Thursday 16 June
I left the campsite feeling a little fuzzy headed after a tad too much of the local wine last night. What I thought was a duck on the lake turned out to be a large coypu swimming around. The lake looked beautiful with mist rising off it and Puivert castle was framed by the rising sun.
I got to the castle early, but the young ticket keeper with heavily nicotine stained fingers let me in anyway and I had the place to myself. He had advised me to use the torch on my phone on some of the darker towers staircases.
The sky was slate grey and with crows flying overhead created an Edgar Alan Poe atmosphere. It was all remarkably preserved, including the keep, the dungeon, the guard room and the music room with statues of medieval musicians playing various instruments built into the vaulted ceiling. It was also a relief to get the rucksack off, if only for an hour.
The walk continued along the contour to the pretty village of Coudon where the path splits allowing a southern route to Lapradelle-Puilaurens, but I chose the northerly route towards Rennés-le-Château. Onwards, the path descended across a U-shaped valley and then up into some woods. Over the ridge the climate seemed to change dramatically to a dry pine forest and had a much more Mediterranean feel to it. The air was warm and the path was good. I disturbed some sort of mouse which hopped lazily into the undergrowth as I walked down into the large town of Quillan.