Crossing the bay is a major challenge. You have to earn it and it’s legendary.

The homegrown guide keeps a professional eye on you from when you arrive as he has to check you’re well-equipped: boots, warm and waterproof clothing in winter or old trainers, shorts and a cap in summer. 

A stick can be a great support and help you avoid slipping.

Once you set off along the seawall, the guide gives you an in-depth overview of the bay, its evolution and especially its hazards and safety guidelines. You start to skid when you get down onto the ground, then your boots often fill up as you cross the first tidal channel and you won’t forget going back up on the “mollière” straight out of a lead climber film. You’re making memories.

Once you’ve overcome these natural obstacles, you feast your eyes on stunning views of Le Crotoy and Saint-Valery-sur-Somme. The feeling that you’re in a no man’s land recharges your batteries.

The guide introduces you to all the halophytes, meaning plants growing in estuary habitats. Just like the salt marsh lamb you’ll see along the way, you’ll love biting into samphire, or as we call it “passe-pierre”, and trying sea aster, or “oreilles de cochon”. And if you fancy it, take home some sea crisps for a snack (orach)

At a little stream’s bend, you may run into a family of common shelduck on patrol as well as redshank or greenshank whose characteristic “tiut tiut tiut” call has earned it the Picard name “la tieutte”.

Crossing the baie ©Thomas Tellier

©Thomas Tellier

Near the small artificial ponds you may come across odd huts either earthed up like molehills to shelter them from the high tides or dug into holes and anchored by chains. These are hunting lodges for migratory wild ducks. It’s a popular age-old tradition that has been here since dawn of time.

Last but not least is all well-diserved rest after a 7km walk for 3 hours. It’s time to enjoy a good regional beer in Saint-Valery-sur-Somme or Le Crotoy before hopping back onto the steam train to take you to the right port.

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