The weather has changed and we must adapt however reluctant to let go of the warm days and life outside. Our garden furniture has been packed away, the pool emptied and stored, wood has been cut and the stove lit. I was like a bear with a sore head for a day or two but now I’ve relaxed into it, pulling on a jumper and rummaging for socks while stowing the summer shorts away.
This week’s walk had to be adjusted too. Monday was but Tuesday was fine albiet chilly first thing. It being the fourth Tuesday of the month I wasn’t needed at secours populaire as it was closed so the day was ours.
Enjoying walking near water but facing the challenge of only an hour’s drive away I was pleased to remember the Lac du Causse near Brive. Some years ago friends in the village with a young family used to enjoy visiting this particular ‘lac’ for its beach and water sports. It sounded fun but, as himself said, probably heaving in the summer. The upshot is that we had never explored it. But we were about to.
The drive to Brive is one we regularly undertake for medical appointments or for shopping we can’t do locally. It is also the first part of the journey north to Calais to visit family and friends in blighty, not something we can contemplate in the present environment. We could go but would have to isolate for the entire visit thus rendering the exercise entirely pointless. But, these walks are intended to lift our spirits so onwards.
I knew there were several car parks around the lake and it didn’t really matter where we left the car as we would circle back to it. ‘i’m only the chauffeur’ put into the gps the village of Lissac-en-couze which turned out to be a very pretty place with an interesting chateau with the church built into one wall. Somewhere to explore? Leaving the village we turned down a road with a big welcome sign and found ourselves at the ‘base de loisirs’ where there were several buildings, a large but empty marquee and jetties leading out over the water. A girl parked nearby was unloading some sort of skiff and carried it onto a jetty. Sadly, we walked away from the jetties before she left so I have no idea exactly what it was except she had a paddle!
We were on a muddy beach with a rising grass bank with trees and decided to walk to our left. There were several signs with instructions on what was and wasn’t permissable and giving directions for the tourist office, first aid post etc. All very well organised for the summer hordes. Passing a building opposite a strange structure out in the water, (for competitions? mused himself) we came to the ‘beach’ proper. A huge curving crescent in front of a grassy bank with lots of shady trees and picnic tables. A crocodile of small children came towards us with their teachers and were instructed to say ‘bonjour’. We bonjoured but also good morning-ed and got a giggly response from a few and even a ‘how are you?’, the standard English greeting with requisite response of ‘I’m fine’, a particularly tortuous form of words for a French child to pronounce!
We were nearing the eastern end of the lake where there is the Moulin de Couze, a pretty building out in the water and named after the stream that runs into the lake at that point.
We began to walk away from the water and under the trees past a large carpark. A little further on there was a stone bridge over the Couze on our right and the path leading back around the top of the lake.
Just before the bridge had been a sign for a much longer walk that ran up and around the hills.. not until we are much fitter!
The path was still at a distance to the lake but was attractive and undulating, with meadows to our right and a slope down to the water on our left. Lots of space for children to run about and for picnics on the grass. I was beginning to understand the attraction of the place.
Out in the open and with the sun making more of an appearance we were both beginning to feel warm so stopped to strip off a layer. A couple passed us walking in the opposite direction….more of them later!
And so the walk continued in similar fashion. Gently rising and falling, sometimes near the water and sometimes further away, under the many trees or in a sunny space. It was lovely and I dawdled, taking photos of seedheads and views and enjoying being outside in a beautiful space.
There were always sounds of some sort, birds close by but sounds further away. The village of Lissac is on a hill above the lake as is the main road along that side so the sounds carried across the water. At midday it was church bells which set off some dogs barking!
Plus Lou had installed some sort of walking app on his phone which meant that intermittently a female voice told him how long he’d been walking and how far amongst other things. Actually, quite useful as I had had difficulty finding out the distance and just had a blogger’s estimate of seven kilometres.
Just about now we came across a lone disabled toilet, perfectly placed for my needs! Normally I have no compunction about watering some woodland spot but this footpath didn’t have many secret places and there was the occasional jogger or fellow walker happening by! The door was ajar so I was in and out without having to touch anything (compost loo) and always carry handgel. This place was definitely growing on me.
We came to the village des vacances where a handy noticeboard showed we were about halfway round from our starting point. There was a restaurant, closed, and a waterskiing school, also closed. Several boats were tied up by the jetties.
Now we were walking towards the western end of the lake with its dam and the path came much closer to the water. There were some beautiful plane trees with their amazing patchwork bark.
I was mesmerized by the ripples under the foliage and he carpet of fallen leaves declaring autumn is truly here.
About now a couple came towards us and we all smiled in recognition. We had passed each other at the other end of the lake. Fast walkers, we decided, or we’re just very slow!
At the dam end you walk alongside the road for a short time. Never a pretty place on a man made lake but at least the overflow system was a pretty flower shape. An inspired piece of engineering!
During my earlier Google ‘earthing’ of the lac I had decided the car park near this end was the prettiest for our lunch and so it was.
Not many picnic tables, grunted himself, as we hadn’t brought our own, judging it a bit nippy for a formal lunch ‘a table’. But it was much warmer now.
The path was more level this side and we noticed a campsite up on the hill beside us. I bet there are lovely views from up there and there are as we discovered later.
Lou’s ‘woman’ announced he’d walked seven kilometres so my blogger was a bit out. But we were soon walking up behind the buildings of the ‘ base des loisirs’ from which came the excited chatter of small children. As we sorted ourselves out back at the car, a school coach carefully reversed down the approach road to collect them.
We watched a jogger prepare herself and we set off to find ‘my’ picnic spot. The main road climbs up and offers spectacular views of the lake set amid its hills and then drops down to our chosen car park. Both tables were empty so we sat in splendid isolation in the sunshine….until a fisherman arrived and wished us bon appetit as he set himself up on the lakeside. And then our lady jogger panted past…..
A very pretty walk and one I hope we do again but maybe anticlockwise next time?