters from the War with Spain. Dysentery, fever, matnutrition were all rife and on top of back breaking physical labour. After the 1830 Revolution, some prisoners broke out of the camp: some disappered into the surrounding countryside but 200 of them presented themselves to the Military authorities at Pontivy to have their new right to Liberty confirmed and recognised. The Camp was closed by 1832 and mostly destroyed by fire a few years later.
June 2, 2019
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