The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Friday, 29 July 2016

Day 18 Col de Cirère to Arles-sur-Tech

Friday 29 July
8 or so miles, almost no ascent
Wall-to-wall sunshine and hot with it.

Our pitch last night was a good one:

And when I nipped out to use the en-suite at ten to ten, this was how the view looked over to the west:

Unfortunately we weren't quite positioned so that the sun got to us before 7.30 this morning, thus the first we felt of its rays was as we descended the eroded, plates-of-ball-bearings path down to Batère. There we found that there is now an Aire de Bivouac about a minute before the gite, so rather than Mick backtracking for water yesterday evening we could have gone down there, had a meal at the gite and camped. We would have missed out on an excellent high camp, though, so there was no kicking ourselves.

Down was the theme of the morning (1500m of it), with just a couple of gentle ups thrown in for good measure. First there were eroded paths where many a slip (but no falls) were had, then came the overgrown paths, then the eroded and overgrown, then we were largely on forest tracks. Suddenly the surroundings had changed too - the lush greenery had been replaced by much more arid looking terrain.

By the time we reached Arles-sur-Tech it was HOT. Up there with the temperatures we experienced for the first week out of Hendaye last year, but of which we have only so far had one brief glimpse this year. We're not accustomed to hot, and the rest of the day was to be uphill.

Sitting on a bench in the shade just across the road from the town’s Spar supermarket, where we were to restock, I did a bit of Internet research on flights home next week and whilst I was at it I looked at what accommodation was available nearby. The one hotel in Arles had one room remaining. It doesn't have great reviews, but it was conveniently located, so in we fell, declaring ourselves as having a half day.

Plugging my phone in to charge was the first priority (search the plug socket - one was finally located up by the wall-mounted TV), showering was next and clothes washing came third. Seven changes of water for the socks and still it was mud coloured.

An hotel room last updated in around 1932, with a single plug socket retrofitted (via surface trunking) for the recent addition of a TV)

Food has been bought for our last leg of this trip. A paper map has not been bought (we're almost off the edge of No 10 and that's the only one I can find in town). Flights home have been booked, as has an hotel in Toulouse. All we need to do now is to finish the walk on schedule...

(Incidentally, today I finally found the bag of soap flakes that I've been carrying for the last 18 days. I knew I'd packed them and it seemed ridiculous that they could hide so long in a 46 litre pack, but it took until today to locate them, masquerading as a bag of toilet paper.)

1 comment:

  1. Enjoy the last section, you are in our day walking territory when we stay at Argeles. A lovely part of the world, but a bit prone to fires.
    Your trip seems to have gone very quickly! I suspect something more leisurely with Colin will come next...