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The planning group, (Father Giles, Marty Wilkin, Brother Michael and Robbie Young), arrives safely in France to start the recce of the pilgrimage route. Heading first for the abbey of Val-des-Choux in Burgundy, home of the original founding monks of Pluscarden Abbey and from where the Pilgrimage will begin next year.

Extract from Father Giles’s diary:

Our drive to Edinburgh was straightforward and uneventful. Finding the long stay car park took a bit of doing, then the shuttle bus was unobvious. One of us was so keen on memorizing the route that he left his phone in the car and had to bus back for it.

There was some concern about the flight, no sign of it on the board, then a 40 minute delay, no check-in. Cancelled?  We left 90 minutes late, flight smooth, announcements unintelligible in any language.

At Paris long wait for bags, Robbie already there. Avis in other terminal, light train took us there. Avis helpful, two drivers no problem, finding the car, a Peugeot 508, took forever, then we had to find out how to start it, work the handbrake, all electronic… even with sat-nav finding our way was challenging, but eventually we reached the Autoroute of the Sun, then it was simple enough.

The weather was warm and dry, a great harvest moon hung in the sky, traffic was light. Because of the delay we rang the hotel to warn of our late arrival, just as well, all would be closed, no food. But we got the door code and room numbers, so when we got there about 11.30, we found our rooms and crashed out. Room was a bit fusty, eremitically sealed against fresh air, but fine.

All slept well. I went for a walk through the village, very French, saw the Church and the Mairie, quite bucolic, then breakfast together, croissants, coffee, bread, very acceptable as we’d had no supper! Weather warm. Today: exploring around Val des Choux, tonight, Flavigny.