Date walked: 25th  September 2017

Distance: around 10 miles

Booking company: Sherpa Expeditions. Sherpa made all the hotel and bed and breakfast bookings, arranged transfer of our bags each day between destinations and provided detailed descriptions of each days walk and large-scale map sheets with the routes marked. It all worked perfectly; I highly recommend them. Here is a link to the specific walk we booked.

Maps used: I have also subscribed to the “Outdoors France” app. A years subscription of £19.99 allows you to download 1:25,000 scale  IGN maps (- equivalent to 2.5 inches to a mile). The app then allows chosen routes to be marked up and the phone GPS locates where you are at any time. I did have some problems with the maps when we were walking, though.

*****

Despite liking my room and finding the bed comfy I didn’t have the best of nights at L’Ancienne Auberge. It might have had something to do with the church clock striking through the night and twice on each hour. I should have put my ear plugs in. Breakfast, though was excellent; the weather was not.

It was raining steadily when we set off so we donned our waterproofs in the foyer, received sympathetic noises from a fellow resident and set off. My camera doesn’t like getting wet – it does weird things and then packs up so I only whipped it out when there was something quite particular to record.

First we needed to descend to the Vere Valley. The path was slippery and in places had been eroded so I was glad of my pair of walking poles.

GR46 from Puycelci, France, photographed by Charles Hawes

We can’t say we were not warned

We were once again following the GR 46 that we had picked up at Penne and as on our previous days it continued to be well signed. Our quiet road passed by what the notes described as a medieval bridge.

Medieval bridge near Laval, France, photographed by Charles Hawes

Somewhat redundant but still in good nick

I took a snap of Bob.

Medieval bridge near Laval, France, photographed by Charles Hawes

The rain has given him a halo

The Village of Laval had a church where we were directed to turn left.

Church at Laval, France, photographed by Charles Hawes

For reasons which now escape me  we turned right, tried two possible paths, decided both were wrong and then returned to the church where it seemed obvious then that we just need to go up the hill.

We climbed gently through the hamlet of Ligounie where some rather fine cattle justified a wetting of the camera.

Cattle at Ligounie, France, photographed by Charles Hawes

Breed unknown but very attractive

From here we were taken into the  woods for the next couple of miles; our path deeply rutted by previous heavy rain.

GR46 in Pech Nabonne France, photographed by Charles Hawes

But the path was quite gritty so not that slippery

The rain had become something of a storm with occasional bursts of thunder and lightning; always a wee bit scary when you are outside.

We emerged from the woods, unscathed, near the hamlet of Frayssine where one ruin was past redemption.

Ruin near Frayssine, France, photographed by Charles Hawes

There’s some good stone, to be salvaged though

From here  after a short section on a road…

GR 46 approaching La Capelle, France, photographed by Charles Hawes

By now the camera had got fed up so this was taken on my phone

….we had about half a mile in open countryside – and it stopped raining!

Countyryside near La Capelle, France, photographed by Charles Hawes

Kinda flat; this is the floodplain of the river Vere

La Capelle was as quiet as every other village we had passed through, but it had a great little cemetery.

Cemetery of La Capelle, France, photographed by Charles Hawes

What a great collection

Cemetery of La Capelle, France, photographed by Charles Hawes

 

For some reason I was also rather taken by a pair of boots.

La Capelle, France, photographed by Charles Hawes

I think it was the tools as much as anything

Finding a little bench by a house, Bob and I had a little break and took off the waterproofs; Bob was a bit disgusted with his new jacket – he was very wet!

From La Capelle we chose to take the suggested short cut, staying on the road towards Brugnac rather than a 3 mile loop through the woods- I think we both felt that we had seen quite a lot of woods in the last few days.

D 32 near La Capelle, France, photographed by Charles Hawes

In compensation we saw a field of sweetcorn…

Sweetcorn field near Brugnac, France, photographed by Charles Hawes

A fodder crop rather than for human consumption

…. some mushrooms

Shaggy parasol mushrooms near Brugnac, France, photographed by Charles Hawes

We’d seen remarkably few mushrooms this week

…. a huge caterpillar….

Caterpillar on road near Brugnac, France, photographed by Charles Hawes

Moth or butterfly?

…. and a fun millstone.

Millsotone at property near Brugnac, France, photographed by Charles Hawes.

Naff or fun?

So that was a good decision.

Brugnac was a tiny hamlet with a couple of properties with what I took to be large grain stores.

House near Brugnac, France, photographed by Charles Hawes

We left the road shortly after Brugnac, the GR 46 taking us up the side of the valley.

View over River Vere valley from GR46, photographed by Charles Hawes

We climbed gently into the woods, improving our views as we climbed.

View over the Vere Valley, France, photographed by Charles Hawes

When we reached around 900 feet our path flattened out and we had an easy amble along a wide grass track.

The GR 46 approaching Castelnau de Montmiral, France, photographed by Charles Hawes

As we rounded the side of the hill we had a good view of our destination; Castelnau de Montmiral.

View to Castelnau de Montmiral from the GR46, photographed by Charles Hawes

Our path took a sharp left descending on a minor road to cross a stream.

GR46 approaching Castelnau de Montmiral from the south, photographed by Charles HawesOn the way down a woman walker coming up the hill observed that we must be English – she was American so we were impressed that she realised this just from hearing our voices.

Our notes likened this countryside to Tuscany; I could see what they meant.

Property outside Castelnau de Montmiral, France, photographed from the GR46 by Charles Hawes

The pale soil and architecture of some buildings were quite similar to those I found (and which you might have seen if you are a regular reader of this blog), though in Italy the soil was much heavier.

The approach to the village was up a rough track. At the village walls our notes then guided us towards the centre.

Castelnau de Montmiral, France, photographed by Charles Hawes

We were staying at the Hotel Des Consuls, situated on the edge of the Place des Arcades – possibly the prettiest part of this very pretty village.

Hotel des Consuls, Castelnau de Montmiral, France, photographed by Charles Hawes

Bob’s pic: the hotel is straight ahead

Our bags were waiting in the large foyer and our keys were on the counter. As we climbed the stairs we were found by the owner, Marc, who was very friendly in very good English and saw us to our comfortable rooms. Damm. It seems I did not take a pic of the room. Sorry. I loved it. Top window on the left side in the pic. Here’s the view from it in the morning.

Market in Caselnau de Montmiral, France, photographed by Charles Hawes

They grow such good veg – why don’t the restaurants make better more use of them?

And here’s the view from the back of the hotel.

View of Castelnau de Montmiral from the Hotel des consuls, France, photographed by Charles Hawes

Yes, the pool was available to be used

We ate that night in the square at the Restaurant Les Arcades; our notes suggested no where else would be open. Bob had had a beer there when we arrived and had been unimpressed by the service. And this rather distant approach applied when I clocked up a few more euros against Bob at our pre-dinner crib session. When it came to eating, though, we had a much better experience, enjoying our food….

Meal at Restaurant les Arcades, Castelnau de Montmiral, France, photographed by Charles Hawes

Rubbish pic from my phone;mine was a wild boar stew.

….. and wine.

Meal at Restaurant les Arcades, Castelnau de Montmiral, France, photographed by Charles Hawes

A local

We had eaten early and as we were were finishing a noisy party of twelve Brits arrived which somewhat cut across the atmosphere. We retreated to the bar area, where the previously miserable barman redeemed himself by bringing us a cloth for our card  table. It didn’t help Bob, though.

{ 8 comments }

A 5 day walk in the Tarn and Aveyron area of France: day 3 – Bruniquel to Puycelci

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Date walked: 24th  September 2017 Distance: around 8 miles Booking company: Sherpa Expeditions. Sherpa made all the hotel and bed and breakfast bookings, arranged transfer of our bags each day between destinations and provided detailed descriptions of each days walk and large-scale map sheets with the routes marked. It all worked perfectly; I highly recommend […]

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A 10 mile walk  through upper part of the Ceiriog valley and its surrounding hills, encountering some very bad-tempered signage and some fascinating stones. Date walked: 10th May 2017 Distance: around 10 miles Map used: OS Explorer 255 Llangollen and Berwyn Guide to walks: Walks around the Berwyn Mountains and the Ceiriog valley by David […]

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A circular walk in the foothills of The Berwyn Range

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Copyright Charles Hawes (2012)