I began the hike from the pretty village of Saint Julia-de-Bec. The previous night had seen a fierce thunderstorm and the morning was bright and fresh, perfect weather to start off on a hike.
After a mile or so of (very quiet) road walking I joined a track and gained a little height.
I arrived at the village of St Just and drank greedily from the public water fountain. The water was cold and tasted delicious. I filled my bottles and sat down for a while watching nothing much happen in the sleepy village square.
I passed families of pig boars , the young ones scattering at my approach.
At the next village, Bezu, I sat in the inside porch of the church to take cover from the ever increasing heat of the sun.
And then, turning a corner, I saw for the first time the mountain of Bugarach, my destination for the day.
I found a nice spot to brew up a cuppa tea.
A couple of hours later I arrived at the village of Bugarach. I walked on down to the campsite only to find it fully booked for the night. Ah…never mind, I’d pitch up for a wild camp on the mountainside instead.
Before heading off towards the mountain, I made my way down to the village lake and took a refreshing dip in the cool water.
And made another cuppa tea, obviously.
I spent some time looking for a good pitch on Bugarach mountain.
I set up camp, watched the sun set into the west and then fixed dinner: tinned cassoulet, surprisingly tasty as it goes. The only thing missing was some wine.
I went off to sleep only to wake an hour later on hard ground. Yes, my ultra-light sleeping matt had sprung a leak. I blew it up again and went back to sleep.
This performance was repeated on the hour, every hour, until 6am. Ah well, at least I managed to get back to sleep almost immediately each time (and I got to see the fantastic starry night sky!).