Friday 17 July
It is "only" a 4hr or so walk down to Lescun from Marmitou, so I had a lie in until 7am. This is a wonderful place to wake up in. . right near the top of a long valley, more than 1800m up, it is fairly narrow here with towering rock walls on each side but huge views down the valley to the cirque du lescun.
I set off about 8am, it was already sunny and starting to get warm so I took plenty of lovely cool Marmitou water. With only one pole and over 1,000m of descent I had to go slowly to protect my knees, or knee rather as the left one is swollen but the right one seems fine.
Lower down the valley the stream disappears, only to reappear further down near a shepherd's hut. You could see it was a shepherd's hut because it was totally surrounded by sheep. And, is this a pig? Three pigs in fact. The shepherd was there too, looking exactly as a pyrenean shepherd should: thin, weatherbeaten, gnarled, brown, with a huge faded blue beret and utilitarian (being kind here) clothing. He was affable, but spoke some weird mountain patois only sheep understand. His hut had no aerials or solar panels, an isolated life indeed, though I expect they must come down the mountain for the winter.
Below, a long path down through a pleasant beech forest, then a steep descent down a cliff to the plateau de Sanches, pleasant open area with streams and camping vans, then an hour or so's plod into lescun.
I had been told the hotel pic d'Anie was full, so what with that and the broken pole and the leak in my air mattress and my knees etc etc I was not on top form when I got there, but things soon picked up. The hotel was not full after all (I don't believe it ever was, they just didn't care to book a double bed out to a lone walker in case a better offer came along) and better still, just after I got there a storm began which has lasted the rest of the day. Good timing, or what? I went to the bar des bergers for a beer, pardon un biere, and booked in for their evening table d'hote meal (today, garbure soup, and confit of duck with lentils, and ile flottante). Not particularly gastro, but perfect for a hungry walker. Rain still thundering down ("Il tombe des cordes, " it is raining (stair) rods).