THE Celtic ties run deep through Brittany, so much so that historian Wendy Mewes wonders if it was her own roots that brought her to the region.
For Wendy those ties only strengthened when she drove off the ferry at Roscoff and now after writing walking guides and teaching English-speakers about Breton history, she finds herself entwined in the rich tapestry of the area.
"I was wanting to move away from England, and happened to come on a trip to France having seen it was cheaper to live in Brittany than in Normandy.
"But the second I got off the ferry at Roscoff I totally fell in love with the landscape. The high, open, wild moorlands and as I got off the boat at dawn the light was coming up and the mist was lifting off the craggy hillside.
"That was a sort of moment. From then on I knew I was not going to leave Finistere."
With a background as a historian, Wendy taught ancient history in the UK but leaving teaching enabled her to concentrate on writing, gaining experience as a freelance writer and also enjoying a small profit from a novel published in the UK.
Her writing experience also extended to guided walks for local magazines, that enabled her to use her history background to uncover interesting stories for readers, something Wendy is keen to continue with her Brittany based writing.
"I think you do need to know your area very well to come up with things that are not in every guidebook," Wendy said.
"My most recent book The Saints' Shore Way, is a themed walk on connections between Great Britain and Brittany and I managed to interest the tourist board from the relevant part of the north coast of Brittany to pay for this project and sponsor it, to attract English speaking visitors.
"I’ve met many interesting people, for example, I’ve met people connected to the old seaweed industry that was important in the late 19th and early 20th century, and I was shown the old processes and the remains of equipment that I would not have understood without having met these people.
"My walking books cover social and political history, because I think it is important that people who come to live in the area come to integrate through an understanding of history and how people have lived, and why things are as they are. So producing things in English about places where people live is very important to me."
In her research Wendy has discovered that tensions have always been fraught between incomers from the UK, and those who left the UK earlier. As well as a reason behind why many Breton churches have a strong history of organ music.
"I am constantly finding stories of connections from a long time ago, for example in eastern Brittany in Dinard, that has long been thought of as an English place, there is a quote from a book written in the 19th century about English people living there who keep moving further west to get away from the new English people moving to the area who don’t speak French. And we think such is a modern thing," said Wendy.
"At the moment I am working on the first cultural history of Brittany in English, and I’ve found whilst doing a bit of research that in Cromwell’s England music, organ music and dancing were forbidden by law and that the organ maker from Kings College Cambridge moved to Brittany, where with Catholicism and its churches, organs were very important, and he went on to build many organs that still exist in the part of Brittany that I live in.
"You cross so many unexpected connections."