I left Duilhac at 7.30, passing by the little shop on the way to pick up some bread and a big ripe peach. I climbed for a short while and could soon look back see the castle and village perched underneath.
I passed through vineyards…
I was escorted into the nearby village of Cucugnan by a friendly dog. I was looking forward to reaching Cucugnan, as I was longing for a decent coffee and hoped to find one there.
A restaurant was open, did they have coffee? Why of course they did!
I settled back and waited for the drink with some anticipation. Would it be drinkable? Oh I so hoped it would be!
And, dear reader, the coffee was a delight, the location was a delight, all was good in the world in the lovely village of Cucugnan.
Fortified by my coffee I left the village and started the ascent towards the Cathar fortress of Quéribus. The climb was was steep, the sun was out, the temperature was rising.
After 90 minutes or so I had my first full view of Quéribus .
It was an impressive sight but so, unfortunately, was the car park, shop and queue of tourists lined-up to visit the castle. I was feeling a bit hot and bothered (again!) by this point and really couldn’t face the queue and final climb up to the top of the hill.
So instead I sat on the shop’s ‘customers-only’ bench, drank heavily from my water bottle and admired the castle from below.
The last section of my hike was a five mile descent to the town of Maury where I would catch a bus back to Quillan.
While planning the hike back at home I’d found some walking guides drawn up by a resident of Maury. One of these detailed a footpath from the town to the castle, I had translated this and printed it off for precisely this moment.
However, I looked around for a while but could find no trace of the path which meant I had to take the road down.
The first part of the descent was fine as I had some great views to keep me going.
But as I reached the valley the heat became oppressive and I longed for the town to appear around each corner. I had finished my water by this time and only my hearty singing of marching songs kept me going.
I reached Maury in the baking early afternoon. The bus came quickly. I arrived in Qullian an hour later, took a seat at a bar and downed a delicously cold beer. A perfect end to an excellent hike on the Sentier Cathare.