Sunday 29th May Navacelles to Le Vigan

Shouldn't moan as I know that not everyone is experiencing blue skies but here the heat wave which disappeared for a couple of days has now come back full force and temperatures were again up into the 30s. Surprising how much the heat takes out of you and although the walk was only 22 kilometres we both felt drained at the end of it.

Essentially the walk involved a climb out of yesterday's gorge, a walk across some classic causse countryside through a couple of villages along the way, and then a long walk down through an oak and sweet chestnut forest to Le Vigan.

Setting off it wasn't too hot a Christine took a picture of yours truly on the bridge on the way out of Navacelles. Notice that I'm now wearing full anti-tick gear.

Leaving Navacelles

The walk up the side of the gorge gave increasingly spectacular views of the Cirque de Navacelles and you can even make out the waterfalls where the "new" river route goes.

Cirque de Navacelles

I know people rave about the causse scenery but when it's hot like today the arid, desert like characteristics come to fore. Very little cover and everything baking under the sun. That said there were still lots of wild flowers in particular orchids and honeysuckle.

Classic causse vegetation


Went through three villages before we got to Le Vigan, Blandas, Montdardier and Avese, all with accommodation options, although Montdardier where we had hoped to escape the heat and have lunch was being completely dug up to lay new water pipes and everything was shut down.

Saw our first couple walking in the style of Robert Louis Stephenson with a donkey. I'm with Nicholas Crane who suggests that Travels with a Donkey is responsible for more cases of donkey abuse than other book. The donkey was keener to eat than to walk and it difficult to see where the accelerator peddle was.

Donkey abuse

After the heat a walk down through the trees was a welcome change. The local guide book describes the young oak trees as pubescent, something lost in translation perhaps. Because she'd missed out on lunch I took pity on Christine and let her borrow my iPod and she was soon waving her arms about to Pavarotti singing La Boheme.

Still hot when we got to Le Vigan not helped by the fact that the hotel we are staying in turned out to be on the edge of town and a kilometre or so in the direction from which we had just walked.

Climbing high tomorrow, over 1,000 metres, so should be cooler. We then spend three days in the Cevennes National Park which could be amazing.


  1. Donkys are a marvellous creatures and now a specie in danger of disapeareance.

  2. Fine trousers, John! But ticks have a large set of little legs and may find their way inside, so keep on inspecting your body every evening. In fact, this might be the one strongest argument to tell Christine not to leave you again: your back must also be inspected.
    Apart from ticks, you may meet hornets, giant wasps who are told to kill a horse with one bite. Do not believe this; they need a few more bites to kill a horse, and besides they are not aggressive. Just take care that you do not inadvertently approach a nest, or step on a hornet. This is the same type of mild danger as boar and snake (there are some poisonous where you walk now, but they fear you more than you have to fear them).
    And donkeys - well, they may kick you when you pass too close behind them, but they are trained to carry your luggage and wife (as we all know from the Gospel).

  3. Dear John please find a photo. Well in fact there is a problem with the photo cos i can't seem to upload it.