Monday, August 04, 2014

Changing arrangements, dog poo and walks

I spent Friday evening in a flurry of changing arrangements. My youngest who, chez his dad, didn't know when he was coming home, and then later he did (more-or-less), friends from afar who were due to spend the evening with us, but sent a message to say they couldn't make it which I didn't get, and other friends who rang to suggest meeting up the next lunch time. In between having to think hurriedly about eating seeing as we weren't going into town in the end. Much time was spent on mobile phones.

In the end, it all sorted itself out, as it always does. We had lunch the next day with my DB's friend and his family, and dinner in Arles with my Aussie buddy and her husband from way back (1999) in Dallas. Before dinner, we worked up an appetite by walking along the banks of the Rhone, delicately picking our way between the smelly dog turds. They marred an otherwise very pleasant stroll. We also witnessed the arrival of one of those river cruise ships - not Viking - but a Swiss company. It was very very long, and did a 360° turn to berth competently at Arles. The passengers inside were all happily finishing off their dinner and I suppose were getting ready for an evening's exploration of the town.

We had a delicious, very jolly dinner at l'Autruche, choosing to sit inside as there was an Alert Orange in force and a forecast of hail stones... I think it might have rained a bit, but hail there was not. Today I saw that the storms had devastated certain villages in Ariege and further east: mud slides, gravel slides, raging torrents, the lot!

On Sunday we went to Corconne for a walk. It's about a twenty minute drive from chez moi, and we often go past it as it's on the way to Quissac, Anduze, Alès, and Sauve. I found a walk in a book that I bought before I was married - Balades: 52 itinéraires autour de Montpellier, published in 1993! We decided to do part of the walk through the Forêt de Coutach which would take us up through the cliffs above the village, past the Pont du Hasard, through a 'forêt sauvage' to a view point, and then back to a chapel and castle ruins which overlook the village. The walk in the book is 11km and takes three and a half hours, but we didn't want to go that far so decided to walk to the belvedere (view point) and back via the chapel, probably half the distance. To show how old the book is, it says to take the PR35, but it has since been renamed the PR47 which can lead to confusion and a heated discussion about being on the right path...

Cliffs form a backdrop to an amphitheatre around Corconne
Despite the book declaring there were 'difficultés: néant' (no difficulties), we found scrambling up parts of the path to the Pont du Hasard quite challenging and almost impossible if you'd inadvertently gone with a very small child.
Path goes up to the right - spot the yellow stripes

Difficulté : néant? Try going up this if you're not steady on your legs!

At the top. The tor takes up almost all the path!
The sun was in the wrong place to take a picture of the Pont du Hasard so here is one taken by someone else:
Pont du Hasard natural rock arch

Weave your way between the rocks
It was mostly shady, but still very warm (29°C). Once on the plateau, it was plain sailing on an easy path through the forêt sauvage of scrubby trees and bushes as far as the view point which looked west towards the village of Pompignane.
View point (belvedere) looking west, Cevennes in background

Two 'teeth' that form the top of the cliffs

Cliffs 

View from chapel looking north

View from chapel looking south, note Corconne's charming rooftops
The chapel was built on the ruins of a castle that was first established on that spot before 1000AD. It is much younger, having been constructed in 1858 with, apparently, a line of villagers who passed up roof tiles one by one to the top.
Chapel, still in use on Sept 8.

Many crosses line the path to the chapel

It's amazing what a bit of water will do...
We certainly exerted ourselves going up, and down paying careful attention to where we placed our feet on the pebbly path. My DB did his 10000 steps, according to his Fitbit Zip podometer (his daily challenge), so we were able to find a picnic spot once back at the car and enjoy our lunch happy in the knowledge that he could have a snooze and slob about for the rest of the day. 

I went to pick up my youngest from the station. Hurrah!

20 comments:

  1. Well, if it is of any help, is is 45C in Dubai. You were lucky that everything fell into place in the end. As for me, it can quickly become a logistical nightmare!

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    1. 45°C? Yikes! That's way too hot for me!

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  2. The best laid plans ..... but you rose serenely above the muddle. Bravo. :)

    Is the pitchfork factory still going in Sauve? Such an interesting visit.

    Sometimes I wonder who judges the degree of nimbleness and energy required to tackle a pathway, and can't help thinking they have in mind mountain goats rather than mere mortals.

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    1. I did think that it was a bit trickier than 'not difficult at all', that path, and, like you, wondered who on earth was responsible for classifying it thus. It was impossible unless you were good at scrambling!

      I don't know if the pitchfork is still in Sauve because I didn't even know there was one there! Must check it out. :)

      Best laid plans are too much of a temptation to Fate to intervene and muck things up I feel! :)

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    2. If you go to Sauve again, this place is well worth a visit - they grow pitchforks on trees. ;) http://fourchedesauve.free.fr/accueil.htm

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    3. Thanks Susie, Sauve is just up the road so we can definitely go and have a look. Looks fascinating!

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  3. Yes, classification of walks was something that puzzled me too....I would set off on something marked as sort of baby stuff and find myself scrambling about in no time - not to speak of the descent!

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    1. They are definitely not reliable! A tad bizarre really because people do need to know!

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  4. Shoot second time for eating my comment! better be quick!!!! French are like kiwis - they lure you in!!

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  5. opposite here - US say theyre hard and they're really easy.

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  6. Doing this weird spamming thing on you as comments time out! poltegeists (we left London because proliferation of dog poop - its so much better now though...)

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    1. Dog poop is a BIG problem in France. People think that picking up poop is for others and does not apply to them. So annoying!

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  7. No difficulties? Not if you're a mountain goat, but for us ordinary mortals it looks a tad testing. But the views were certainly worth the effort. That's some spectacular countryside you have there.

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    1. It is, isn't it? Such a fabulous area. :)

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  8. Gorgeous hills. They sort of remind me of those in Dover (white cliffs of Dover?). I understand your worries with dog poo. Walking around Berlin, one must use extreme caution as the smelly sh&t bombs are discretely hidden in the grass. Some pet owners clean up behind their animals, many more don't even bother. Shameful.

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    1. If you can't be fagged to clear up after your dog, you shouldn't have one imo!

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  9. Late to the party but I'm here now!
    So it all fell into place after all. Phew.
    I think I would have enjoyed the challenge of the walk but being prepared for it being difficult would have been helpful. Has the walk changed since 1993? An avalanche perhaps?! ;-)

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    1. I don't think it's changed actually, apart from the pile of stones being bigger. It's a path that dates back to medieval times so twenty years is nothing in such a time scale. :)

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  10. Pretty scenery - France does have a bit of a dog poo problem, though..

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    1. It does indeed, unfortunately.

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Comments are bienvenue.