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Sunday, December 2, 2012

I had not met any other Pilgrims on my travels until Sauges. Having made plans to bus out of the snow and head south, I was amazed when two Swiss walkers turned up in the village looking somewhat worse for wear. Beckoned inside the office des Pelerins, it transpired Christian and Arnold had spent the last two hours walking just 2 km through the snow.

It’s strange how when you think a door has closed, another one opens. A plot was hatched for the three of us to bus out to below the snowline and see if a continuation was possible. As we drove over the Aubrac plateau I couldn’t imagine the snow gone, but sure enough when we dropped down into the valley the sun was shining and it was a completely different world and The Way was open. We said our goodbyes and swiftly got on with our Pilgrimage.

Riding in sunshine was a new experience and although it was cold, the colours were amazing and as I rode into Estaing my heart was lifted. A beautiful scene unfolded in front of me:

The view as I rode into Estaing.

It was hard to believe what I had experienced just 24 hours before and that the snow still fell further up the valley.

Estaing in the afternoon sunshine.

I have learned that the municipal campsites although closed are often quiet enough to sneak onto and pitch my tent and this is what I did. Another meal of spaghetti, Provencal sauce, pilchards and a hot mug of coffee saw me happily settling down for the night. I’ll do another kit review soon, but I was warm and dry when I woke in the morning to find the tent covered in ice once more and reflected on how glad I was when choosing my kit I had not compromised. I ate a hearty breakfast of Scottish oats and then got on my way, my next destination being the historic old town of Conques.

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