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!

My blog nick-name is SIR HUGH. I'm not from the aristocracy - my middle name is Hugh which relates to the list of 282 hills in Scotland compiled by Sir Hugh Munro in 1891. I climbed my last one (Sgurr Mor) on 28th June 2009


Sunday, 30 August 2015


Thoughts arising from The Two Blondes’ post:

Camping for me is  a means to an end. 

At 75 my view may be cynical.

In the 50s & 60s a gang of us regularly camped in Langdale for rock climbing and beer drinking, combined with that never again experienced camaraderie and “friends for life” atmosphere of youth, but when the Yorkshire Mountaineering Club obtained a cottage near Keswick we promptly re-located.

At best the tent provides versatility for backpacking trips because logistics place you in wilderness when you can go no further. Having said that, awakening on the shore of a remote Scottish loch surrounded by magic mountains can provide fulfilling compensation, and I revel in the romance of such (so long as the weather is ok).

But it is not always like that.

On my LEJOG I “wild camped” in Easton-in-Gordano on a posh village green and was attacked by yobs shouting and throwing things at the tent at one in the morning resulting in me phoning for the police - scary!

A wild camp whilst backpacking involves carrying the extra weight of water from the last place it can be obtained, or carrying weighty sterilising equipment, or suffering those foul iodine tablets.

Often I have camped at non-accommodation pubs, or in kind people’s gardens, when otherwise I may have slept under a hedge. I prefer to use a campsite with the comfort of lavatories in the morning. But that is not always the panacea one might expect. Many times I have suffered loud music, hooligan teenagers, and radios on badly supervised sites.

Mainly for reasons of cost, we had family car/camping holidays when weight and space for carrying bigger tents and items of comfort was possible, and that was ok, but we soon graduated to a trailer tent, then a caravan.

Camping in some countryside location just for the sake of it would have no appeal for me, but I agree with the Blondes, it is good to see youngsters getting out and about and having fun - we all have to learn.

Loch an Nid NH 083 374 on my LEJOG - 2008

Wild camp on a Munro bagging trip with Gimmer -1993 - the old Good Companions Major subject of a recent post. We were using the car, not backpacking this monster

Family with the trailer tent - circa 1975

Friday, 28 August 2015

Back to the sea

My mother was literary. she wrote novels (unpublished), and also serious poetry that was published in highly regarded limited circulation periodicals.

My father was an avid reader with an eclectic taste digesting books at a rapid rate that I envied - I have read plenty, but I'm a slow reader.

My brother, RR, who comments here was a successful editor of various magazines and has also written novels.

With that background I enjoy putting words together and strive to improve. I am no scientist, but I assume this affinity with arts and literature arises from the family's genetics So, now to today's Thursday walk with Pete.

Our route took us along the seashore south from Glasson Dock on a day of bright bright sunshine and sharp-focused seascape whipped by the wind into constant turbulent motion. I wonder if the oft repeated "we are a nation of seafarers" has a valid genetic connection. All I can say is that every time I walk close to the sea my sprits are lifted and I experience a kind of inner satisfying relationship.

Zoom to Heysham power station

Cockersand Abbey - the only bit left, Chapter House - built 1230. Ground-plan of church has been excavated to right of this pic, built in late 1100s.

Common Reed I think - any other opinion welcome
Coming into Glasson Dock - this canal links to the Lancaster Canal

One for my "Relics" collection

Tuesday, 25 August 2015


Here is the link to the slideshow of of my Canal du Midi walk.

Toulouse to Béziers, 10th August to 22nd August 2015.


Click on the first photo to start the slideshow.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Canal du Midi - Day 12

I am writing this at home a couple of days after my return.

I was able to get a good photo of the boat next morning because my canal path crossed to the other side from Colombiers onwards.

Two and a half hours took me to the point of departure from Canal du Midi at Ecluses de Foncerannes. Here there was a Tourist Information Office and they booked me into the Hotel de France in the centre of Béziers which involved a forty minute walk, again in oppressive heat, and after  more than 150 miles of flat, unwelcome ascent.

I had been given a street map, but it only gave main names and I was having difficulty in a maze of steep little streets. I was hot and bothered, soaked in sweat, and trying to read the map when I fell with no conception of it happening - at one point I was walking and in a nano-second my face had hit the concrete - I had tripped over a four inch high concrete strip - these were embedded at intervals to one side of the pavement, for what reason I know not.

My nose was bleeding, and a lady and a man appeared and helped and took me to a nearby water pump where I cleaned up. The lady departed and I was left with Mr. T (T for taxi - more in a bit). At first I was very grateful and thanked Mr. T profusely. When he learnt where I was heading he offered to take me. It took about twenty minutes to the hotel, and as we walked we chatted in French and he established I was flying back the next day and revealed that he was a taxi driver and wanted to get the job of taking me to the airport. I had already established bus transit details and wanted to stick to my plan, but he became ever more insistent, and I think he was mentioning a potential fare of 60 Euros. I found the change from my gratefulness for this guy's help to my dogged declining of his pestering very uncomfortable, but I was determined and stuck it out until we got to the hotel where we parted on a less friendly basis than our earlier meeting.

I had a siesta in my room then a wander round the town and a trip to the bus station to locate the exact departure point for the airport bus. I had an enjoyable evening meal to celebrate including a good cigar which the waiter had obligingly disappeared into the town's darkness to procure, returning with the trophy and refusing payment. I do not smoke, but I occasionally indulge in the pleasure of a good cigar, the last time being over three years ago.

Next day the bus didn't depart until 14:50. There is only one bus that day which relates to the particular flight you are taking, so if you miss it you are in serious trouble - Ryanair only fly back from B to Manchester on two days of the week.

So, I partook of sacred French déjeuner, but before that I was having a leisurely morning coffee at a tree lined square, pavement café watching the world go by and musing on recent events when my thoughts were interrupted by someone addressing me - it was Mr T !

I don't know if it was coincidence on his part or whether he had found some means of tracking me, but he started all over again with his sales pitch for the taxi job. He tried to unsettle me by saying there were three airports, Bézier (which he gave another name to), Toulouse, over 150 miles away, and Montpelier, perhaps 60 miles away, and he was suggesting that if I din't go along with him I may end up at the wrong one. Again I managed to fend him off.

French bus stations are organised much better than ours with electronic signage and clearly marked destination boards, and my bus arrived promptly and the twenty minute ride cost less than 5 Euros.


Inside my boat chambre d'hôtes

The boat next morning from the new side of the canal


This guy was propelling his infant by radio control

A Pierre-Paul Riquet - mastermind of the Canal du Midi

A bientôt !

Friday, 21 August 2015

Canal du Midi - Day 11a

Last night I had no option but to go back to the Restaurant Eclusier, the only other one looked awful - pity because Colombiers is an attractive town.

I was served the same amuse-bouche that they were doing at lunchtime, an unpleasant concoction of carrot juice.

Next I managed to choose the same mediocre starter from lunchtime by mistake. I had a Heineken in lieu of a pression, and pichets were not an option so I had to have a 50cl bottle of local vino.

I finished off reading RL Stephenson''s Jekyl and Hyde just to keep my spirits up.

Plat principal was chicken on a skewer with bits and bats.

There was a female singer and guitar player with I think something else electronic. They were churning out that strange French music which resembles jazz but never seems to dare go anywhere exciting. The singer was doing French versions of, for example, Hit the Road Jack, Fever, Mac the Knife, which became a comedy, and later as I was walking away, Zeese Boots are made for Walking.

Back at my boat I had good conversation with Domi (nque) getting the story of buying the 1923 grain carrying barge in Belgium and the five year programme totally converting it and sailing via rivers and canals to its present location. Fascinating.

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Thursday, 20 August 2015

Canal du Midi - Day 11

Day 11

Today is Thursday and my flight from Beziers is on Saturday pm. My plan was to walk six miles or so from Capestang to Colombiers and overnight there, then another short walk to Beziers tomorrow to overnight there.

Internet told me the TIC at Capestang opened at 9:00 am so i had a liesurely breakfast and pleasant wander through the town and a coffee. At the TIC they didn't open till 10:00 so I had to set off without booking ahead. After half a mile the canal path was closed because of diseased plain tree felling - all very sad, but also annoying. I diverted through residential areas then had to walk about a mile on a busy main road with no verges - one of the most dangerous road walks I can remember.

Back on the canal it was peace and quiet. As I was coming through Poilhes ( here we go again Gayle) a pretty girl sort of running coming towards me stopped and offered me a drink from a litre bottle of ice cold water she was carrying. I must be getting better looking every day?

Then there was a Scotsman coming the other way , the first backpacker I've met. He told me of more closed canal path ahead. When I got there I was firm and insistent and in the end the guy let me through. There would have been no feasible diversion for this one.

By the time I got to Colombiers it was 12:45 - TIC closed until 3:00 and everybody else lunching, so joined in at the not so good Restaurant Eclusier - pretentious and the pression had a medicinal aftertaste ( I have beer at lunchtime, and wine in the evening).

I dozed on a bench in front of the TIC until 3:00. The girl tried many options but everywhere was full and I was resigned to camping about half a mile outside the town, but from much practice I brought in the technique of not going easily, and sat a bit longer until she remembered there hadn't been a reply to her first call, so she said she would try again - one last chance. Yes, they had a room. It was on one of those massive barge houseboats moored about fifty years from the TIC. Whew !

The owner is French and his wife Gwen is Australian. He spent some of his life during what he called his hippy period in Cumbria making candles. They have made me very welcome and I am now installed in an en-suit cabin up for'ard with all mod cons and promise of rosé and nibbles on the deck at 6:00 before I go to the other restaurant - what a life!

More later.

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Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Canal du Midi - Day 10

At The Neptune they understood my reasons for an early start and I was breakfasted and away for 7:30.

There were bigger and better ex-barge boats moored up and down, used mainly as houseboats. Very few private boats seem to use the canal which had more than its usual quota of hire boats today.

I met a cyclist and had the best exchange of French conversation so far in terms of understanding, and being understood, then he found out I was English, and he turned out to be Spanish.

There was nowhere to buy food at all. I had some biscuits and a plum that had survived well from home - those supermarket plums never ripen properly, BUT I also had a tomato. I bought that a couple of days back at a little écluse (lock) stall - nearly as big as an apple, but with some brown markings so misguidedly rejectable by UK supermarkets, but the taste and juiciness was on the verge of overwhelming.

My destination is Capestang and I am sat here booked in at a relais - off for more food now.

Where another canal branches off to Narbonne

A very sad sight. Dead plain trees being cut down because of disease

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Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Canal du Midi - Day 9a

In the restaurant next door to my gîte I am eating. Unfortunately I have been placed at a table next to three English of similar ilk to the Carcassone experience, but worse - two late middle aged (businessmen?) and a femme. Admittedly they seem to have waited a long time for their order but for me taking time over a meal in France is akin to, well ...

Tout à coupe one of them jumps up and the others follow, the instigator proclaiming loudly that they are leaving because it has taken too long. At the same instant the food arrives...

(At this point I must inform that I lunched here with three courses of unique French cuisine, and tonight I had an entrée which was a sort of Blumental version of bacon and eggs followed by a marmite of Toulouse sausage, some belly pork, and other stuff which sounds revolting but was wonderful, and only the French can achieve. Ok? That's a major reason why I like coming to France).

...the English across from my table had ordered steak and chips.

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Canal du Midi - Day 9

From the chambre d'Hôtes in Argens-Minervois I walked the ten minutes into the village for a good meal. Most eating takes place outside but under a ragbag of canvas awnings for shade and protection against occasional rain. I notice smokers are counting this as "outdoors" and are continuing to puff away at the tables. There was a three generation family close to me and a guy in his fifties seemed to be attempting suicide by smoking. He smoked one after another throughout. A grand elderly lady who may have been his mother impressed me with her clear speaking French combined with with good humour and dignity, a true matriarch.

This morning I chatted with my lady host at breakfast and found this palatial house and its extensive gardens are supported by their proprietorship of the local vineyard. Domain des Maels. All their wine is AOP Minervois, none being used to make communal stuff, and they export to other European countries, but not the UK, although I got the impression they would like to get into our market.

Much evidence of felled plain trees today, apart from the loss of shade it takes away much of the character. Some replanting is in evidence but it will take years to regain its purpose.

I only walked about twelve miles and arrived here at le Somail in time for lunch. The first restaurant was full, and am I glad. I had an excellent lunch at the second including grilled avocados and goats cheese with an imaginative salad. I have booked in again for tonight.

I am staying at Le Neptune, a Gîte de France abode owned by a Belgian couple who come here for five months of the year to run this business. All very pleasant. Even in this small town there is a Tourist Info office and I have been able to book ahead for tomorrow at Capestang, which I think is more than 20km. I hope there's some shade.

A little café where I had morning coffee

Nearly all boats seen are hire boats but this was a characterful change

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Monday, 17 August 2015

Canal du Midi - Day 8

I was glad to be off from the scruffy wild camp. At a out 11:00 pm a herd of bikes arrived in the dark and set up tents nearby which was a bit scary. I met one of the party this morning and they were Spanish. He told me they had had a fair bit to drink that night.

Yesterday I met a Dutch guy on a year's sabbatical from his job in Montreal. He has cycled in England as far as Robin Hood's Bay and through France pulling a massive trailer.

It has been hot again all day and many of the famous plain trees have been culled because of a disease, so long stretches without shade, but the scenery is getting better and better with distant views of Languedoc hills on one side, and the edge of the Pyrenees on the other.

At Homps I found an info. office with a very helpful guy who spent ages trying to overcome his own faulty phone system and finally using his own mobile. He booked me into a chambre d'hôtes in Argent Minervois. Sorry the chronology is overlapping here and there on these last three posts.

I couldn't arrive until 3:00pm and on this shorter day was able to have a proper lunch of modules et frîtes.

The digs are in a massive modern house in its own grounds with huge beautifully tended gardens. Everything is immaculate for 50 Euros B and B.

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Canal du Midi - Photos for Day 7/8

How many boats can you get in one lock?

This how the French do it. Those middle class English bus travellers I saw in Carcassonne couple learn something here.

Across to the restaurant from my camp last night at Redorte

Argent Minervois where I am staying tonight (Monday)

View from my chambre d'hôtes window at Argent Minervois - all their garden to the far hedge line.

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Canal du Midi - Day 7

Canal du Midi - Day 7

From the campsite I took the ten minute walk into Trèbes centre around 8:00 am. I bought croissants and apple tart then went to a bar to buy coffee and eat. Eating food in a bar you have bought somewhere else is normal practice - imagine trying to do that in England.

Another thought from the Carcassonne day. I have seen no bird life on the canal except for very occasional ducks (predictive text wanted me to say "dicks") on the water, BUT I saw quite a few walking through C. I reckon even the French have to draw the line at shooting wildlife in the confines of a city.

I am walking stronger now. A lot of the day was overcast and cooler, but it became hot late afternoon. Getting nearer the Med I have been getting the odd waft of herbs. I had been told at the bar in Trèbes that there were hotels and chambre d'Hôtes in Redorte - a long march through this ghost town on bank holiday Sunday established there was only a gîte d'étape. A talk box with a button said your call woul be welcome after 5:00pm. The whole place was surrounded with high fencing. It was only 3:50. I did try the button to no avail. I sat on a seat on the other side of the road to keep watch. A garrulous old man (82) arrived and he told me there was another chambre d'hôtes up the road. I went to look. Locals told me I had been misinformed. I returned in the heat to the seat. At about 4:40 a guy appeared from the locked gates of the Gîte to empty rubbish near my seat. He told me abruptly the place was full and offered no further help. Why couldn't they stick up a notice saying "full" avoiding people waiting hours to find out?

I made the long walk back down to the canal where there is a lively restaurant where I told my sob story to the lady proprietor. She was terrific making various phone calls in between flying backwards and forwards tending to her customers. I have never seen anybody so energetic. In the end the only option was a gîte 8kms. away in what direction I never found out, but she was going to get her baker guy to drive me there, when he arrived, but he didn't arrive - it was now 6:00pm. I mentioned I had a tent and she was delighted, and said that people often camp on a spot on the opposite bank behind some trees, and use the public toilet adjacent to the bridge. So I was off to pitch. Back at the restaurant for 7:00 I had one of the experiences I come to France for. They have the capacity for you to have meal lasting over two hours without ever feeling that you are waiting or not being attended to. Brilliant.

The night in the tent was warm, humid, sticky and uncomfortable, and in the morning I had to re-master the art of using one of those mediaeval French stand up toilets.

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Saturday, 15 August 2015

Canal du Midi - Day 6

At my hotel I noticed strange holes high up in the outside wall like bullet marks. I enquired if they related to WW1 or 2, she had never noticed them before.

I ate well with a rice salad then lasagne, ice cream and then cheese accompanied by a demi of red.

There was a couple talking loudly on the patio outside my room until 12:30 which was a bit annoying.

It was thirty minutes walk back to the canal this morning, it was deserted again until I arrived at a café/gîte about 4km. from Carcassonne where I had coffee and a crêpe. That is only the fourth place anywhere near the canal where it was possible to buy anything in the 100km between Toulouse and Carcassonne. BE WARNED IF YOU THINK OF WALKING THIS WALK.

I was just kidding myself that I didn't need to use their toilet when a cruise boat pulled up and about 15 disembarked, about six of which decided they wanted to use the toilet and I had to wait for ages, so I had a second coffee.

A lot further on I stopped for a wee well off the path overlooking a river running under the canal. I'd seen nobody for ages and of course a guy turned up on a bike to start fishing in the river, so there was an amusing exchange of conversation. We chatted a while about his fishing and he told me was Algerian, but then emphasised that he was Berber not Arab, and showed me a bracelet withe appropriate insignia. Before we parted he gave me a handful of caramelised almonds to see me on my way

In Carcassonne I went to the Tourist Info. kiosk. An English couple, polished middle class southern accents were being served. They were speaking immaculately pronounced French but not making much headway. The assistant asked me if he could help me and I rattled off my enquiry about accommodation on my route and got an immediate reply. I asked the English if they were driving (they were toting one of those suitcase things on wheels). "No" they replied, "we're using the buses but it's not easy". "Well, it's all part of the fun" I replied. "Humph" was their response, and I departed merrily feeling some sorta satisfaction - don't know why?

A few kms from here at Trèbes where I am camping I recognised a boat on the canal where I had enquired about camping a few years ago when I walked in the Languedoc starting from Carcassonne, then when I arrived in Trèbes I recognised the restaurant where I ate after the boat people had driven me there, so I reckon I must have walked all that stretch before from Carcassonne, but remembered nothing until the boat. All the routes I have walked recently seem to be crossing with previous ones.

Today is a bank holiday and my visit to the TI office confirmed all other accommodation is booked up.

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Friday, 14 August 2015

Photos for day 5

They wouldn't go with the post.

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Canal du Midi - day 5

Last night was the proper French relais experience. All French people eating together. I had cassoulet - enough to keep a hungry randonneur going for a week.

The day was overcast with a hint of mizzle in the air, and much cooler. I was off for 7:30 and until about 11:00 the canal was deserted. Following the shorter day idea I peeled off at Villesequelande looking for accommodation and met a French family of cyclists coming the other way. The guy was very helpful and advised nothing available in that town, but confirmed possibilities in Pezens a few kilometres further, so I returned to the canal and plodded on with brightening weather and increasing warmth.

There are many French families who cycle together with kids no more than five or six riding their own bikes, and younger ones being towed along in buggies - the aforementioned had two youngsters in one of these contraptions. Many also use luggage trailers carrying camping equipment. So far I have only seen one campsite which did not fit in with the logistics of my day.

At Pezens I found the typical old roadside hotel run by an elderly matriarch. In the dingy bar one couple were waiting for food and a French guy who summed up the word hopeless sat at the bar drinking something strong. Despite the smoking ban there was a very strong tobacco smell - that seems to pervade all over France.

A room was available and I decided to eat, tucking away one of the best bolognaise spaghetti dishes I can remember, then off for a siesta.

This was the first place in five days where I could by a postcard to send home to Katie, BUT it turned out to be a national holiday in France and I couldn't buy stamps for the UK.

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Thursday, 13 August 2015

Canal du Midi - day 4

It had rained during the night and looked threatening when I descended for breakfast and had some good chat with le patron. Just as I was geared up to go heavy rain started. Le patron bid me stay and offered me a free coffee while I waited - there we go again Gayle.

Suddenly the canal seemed to have taken on an unexplainable more friendly ambience. Slight rain continued and the humidity was overpowering. In the end I put my waterproof away which kept my shirt less wet than the composting action that had been created.

Around midday the skies blackened and I was just able to get to the next écluse (lock) where there was the second place so far on the trip to indulge. I had coffee and tarte-citrine joined by some cyclists, outside, but under the sun shade, whilst a thunderstorm raged.

On the way again blue sky and hot sun appeared. The walking was pleasant and just bearable in the heat, but I find myself stopping for rests much more frequently than in the UK. The guy at the café had given me details of an auberge at Bram, but much nearer the canal than going into the town. That was good info. and I arrived here about 2:30. I've got a basic room about thirty yards from the main building, but it has a super little sunny balcony, so I have done a fair bit of laundry. This is a relais catering for lorry drivers and the like and breakfast is served from 5:30 am ! I'm hoping for some of that good basic French food tonight - we'll see.

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Canal du Midi - recent photos.

Some recent photos. I'm struggling with the Panasonic transfer system. They are not chronological.

The man who invited me onto his boat the first day.

Today - zoom to distant Pyrenees. 50 km away I was told.

Trying to get some shade.

My room in the auberge tonight - has its own little balcony. Very pleasant.

Walking round the canal basin coming out of Castlaudary.

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Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Follow on from last post

Addition to last post which failed a copying procedure.

There has been nowhere to camp so far and I can see this becoming expensive with the added burden of carrying all the camping stuff. So much for the experienced randonneur.

I am now trying to view this as a holiday without importance attached to completing something that gets ticked off, but logistics prevent short day walks - you just have to fall in with getting yourself to places where there is any kind of accommodation., which means walking only 10km or 25km.
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Day 3. Canal du Midi

It took me 40 mins. to walk back to the canal from my B&B on a vergeless busy road - glad to be still alive.

Just on the canal there was a rare water point, but I was already carrying four 500cl bottles, so just settled for a drink.

About 1:00 pm a little restaurant appeared and although the initial response was "complete" they let me have a table inside. The set menu had the plat principal including gesiers ( poultry throats I think, but never mind think I just don't like them). They agreed to frazzle some pork for me instead. I had arrived pretty well exhausted with the heat and when they brought my food I had nodded off.

That was the first place in three and a half days when I was able to buy ANYTHING on the canal. Anybody withy a rosy impression of magic little restaurants all along the way would be severely disappointed, as am I up to a point.

The meal totally rejuvenated me and I plodded on in fairly spry geriatric style, but after an hour I was reduced to rests every half an hour.

I eventually docked at Castlaudray and found the very convenient hotel du Canal.

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Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Canal du Midi - day 2

Day 2 Canal du Midi.

Off to a good start after communal breakfast at the Formule. As usual in France I am searching for camping gas.

After a day and a half walking there has been nowhere to buy anything.

Walking on the canal is mainly on a Tarmac cycle path with occasional possibilities of walking on alternative cinder track or traditional compacted earth. The views are similar all the way, but it is something, including the Tarmac, that I am happy with (not for Gayle I think).

I met a guy setting up his café around 10:00 am - he doesn't open till midday, but he told me about an Intermarché and a Brico about five kilometres onwards involving crossing the canal and doubling back half a km. I did this. The supermarket did not sell gas and the Brico was closed for the sacred French lunch until 2:00 - far too long to wait. I pressed on after buying and eating a grim sandwich from the supermarket having wasted petrhaps an hour and walking in all a couple of extra km's.

A bit further on I met a couple coming the other way two and a half months out from Rome walking the Compestella thing. They were Belgians and advised of a. SuperU and chambre d'hôtes 11 km's further on. It was bit far for me to walk on top of my kilometerage up till then, but they offered to phone ahead for me and book in so I accepted. Walking on this canal is about 95 per cent in the shade with the endless lines of famous plain trees. But for that, with present heat I would have no chance of continuing with this walk. The final mile and a half up a busy main road, and visiting the SuperU was at my absolute limits. I flopped in a chair at SuperU and slept for quarter of an hour soaking up the air conditioning.

At the digs I had a catalogue of good and bad news.

Yes there was a nearby "restaurant" - pizzeria - (bad)
It was closed ( perhaps fortunate)
But there was another (good)
But I it was a créperie (bad)
But there was another next door which was ok (good)

Mine hoste rang and booked me a table, although I had doubts whether I was too exhausted to eat, but I girded up my loins.

When I arrived it was Thai, but I had a good meal with lots of water and Thai beer.

The waiter served my plat principal and said " pour un homme sportif".

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Monday, 10 August 2015

Photos for Day 1


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Canal du Midi 1

Je suis en France.

I arrived Toulouse courtesy of Jet 2 from Manchester circa midday. I aim to walk the Canal du Midi and have a Ryanair flight booked back to Manchester from Béziers in ten days.

I took the airport bus to centre ville and leapt out when I saw the canal. A kilometre further I saw a filling station and went to try and buy camping gas. It was then that I found I'd left my wallet containing 400 Euros and all my credit cards on the bus. I did still have another few hundred Euros stashed elsewhere. A young girl customer took pity on me and drove me to the bus station. I spoke to another airport bus driver and he put the message out on his radio and my bus driver responded saying he had found my wallet. I waited another forty minutes and wallet and I were reunited. Whew ! After all I've said about my offspring.

I marched on down the canal in fairly hot conditions and by 4:00 pm I asked a guy on the tow path if there was a hotel nearby. He told me of a Formula hotel another kilometre further and then invited me onto his boat which he lived on with his daughter and dog. I was invited to freshen up and was given water and fruit juice and a pear, and we had a good old chat. I have cleared the main built up area of Toulouse so it should become a bit more countryfied tomorrow.

There is a restaurant just down the road - more later.

Photo transfer is playing up.

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Sunday, 9 August 2015

Test with Three SIM card

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Saturday, 8 August 2015

Why blog?

As I write here I have no concept in mind, but, perhaps by now, an idea is forming. Such is the mystery of mental process.

The cliché of staring at a blank page comes to mind.

Why should I bother if I had nothing to say at the outset? I can't answer that, except that I enjoy the process, much as others enjoy Morris dancing or composing clerihews.

I suppose there are similarities when one embarks on a walk, when unpredictable events and sights unfold as one progresses. and for which activity nobody, despite many weary attempts over the years, has managed to provide an explanation for the initial motivation and the subsequent satisfaction.

This Thursday's walk was defined the night before and I drove with the two Petes and parked the car on a grass verge with the nose up to the back of a road sign - that distinctive location failed to jog my memory.

We walked down the lane on Tarmac as far as the turning to Sands Bottom, then after a gate it became unsurfaced. Pete No. 1 announced he and I had been there before, and furthermore remembered a geocache we had found in a knot-hole disguised with a metal bolt. We found the location but the cache has been removed or closed down. Pete also clearly remembered the precise parking spot used today, exactly the same as previously.

It was only further down the lane that my memory gradually returned.  I have been able to trace the previous visit to the 29th May 2014 from the date logged on the Geocaching website, but unfortunately I didn't post here about it.

I have only a feeble notion of scansion, but here is my attempt at a clerihew.

Pete No. 1
Recalled previous fun.
I pompously demurred,
Which opinion proved absurd.

Just a pleasant garden with extensive views to the Fylde coast

Big zoom to Blackpool Tower 16 miles away

Nicky Nook summit. Our route circumnavigated this hill which we used to climb as a family evening outing when I lived in Preston

Sunday, 2 August 2015

For the tractor enthusiasts

Cribbed from Bowland Climber's blog. He is on a walking tour in Germany - I thought this one may be a bit more unusual, but I have zilch knowledge of tractors. I have cropped this out of the larger picture - it just happened to be in the background.