You’ll no doubt realise why this blog is hold – I’ve not been able to get back over to my house since the end of August, so I’m keeping fingers crossed that, with the roll-out of the Covid vaccine, I’ll be able to return later in 2021 somehow. But I’m so glad that I did get there for the summer break, and had the foresight to hibernate the house, ‘just in case’!
Anyway, in the meantime, it’s now coming up to eight years since I shook hands on the house purchase, a decision that has created so many wonderful and unforgettable memories, including my very first walk in the Meyrosse Valley in January 2013 (photo below). It’s nice to think how familiar this scenery is to me now!
I’m in Reims now, ready to head off to Eurotunnel at Calais tomorrow morning, my ‘quatorzaine’ form filled in (a good job it’s not the literal forty days of ‘quarantine’), and I hope I’ve not forgotten anything. The house has been shut down, still glowing in the sunshine this morning when I left it. I’m hoping to get there at the end of October, but who knows? I won’t be holding my breath: it’s anyone’s guess!
I’m sure the neighbour’s sunflowers smiled at me as I left… it’s been a good month there.
Tomorrow is the day I’ll leave here, in time to get back to Devon for my 14-day quarantine before I start work. So today I needed to do a reasonably long ride, even if a very strong northerly ruled out Vercors, or heading too far south (and thus having to fight a headwind home).
So I headed out west, over the south-west corner of Vercors, to Chabeuil, knowing that I’d get a stonking tailwind south to Crest. (I did!)
In fact, the morning clouds seemed to follow me all morning, and I only really emerged into sunshine a little while after Crest. But it was still a great last ride of this month-long break, and I’ve got no complaints!
I wanted to make up for the lack of views on yesterday’s truncated walk, and picked one at Châtillon out of a book I have here, as the northerly winds have made Vercors weather rather unpredictable for the next couple of days. It was a cracking walk, ascending out of the village, affording views over the Drôme valley at first, then descending under the gaze of the Glandasse. And no scary moments or anything desperately steep up or down, so kind enough on the knees.
And with a beautiful air this afternoon, and only two days of activity left here, before Monday’s departure, I gave up the idea of a lazy afternoon, and trundled off to the pretty little village of Espenel, to do a tour of its rather lovely circuitous circuit, which I’d not done before.
Yesterday’s Vercors walk didn’t quite work out as planned (we’ve learned that you can’t take dogs, even on a lead, onto the high pasture in summer), so here’s a bonus from yesterday: a few photos from a morning ride to Luc-en-Diois.
I’ve done the 92-mile loop to Dieulefit and back via Bégudze-le-Mazenc and Saoû before, and looked up at Poët Laval and thought it looked interesting. Well, it was interesting enough to win a citation as one of the most beautiful French villages (and there’s plenty of competition), and with the encouragement of a French correspondent, I thought that it deserved a visit. It did! It’s absolutely full of fascinating old buildings clinging to a fairly steep hill, topped off by the old ruined château. It would be easy to spend quite a lot of time here, especially as it has a couple of restaurants and a museum of Dauphinois Protestantism, and has lovely views too. It was definitely a highlight, but the whole ride was a joy, in any case!
I took a couple of diversions from my standard Quint Valley loop this afternoon – I know St Andéol-en-Quint quite well, as I have some English friends there, but I’d never been to Ribières (a hamlet near St Andéol), nor, even more interestingly, the relatively remote Vachères-en-Quint. All were extremely pretty, and quiet. Appropriately, the first things I saw as I approached Vachères were some cows. I knew I had arrived.
Today was another improvised day: I wasn’t quite sure what the weather was going to do, so I set out for an easy ride to the old village of Mirabel this morning: nice and flat, and an easy photographic subject, the old village being like something in Tuscany.
Then this afternoon looked interesting on the light and cloud front, so with less than a week left here, I decided to drive up to the Col de Rousset, to do a walk I’ve wanted to do for ages: to the But de Nève, whose pointed crête sits above the Col de Rousset tunnel. Only two hours, and an easy-to-follow path, but with the most breathtaking views!
This is the third time I’ve been to Nyons, home of the black olive (well, the French home), and the second time by bike. This time the route was slightly different, outward by the col de Lescou, and return by the Roanne Valley: 100 miles, on the nose, from Die.
The weather was unpredictable, but dry, not too hot, and no horrible headwinds. And a cracking route, with three proper cols to keep the climbing legs interested. And plenty of interesting sights too. A grand day out, though my legs might disagree with me slightly this evening…
The title of this post about sums it up today… with the weather changing towards possible storms this evening, and hoping to do a longer ride tomorrow, so just a few snaps from an easier day, staying close to home !