No alarm clock this morning, even though I hadn’t had to share the room with anyone. I was awake just after 7am, more blister plasters fitted, extra talc used, paid, stamped and I’m off!
Well bugger me within 100m I’m having to ascend the wall of the gorge, I’ve been walking twenty minutes and already I’m walking dolly steps. Half an hour, I stop and eat a dry pain au chocolat. Ten minutes later I’m out of the gorge but still climbing, oh my poor feet. Over the next 7km (approx), I’m gradually climbing from an average of 600m (above sea level) to over 1000m. I’ve been overtaken by every pilgrim that set off after me, French, Swiss, luckily no other English…
Within the first couple of hours of walking the suns warmth overcame the winds, and so, like a geek, I unzipped the trouser legs, I even took off my coat. I donned sun cream despite now being cold. As soon as I set off again the three stone backpack soon warmed me up again. By lunch time I’d arrived in the larger town of Saugues.
As I entered the town I came across some amazing wood carvings, but one stood out from the rest, it was a carving of le Bête du Gevaudan. For as long as I have wanted to walk this route, I have also been intrigued into the history surrounding the beast of Gevaudan. Often blamed on a wolf, as they inhabited the region back in the 18C, or a lynx that was killed some years later, but between the dates of 1765 – 1768 at least 50 people were killed, mainly woman & children.
I had planned to stay in Saugues tonight but being here so early I decided to push on despite the pain from my feet (and chaffing). Within the next hour I started to regret my decision. The next village was La Clauze, 7km away and supposedly no place to stay. The closest being another 2.5km after that in Le Falzet.
I took my time trying not to walk on my right heal, damn it hurts. I arrived in the small village of La Clauze to find there was a gite d’etape, great news, if it’d been open. This place looks so tranquil as well. I soldiered on to the two buildings that were Le Falzet. One organised the accommodation, the other sold cold drinks to thirsty pilgrims. I stopped at both.
For dinner I munched on some crusty French bread, dry cured sausage and local Cantal cheese, sounds nice & local doesn’t it. Add to that a cup of green tea and a chicken complan and voila, my meal is complete.
Finally off with the boots. Left foot, blister on ball of foot disappearing, good news. Right foot, ouch…ball of foot fine, blister seems to have calmed and reduced, however the blister on my heal, oh my god, it’s big, and it’s grown around to my outside heal. I have no choice but to do the needle trick. Me being me, I decide not to leave the thread in the blister to act as a wick, oh no, I just ease the discoloured juice from my skin, rolling my heal to extract it all. Let’s see how that is in the morning? After all, if that’s ok all I have to worry about are my cramped calf muscles and some serious chaffing.
Nine o’clock and it’s time for bed… Hopefully soon I’ll find a wireless signal so I can update wordpress with going bankrupt using my roaming charges…