Our saved bread and meagre breakfast provisions were all we had to get us going this morning. 24/7 just doesn’t exist in France in the country. We had a weather forecast for rain so we wanted to get a move on. The route was mainly roads to begin with and my right foot hates roads. Then the rain came, gently at first but soon it was heavy and as we were on the ridge sometimes we were walking through mist.
The little town we were hoping would have a bar had nothing so it was onward. We sheltered at one bus stop and ate mars bars and snickers! There wasn’t even a seat. By now I am feeling persecuted! But when the going gets tough the tough get going and we pushed on. I sang lots of motivating ditties to distract me from my tender foot.We had a brief stop at the beginning of the path alongside the Lot. At least it was flat. The rain eased off but still it was wet.
The path was rather charming, almost tunnel like until we hit some farmed fields. Then it turned to clay and we were slipping and sliding. Andy, Karen and I nearly came to grief but had jumped into the muddy field. It was Peter who took a fall. He fell into undergrowth on the river side (with stinging nettles) and was too afraid to move for fear of sliding into the river. His pack was too hard to get off with the poncho on.
We were a little ahead by now and decided to wait for him on a pontoon beside the path. He seemed to be taking ages so we were about to ring him and were getting ready to go back when a French couple, fellow walkers who we had passed and who had passed us a couple of times, walked by and told us he was coming. He emerged from the undergrowth with muddy bottom and knees, muddy rose in his stick but fortunately no other damage. The couple had pulled him up. He had thought if he moved too much he would slip down to the river which was very close to the path.
Glad to see him okay we moved off again. We saw a charming small village on the opposite side of the river but no way to get to it. La Roque de Arc
There was nothing on our path but shrubs and farmland. We came across a boat lock and a boat owner trying to get his boat up river. He sounded like a tourist who was not sure what to do to get his boat up stream. There are lots of locks on the Lot and the last one we noticed was quite tricky looking. They are usually at the end of a weir but this one was not completely separated from the river. A bit of skill required to keep your craft in that lock!
Our path continued into more overgrown shrubs and it began to feel unrelenting. Finally we arrived at Cahors and hit the first bar we could find for lunch, just before it closed. I think we looked so desperate the guy was too kind to refuse us. We made it easy by having the menu of the day and each plate was practically licked clean. Restored, almost, we asked some women to photograph us with the church in the background. Andy had wanted to go to some bridge which is iconic in Cahors but Peter, Karen and I were over walking with our packs. 7 hours walking today with only the briefest of stops and hardly any food.
It was nobody’s fault. The little towns are close but the shopping is done in different, larger places by car! There are just not many places open for purchasing provisions in these little villages, especially on Saturday and Sunday and often even Mondays.
We made it to Cahors and we are all okay, a little foot sore, over carrying our tents but happy and proud of ourselves. This was a tough walk of nearly 800 kms which has challenged us but provided fantastic opportunities to see different parts of France, away from the usual tourist haunts.
It will seem strange not hitting the road again in a day or so.