Walk 21/2012 – Weekend in France

Sunday 7th October 2012

It had rained during the night, but was still warm as we set off after breakfast for a full day of walking. As we climbed up 200m to reach the plateau of whatever hill we were climbing, the humidity was very oppressive. I expect a picture will be posted to show how us girls dealt with this and is probably not likely to end up of the front page of Vogue. As we descended, the village of Autoire came into view. The traditional quirky character with its old streets, typical houses and small tower topped manors that we had come to expect, very much in evidence.

As the weather was still unsettled, we took refuge in an old school building to have our surprise lunch. The surprise being that you didn’t know what was in your sandwich, as we had just made an assortment, and it was potluck who got what.

Continuing towards St Medard de Presque, we managed to attract the company of another dog (some of us were having flashbacks of ruby) so we named this one Rubin, thinking it sounded French. It was only when we got to Chateau De Montal that we managed to shake it off, hoping it would go back home – after all, it did have a nice collar on!

The chateau was built between 1519 and 1534 for the eldest son of the widow of an Agen Seneschal. When he died, she immortalised her terrible sorrow by engraving on the window pediments ‘no more hope’. Which is similar to what Rosemarie told Moira when she suggested a look alike maze on their allotment. It is famous for its grand sculptured staircase of Carennac stone, furniture and tapestries, all offering a fine degree of comfort.

Back at the house and a well deserved cuppa, Roger took us girls for a walk in the opposite direction, while Alan had a siesta. We walked up a path, which runs beside the Tolerme, where it falls in cascades over the rocks. We crossed the stream twice on primitive wooden bridges, before the path started to climb steeply in a hilly setting, and finally brought us to the pilgrimage chapel of Notra Dame de Verdale, which stands perched on a rocky crag. From the crag there is a wide view of the Tolerme gorges and the Chestnut covered hills – the derelict wall was given a wide berth as a sheer drop over it. The chapel looked unused and we were not able to see inside. On the way back down to the car, Moira was finally able to get her souvenir stone for the allotment.

Report – Sue

Pictures – Alan

The girls participate in the lastest way of cooling down – going to sleep on a wall!
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We find a few scattered rocks for our coffee stop.
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A view from the top of the climb.
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Some pictures of Autoire.
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The Chateau De Montal.
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