For newcomers

At the bottom of each post there is the word "comments". If you click on it you will see comments made by followers, and if you follow the instructions you may also comment and I always welcome that. I have found many people overlook this part of the blog which is often more interesting than the original post!

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Saturday, 29 May 2010

Day 4/5

A nine hour day although fairly easy walking on forest tracks. It was raining when I set off but I was able to don the wets by about 10.30.
I arrived at Pradeles to find the gite d'etape locked up. I asked a lady and she told me the gardienne was in the process of removing. She then directed me to the assistant mayoress right down at the bottom of the village where I had just ascended from. Back down there the lady was non too pleased but we slogged back up the hill again and she opened up the gite where I stayed the night as the only occupant. This was self catering.

Day 5

Another long day more up in the hills now at 2500/3000ft. Pleasant walking largely wooded. Very small villages have little to offer and seem to be almost deserted. Water is always on the mind. There was a bad section of about half a mile on a forest track contouring on a very steep hill side. There were many large trees that had fallen accross the path with multi trunks and it was neccessary to climb steeply above and round them. This repeated several times making for very hard going. I am now at Labastibe Rouairoux where once again the municipal gite has been opened up for me. I have stayed another night here so I am now typing this on Day 5. The next section is about 40 miles with nowhere to stay - there are a couple refuges but they are still closed. I am going to have to wild camp at least two nights so today I am regrouping planning an early start tomorrow morning
I have now found that every time I make post it is costing me £4.49 so in future I will post only every few days.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Day 3

Wild camping last night with thunderstorms and gale force winds lasting three hours or so, but the Terra Nova kept me dry.

Set off this morning with no breakfast about 9.00. Walked to small village. No shop. Some French people introduced me to Canadian and his English wife who are resident three years there. Whilst talking there was a loud siren noise and I was told it was the travelling baker so I was able to stock up, what luck, I was taken to the couple's house and given tea, then a pork chop left from last night's barbecue done over old vine wood not charcoal.

Walked on with big climb onto plateau at about 2500ft then glorious ridge walking and down to this village where I am the only resident in the gite d'etape looking forward to the chop with instant potato and cup a soup.

News from daughter Jill at home is that Jake the dog has had stroke but is apparently recovering-I hope all is going well.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Day 1

A good start the airport wouldn't let me take my gas stove (there were no cylinders, just the Pocket Rocket).Then therre was a one and ahalf hour delay on tthe flight. In Carcassone I had to get an eleven pound taxi ride out of town to go and buy a new gas stove so I didn't get walking on the Canal du Midi out of C until 4.15.i I was told some people on a big barge would do chambbre d'hôte but theft didn't, they were Dutch and just renting the boat, but as always they are great people and they gave me a lift in their car to this village which is about three miles off my route which I will have to walk back on tomorrow.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Trebes

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Post discipline

This post is another practice with the application Blog Press used to post from an iPhone.
After typing the first word "I", and concious of the awful posts made whilst walking the DHW, the decision was made to delete that word.
As a branch manager at Yorkshire Bank Finance my branch was visited periodically by a senior head office official who we christened The I Man. Practically every sentence he uttered started with "When I,,,".
At the start of my blogging adventure my journalist brother gave me some advice. The most important item was not to exceed three hundred words per post - anything more than that, in a blog post, is beyond most people's attention span (including, after some observation, my own), unless it was written by James Thurber.
This post avoids the first person singular, which in itself imposes a discipline, encouraging detailed attention to one's writing.
My rucksack is packed ready for the off tomorrow including tent, sleeping bag, cooking equipment, and enough food for one meal, and tea and coffee for ten days or so. It weighs just over 9kg (app 20lbs). This is acceptable. Any more turns pleasure into toil, and that is only for masochists.
Last evening indulgent reminiscences took place during a call from Mick and Gayle (gayleybird.blogspot.com) who have just completed the Kent to Cape Wrath diagonal averaging over seventeen miles per day. They said they may join me for a day or so if I continue with my Lowestoft to St Bees Head walk after France.

268 words - (anticipating a précis from my brother reducing this to twenty five words).





- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, 17 May 2010

Dental update and a touch of Toad's "poop-poop"

Good news. The dentist has done his stuff. I also have a bonus. I can emit a superb ear piercing whistle through the newly fixed teeth.
When I got back I had an email from Tom bringing to my attention a Cicerone Press guide for The Pacific Crest Trail: two thousand seven hundred miles from the Mexican border to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington. I had also received my copy of Cicerone’s catalogue and note there is now a guide for The Grand Traverse of the Massif Central, a walk of four hundred and sixty miles or so which sounds interesting.
I happen to live only about ten minutes drive from Cicerone’s headquarters in Milnthorpe, and have been able to visit and buy “seconds” copies of guides there at much reduced price, so I think I will be paying a visit tomorrow. The Pacific Crest would be an exciting prospect if I was twenty years younger, although I think I may have some  apprehension about personal safety. Will it be dangerous to look at the guide?

Toothless travel!

Just a week t before I depart for The Languedoc and Cevennes (volcano permitting), and disaster has struck. A couple of years ago my dentist extracted one of the big upper front teeth and put it back in, glueing it to its neighbour. After a year it came out  and had to be put back. On Saturday night it came out again together with the one it was glued to. I have an appointment at 2:45 this afternoon to see what can be done. I suspect it may need some device constructing, and it may not be possible in the time available. If not I will have to go toothless and looking more than ever geriatric. This brought to mind the  Martin Amis autobiography - I think he had more trouble and expense with teeth than anybody else in history.
Another complication was contriving to arrive at Liverpool Airport for my flight to Carcassonne which leaves at 8:55am. The only option is by train to Liverpool Lime street with two changes, and then a bus to the airport, which is just not practical for that time in the morning . Liverpool has been featured as a European city of culture or something similar in recent years and the airport has become a serious player for tourist and business communication. Liverpool have spent multi millions on refurbishing their city - surely the starting point should have been to establish a proper rail link to the airport?
I have solved my problem by booking into a hotel opposite the airport entrance for the night before. If my flight is cancelled or delayed because of the volcano I can see myself putting up my tent somewhere on the airport perimeter.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Tech destroys creativity?


My posts  published from the DHW were atrocious due to my suicidal flirtation with technology. I had two options with the iPhone: Blogger Dashboard and an application called BlogPress. With BD there was no facility for “return” i.e. paragraph, and when I selected caps, lower case appeared, and vice versa. I persisted too long before using BlogPress which had none of these problems.
I found photos a problem - they have to be taken on the iPhone for the blog instead of my trusty Cannon, and you find you haven’t duplicated for the pics you wanted to post - it’s all a bit of a faff.
Coupled with frustration and the learning curve, you should picture me squashed into a tiny tent, lying on my back with failing light and ever present battery anxiety. I am not complaining - after much experience it is only what I would expect - I seem to have some innate requirement to find challenges to overcome. Hopefully the advantage of familiarity will be more apparent from France after 25th May, and posts may be more about content than mastering recalcitrant mini computers.
I did not back pack last year, being busy finishing the Munros, and suffering from an afflicted leg. I needed to reacquaint myself and test out new equipment, and The DHW, albeit a splendid route, was the appropriate vehicle prior to France, and the following proposed walk from Lowestoft to St Bees Head. I testified to the Golite rucksack and the Neoair mattress in an earlier post. There are other items I will omit, including one walking pole - I find that I manage well with one.
Having just converted to an iMac I await Photoshop Elements for Mac to enable resizing photos for the blog. Perhaps I will be able to relish yet another challenge unraveling this new version?