Tonight at 7pm, the start of curfew, we go into our third ‘confinement’. It isn’t unexpected as the signs were all there. Rising infection rates and, more worryingly, the increase of ICU beds being filled with covid sufferers. After the lockdown of sixteen departments and then three more, the time had come for the whole of l’Hexagon to go into it too. The first confinement prohibited our exercise to one kilometre from home, last autumn’s extended it to twenty, this time it is ten. We are facing four weeks of limitations and who knows how things will be after that?
Conscious that this was imminent I insisted we walk and picnic last Wednesday. The Depeche had had a small piece about the commune of Cressesac Sarrazac creating three boucles so I had downloaded and printed them off, tout suite. The violet one of 6.3km looked doable, the fiche stating it as facile with faible denivele. Hmm, more of that later.
The weather has been glorious all week and Wednesday dawned chilly but with the promise of high temperatures during the day. L’Hopital Saint Jean was the starting point and is an area we have only walked in once before when we took part in an organised walk that seemed to go on forever. We haven’t joined one since!
L’Moulin d’Antoine at the top of the high street opposite the school was where we found our point de depart. Bright new wooden arrows indicated our direction of passage and off we went.
Across the road and up (up?) a right and then left hand fork. Given that we had driven to the top of a hill to find the village that note about faible denivele was worrying me!
But nevermind, we were soon on a track with fantastic views across miles of the Causse and surrounded by small trees in blossom. These were called St Lucie’s cherry. Then we heard our first cuckoo of the year!
The violet arrows took us down to the main road and then up again before plunging down into a wooded and grassy track lined with cowslips below the village. We came out on a road again and parted company with the blue arrows we had briefly joined by a stone cross marked 1777.
Following the road (down) we took a left up (!) towards a lovely old farmhouse and past a restored pigeonnier that the fiche told us to observe!
From the farmhouse we took a track to the left and wound down (!) to another road. Up…! …to a gate where we were instructed to enter and view the statue of ‘Notre dame des Nieges’. Two elderly sheep stood guard by said gate. A level path to the Virgin on her enormous plinth. Narrow steps took me up to the platform where, to my surprise, I found myself looking down on the village of Sarrazac, known to me as a favourite lunch spot for my ‘ladies wot..’ group.
We had a biscuit break in her shadow and then returned to the gate. Up and over the ridge and onto a narrow grassy track between fields. Coming out onto yet another road, we crossed over and followed the sign for Champ de Lafon.
Once past a large house and garden this was the longest part of the walk that kept us away from ‘les routes’. But also the second steepest! A long drag up between mossy drystone walls with not many flowers but several small brown butterflies.
At the top the views opened out and we could see the church spire and village roof tops of L’Hopital Saint Jean along the crest of the hill across the valley..
Down and up, I groaned. Well, you chose it, replied ‘I’m only the chauffeur’! We followed the edge of a field full of sheep down to a road..again! We saw our first spring lambs of the season…sweet..
Crossing the road our violet arrow pointed us to a broad track running down to the valley bottom past an orchard full of dandelions.
Then, of course, it was up and up to the village centre. Once there we got to the crossroads and opted to turn up the main street for the moulin and skip the last bit of the violet path which was clearly going to take us on one last dip of the roller coaster!
Past the church where I heard my first redstart of the season and on to the moulin, a collection of farm machinery under a shady roof next to the boule pitch where we had our picnic..