Des vaches

Wednesday 15 June

Wednesday began well well with a hearty breakfast. I started to feel more relaxed and could sense that getting to the coast was achievable. Blue cornflowers started to appear for the first time as I climbed the usual hill out of the valley –  just enough gradient to stretch the sinews and open the lungs. I continued up to another delightful ridge walk with 180 degree views across the valley to the next castle. In the woods shafts of sunlight would strike the path and cause the water vapour to coil upwards like an ethereal beast uncoiling, stretching and taking flight into the sun.

A briefly passed a French couple coming the other way and soon a whole herd of cows with bells blocked the path. Then, what had started as a distant sound like wind chimes rapidly became the noise of marauding campanologists as a stampede ensued. I stood stock still as there was nowhere to run as they flowed around me. Cows have the whole countryside to roam, why are they always on paths?

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I carried on now in woods of oak, pine and spinifex, ignoring the danger signs. But the path was mud free and although it had slipped a little I think the adjacent mines were more dangerous.

I came past the village of L’Escale which was burnt down in World War Two by the Nazis in an attempt to flush out the notorious Marquis resistance unit. It was an interesting but quiet place with several memorials.

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The path continued past an airport used mainly by gliders to a perfect campsite by the lake under Puivert castle. By this point in my journey eastwards the weather was definitely hotter, the soil drier and the plants starting to change with many herbs such as thyme, olive trees and many new types of huge butterflies.

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