Portrait of Pascal Bruneau, walking and mountain guide
Meet a local walking in the Haute-Vienne figure: Pascal Bruneau. This is a man who fell in love with the Limousin and knows all the nooks and crannies of the Monts d'Ambazac and elsewhere. In this portrait he tells us about the mixing of his past, present and future.
Why the Haute-Vienne?
Chance, pure chance. Nothing was pushing me to come to the Haute-Vienne, except perhaps the fact that I spent some time at Turgot College in Paris? Who knows? I've lived here since 1998 with a few migrations while looking for work elsewhere because I couldn't find suitable work for me in the Haute-Vienne.
In fact I'm here because I retrained. I'm a fully qualified chemical engineer. I worked in petrol and surfactants and then in water treatment. I came to Limoges to join my wife who was already working here. As we wanted to live in the countryside, but not be too far from Limoges, we finally settled on Saint-Léger-la-Montagne in the Monts d'Ambazac. I now manage a gîte and bed-and-breakfast(www.lasgorceix.com) and for a year I have also been a mid-mountain guide. It's a State qualification that allows me to accompany hikers to help them discover our territory in all its aspects (cultural, historic, but also geographic and its fauna and flora).
What do you like most about your profession?
Above all I love the sharing, the exchanges and the transmission of knowledge. Helping people discover our beautiful, but little-known, region and see the enchantment in my clients' eyes is the best reward.
My profession is fairly new. Of course, I don't l limit my work to only the Limousin. I often work in the Auvergne, the Alps, the Pyrenees and also abroad. It's a mountain profession and often the mountain aspect of the Limousin mountains is forgotten. So, every year when it snows, we're astonished by the difference between the heights and the depths of the valleys, especially in the Monts d'Ambazac. Nevertheless, a mid-mountain climate is predominant. My profession is particular because I host and I guide and in one sense, I can provide a full service to walkers and those who wish to discover our region.
My favourite local person?
Even though he died a long time ago, Martin Nadaud (who coined the famous saying, "when the building's good, everything's good) for his epic and courageous life. He is the emblematic figure of the Creuse stonemasons who connects us to a recent past that is totally unknown to many. A rich and passionate past that deserves to be revisited and shared.
My favourite village?
Saint-Léger-la-Montagne of course, for its walking trails! But I also like Jabreilles-les-Bordes for its shepherd's huts.
Where is your favourite corner of nature?
The Dauges peat bog for its wildness and its nearness.
What sports, leisure activities or relaxation activity you prefer?
I practice outdoor sports such as walking, trail running, running, mountain biking, climbing and mountaineering in the Cantal or the Sancy. Either alone or with family and friends. I'm also a trainer in the Ambazac club: the Godasses Ambazacoises.
Do you love the local gastronomy?
The local gastronomy that I like best: potato pie and, of course, I know how to make it!
Which season do you like best in the Haute-Vienne ?
The season I like best in the Haute-Vienne is spring because it's when life restarts!
And with regard to new technologies...
.... I'm quite well-equipped despite everything because by nature I'm curious and I can't imagine putting aside this technological arsenal that has become so important in our society. What's crucial is to know how to use it correctly. And it's important to acknowledge how the Internet is indispensable for spreading the word about our region and our offers.
To finish, a little anecdote: one day a gentleman asked me, "You're a mountain guide, but are there mountains here?" talking about Saint-Léger-la-Montagne. So I replied, "It's simple, come hiking with me and we'll re-discuss the subject. Okay?"
Mr Pascal BRUNEAU
Lasgorceix 87340 Saint Léger la Montagne
Tel: +33 (0)5 55 39 89 38 - Mobile: +33 (0)6 79 32 50 87
Comments recorded by the Bessines-sur-Gartempe (staging village) Tourist Office
6 avenue du 11 Novembre 1918
87250 BESSINES SUR GARTEMPE
Tel: 05 55 76 09 28