Saturday, 12 November 2016

Saturday 12 November - Mont Aigoual and Méjannes-le-Clap

Where’s Colin? He’s at the Municipal Aire in Méjannes-de-Clap.

With the temperature forecast to drop to freezing last night, we left the heating on with the thermostat set to its lowest level, not for our own comfort (we can withstand far lower temperatures than that without the need for heating) but to ensure we didn't incur any frost damage to our water system. The problem with leaving the heating on is that the fan motor sits about a foot away from my head, so even with it on low, it wakes me up when it kicks in. It wouldn't be so bad if it kicked in at a lower temperature, but the bottom end of our thermostat equates to 6.9 degrees and once we've hit that point the fan will keep kicking in and out as we gain and lose half a degree of warmth. The solution, I've decided, is that when it wakes me, I turn it up high and give the interior a significant blast of heat for twenty minutes to half an hour, then turn it off, hoping that Colin's insulation then holds that heat in for long enough to see us through to morning. It was 6.1 degrees as we woke this morning, by which time an hour had mysteriously disappeared (my alarm went off at 7, I switched it off and when I clicked the heating on three minutes later it was somehow five past eight).

The overnight temperature was the only reason we didn't spend last night at today's first point of interest. The associated clear skies were also why I decided that it was worth the 80km out-and-back detour to go to Mont Aigoual this morning. Standing at 1567m, it's apparently said that you can see a third of France from its summit, so with excellent air clarity I deemed it worth the extra driving.

We were certainly glad not to have spent the night up there. With evidence of recent snowfall, a frost and a brisk, biting wind, when we ventured out of Colin to the viewpoint I was wearing four long-sleeved layers as well as hat and gloves and I can't say I overheated.

The views were as good as promised and, having taken the metal spiral staircase up to the viewing tower of the meteorological centre (that's the not-very-prominent tower in the right in this snap)...

...we could clearly see Pic du Canigou, the summit of which we visited on our Pyrenean walk earlier this year...

Not so obvious on a little snap, but it was with the naked eye

...and in the other direction the snow-topped Alps were also clearly visible:

but, again, not so visible in my photo

Having arrived when it was still quiet, by the time we'd second breakfasted and looked around, lots of other people were arriving, although judging by the amount of car parking available, today was almost dead compared to what it must be like on a summer weekend.

Pausing only for bread in a village store on the way, back to Florac we went, thence to Méjannes-le-Clap. Or, to put it another way, from a town which screamed 'FRENCH!' to one so the opposite that if deposited here by aliens, I would struggle to say what country I was in. The entire village seems to comprise Mediterranean-style villas, on individual, large, fenced-in plots, with many of the plots patrolled by vocal dogs.

Aside from being vaguely on our way to our next point of interest, what drew us here was the description in the Aires book which told us that there is a multitude of walking routes straight from the car park. They weren't wrong! There are dozens of options through the local scrub forest. We went for a couple of strolls this afternoon, first to loop around and through the village then to do a recce of a potential running route for the morrow (too uneven and rocky/stony a path was the verdict - we'd spend the whole time staring at the ground and would be forced to go slowly), and my observation was that it's a bit like Cannock Chase, but in a Mediterranean sort of way.

1 comment:

  1. I seem to have got a little behind (I wish!!) All caught up now 😁