Monday 27 July
I am absolutely knackered. Therefore I'm going to try to be brief. Brevity not being a forte of mine, I shall strive for it by abandoning my usual practice of full sentences, for this I apologise in advance.
Woke in our spectacular location with clear skies above and cloud below. By the time we left it was with compass in hand; that cloud had drifted up from the valley. Pockets of vis up to final pull to pass then got above cloud again. The top of the pass was a very special place for second breakfast. As we sat there a couple of chaps ran up, took a couple of minutes to stow their poles the ran down the other side. We were rather slower and were soon back in cloud.
Brief sunshine atop next pass then we passed a couple of dozen school kids toting day sacks adorned with off-balance loads of car camping gear. Most looked miserable. Some carried their tents or sleeping bags in their arms. Poor things!
Very steep descent to Lac de L'oule and sunshine whilst we had lunch there.
The next ascent wasn't steep but my legs wanted to stop. Finally it levelled out and the final 3km to the pass (along a very newly upgraded path, in place of the old eroded line) would have probably been a delight if we could have seen anything. As it was the clouds that obliterated any views found they could no longer hold their water. We were mizzled on to the point of needing jackets.
Just before the pass we picked up water for a dry camp. An hour and a half or so later we got to our intended destination. We ate M&Ms and debated the merits of going on. All arguments pointed towards staying put. We poked around for a pitch but decided the ground was too skanky so opted for the outrageously long day after all, finishing with 800m of descent (today was a very high descent day).
Taking a cut off between switchbacks on a road wasn't wise - should have checked map - turned out it was in wrong direction. Once back on track it wasn't a bad path down for the first 600m.
Arriving exhausted at the campsite (on the far side of town) we received the worst news possible after a monster day: they were full. Aaaarrgh.
A skanky little patch of grass was found for us. We may have had to pay for this skanky option (whereas the skanky ground on the ridge would have been free) but at least we get a shower tonight and, thanks to being further on than intended, a big lie-in in the morning.
I walked back to the supermarket to buy tea; a whole roast chicken, a salad for 4 people, a big pack of olives and a pan of smash has been consumed in the tent. Now for a shower, then I'm for bed. I'll try to resume normal service of writing in full sentences tomorrow (considering I'm struggling to remember my own name right now, I don't think I've done too badly tonight!)
Other random thoughts:
1) Is it reasonable for 2 people to eat half a kilo of peanut M&Ms in 2 days? It seems outrageously piggish but my calculations suggest that it is in fact reasonable.
2) Talking of food, I forgot to mention the abundance of wild raspberries and bilberries yesterday. Very tasty even if they did slow us down considerably!
3) Alan S and Alan R - that little tractorette - it was a Ferrari.