The Gite D'Etape at L'Hospitalet was like going back in time but great fun. Personally didn't get much sleep because of the smell and the noise from the sheep which were wandering about under the bedroom window all night long looking for each other. It was one of those ancient farmhouses where the animals were underneath but some of them seemed to be have been out late and were coming in at all times. We had a good breakfast with 5 sorts of home made jam, including a kind of sweet paste made from chestnuts, and were then invited to make our own packed lunch from the ingredients on a side table. We were as greedy as last night.
|Gite D'Etape at L'Hospitalet|
After almost solid rain yesterday at least it was dry to start with but an absolutely driving wind from north, very cold, which if anything got stronger as the day went on.
Turns out that we were now on the Robert Louis Stephenson trail and we saw lots of walkers today including an early encounter, on the way to Barre Cevennes, with a man with a donkey.
|Walking the Robert Louis Stephenson Trail with Donkey|
Barre Cevennes, 5 kilometres from L'Hospitalet, was an interesting looking village and had a hotel which I hadn't spotted when researching the route. It also had a boulangerie which served coffee so of course we had to stop. There was a discouraging sharp intake of breath when we said we were walking to Pont de Montvert and a warning to watch out for the wind.
Walking along forest trails we were sheltered from the worst of the wind, and although the sky turned incredibly dark it managed to hold off from raining. After about 12 kilometres the route descended all the way down into a gorge, along the gorge to the little village of Cassagnas and back up the gorge on the other side. In total this involved a climb of some 600 metres. On the way up the landscape opened up and I posed on top of a rock.
We met a group of 4 French walkers who were swigging various concoctions from hip flasks. After a small amount of persuasion we tried some and it was lovely, a sort of mountain herb liqueur. I described the journey I was on and they insisted on a group photograph, I think they had been drinking for some time.
Continued on along the forest trail with the wind howling above us. Met another couple of French walkers (male and female) who were wearing the latest in French walking/trail running shoes, a sort of oversized "brothel creeper" trainers with extra wide, extra thick soles. They looked strange but comfortable. Given that they were each carrying 15 kilograms on their backs they needed all the help they could get.
For the last 5 kilometres we were right out in the open and the wind was so strong it was hard to keep on your feet. This was the open countryside I was expecting in the Cevennes but given the conditions today it was perhaps just as well we didn't get too much of it.
|Wild and windy near the Pont de Montvert|
Pont de Montvert is bigger than I expected and has a couple of hotels. The place I wanted to stay at was full but we are in a Gite D'Etape where the owner left us an evening meal and breakfast. All we have to is warm things up and leave the money, excellent.
Good to hear from you again, John and Christine!ReplyDelete
Sorry that the weather is bad, whilst more to the North, Europe is sunbathing day after day (I admit that there was a little rain on tuesday). Well, in spite of the rain, your pictures look fine; thanks for them.
By the way, although infected ticks are the most dangerous creatures you may encounter in the fields and forests, rabies-infected mammals are the second one. Instead of dashing away, they attack humans, probably out of hope to be killed instantly. If they bite you, you should find a doctor or hospital the same day, to get yourself the proper antidote. Especially foxes (normally shy) get aggressive when they suffer from rabies.
Have a good and safe walk! Menno