Tuesday 11th August 2015
It's gone 10pm, well past my bedtime, so I haven't time to write much, which is a pity as a lot happened today.
It was nearly 8am before I set off, quite late when I'm camping. I was worried my legs might complain after yesterday's exertions, but they were fine. This is another long day like yesterday, except that today the morning is spent going down, followed by a long up. I prefer climbing in the morning when the sun is not so hot, and legs are fresher, and both today's and tomorrow's legs are the reverse.
After about three hours pleasant walking down a valley and through woodland, I came to the intriguing hamlet of Noarre. A dozen or fifteen old stone houses plonked in the middle of a grassy field. Most of them looked recently renovated and one or two were in process of being done up,presumably as second homes. Overall, the hamlet looked charming. Some vehicular access must be possible, but I saw no road and no vehicles.
My friend Arlette turned up just as I was arriving and as there was a waterpoint there, we stopped for lunch. After lunch I set off again but had gone no more than 100m when one of my rucksack straps snapped with a ping, and I had to stop again. It was one of the shoulder straps, obviously crucial, and I had to set to there and then, and sew it back together again, a fiddly job which took half an hour or so. I hope it holds.
Next a steady climb through woods and open country to a beautiful, marshy plain with a stream running through it. Here a signpost and my guidebook said to turn left and climb up, but Arlette's (French) guide said to go straight on and climb a different valley. We decided to give this a try, and set off. It was hard to find a path, just an occasional small cairn, and clearly not many came this way. Although the going was quite hard, the valley was wild and beautiful. We saw several big birds, and an entire herd of izard. I was glad we had decided to go that way, thanks to Arlette's urging, and enjoyed the experience. Unfortunately it made us rather late for the refuge, which we did not reach until after 7pm. All was well however, we were in time for a dinner at 7.30 and I booked in for a bed and a breakfast as well. Tim & Pam were there too, having put their tent up around the corner, and also Elisa. Certascan was a friendly, welcoming refuge and the meal was excellent. It even had wifi (€1). Recommended.
Arlette is from Brittany. She is a friendly but determined lady, who has been doing the hrp in sections. She did the section after this one last year, and so tomorrow she will walk back into France and complete the hrp. Well done Arlette, and congratulations. You well deserve it. It was a real pleasure meeting you and walking with you. Au revoir.