Now that I’m home I thought that it might be useful to say a few things about the experience, so here goes.
Compared to my walk on the Arles Way Camino last year this route is SO much more interesting from the walker’s point of view. By lunchtime on the first day I had walked more uphill than in the whole of last year’s trip and by the day’s end more genuine off road too. The scenery in the part I walked was wonderful in all directions and the way marking was spot on; the reason that five of us in a group got lost on Day One was that we all walked past a perfectly obvious waymark – talking too much! The accommodation along the way appears to be plentiful and various. There is one central section where I was unable to identify any accommodation in the section over Mont Lozere which commits you to at least one very long day.
What Went Wrong Then?
Actually nothing went wrong as such, I just got unlucky. The first problem was that after enduring a heat wave last year I had to do it all over again. On the second day on the plateau at over one thousand metres altitude the Tempe pick up on my rucksack recorded forty two degrees Celsius; OK the sensor was in full sun but you get the idea. This meant that I needed to carry a full two litres of water which added considerably to the weight of my pack. Somewhere on Day Two I also injured my shoulder, not sure how, but it meant that I could not carry a rucksack for more than a short time, certainly not for five to six hours.
As a result I went to ground in Langogne at the wonderful Le Modest Inn, which I thoroughly recommend, to see what happened. After two days there was some improvement but not enough to carry on so I had a choice of either taking a holiday in France or coming home; I chose the latter on grounds of economy, tempting though the other choice was.
One thing has become abundantly clear to me, that I am no longer capable of walking long hilly stages and certainly not in conditions of extreme heat. I need to remember that these trips are supposed to be a holiday and not an endurance test! Realistically I should have been looking at ten miles each day or thereabouts, with time available to take photographs, drink coffee or visit churches and chateaux. Family and friends have kindly told me not to get depressed or upset or to regard it as failure and my thanks to all of them but I haven’t and it’s not, the bottom line is that shit happens and you have to adjust your plans accordingly and move on. I would like to have got further but there will be other walks on other occasions.
Now that I’m home I can say that my feet, which I had such problems with last year, were and are fine and that my shoulder though still a bit sensitive is much better. Things have been unpacked and washed ready for whatever comes next so that’s it really.
Oh, and did I mention that I’ve got this really interesting idea for next year . . . . . . . . . . ? Watch this space.
17 September 2014