Thursday 16 July
I was a bit concerned yesterday's exertions might have a knock - on effect, but my legs felt OK, when I set off about 7.30am. The first couple of hours or so were all climbing, followed by a fine walk across various cols and hills, then down to the refuge at Belagua, long closed and now a ruin. Here I had lunch (soup with 2 handfuls of rice added), raided a stream for more water (which had to be treated) and set off for the main event, a long climb through a bizarre karst limestone landscape.
About half way up the sky suddenly clouded over, and thunderous rumblings began. This was not an ideal place in which to have an electrical storm, quite exposed, but I couldn't go back so I just plodded on and in the end it didn't amount to much, just a few huge raindrops and a lot of grumbling.
I eventually reached the top (2050m) about 8pm, and then walked down into the Vallon d'Anaye to find the source Marmitou, another natural spring as good as yesterday's. There was a Spanish girl there, and two young English men, named Mark and Max. Marmitou is a lovely spot, but seems short of flat places for tents, so I spent the night trying to avoid sliding downhill.
I have carefully avoided mentioning any of my walking equipment, in case it tempted fate, but fate has taken a hand anyway. . today one of my walking poles snapped. The bottom six inches just fell off! Since I was half way up a mountain at the time, I carried on using it as best I could, but later another piece broke off and so I am down to one now. This is unworkable, since I depend on the poles to protect my knees and for balance on difficult terrain. Also, the poles double as tent poles so no pole, no tent! I will have to see what can be done when I get to lescun tomorrow. .