.............not all those that wander are lost..............

Friday, 9 September 2011

Yet more Serre-Poncon................

After Savines the tour of the lake on the south side gets a bit more serious and involves the Col du Morgonnet. I'm saving that for a really good weather day and an early start. The former might be fairly soon but I'm not so sure about the latter!

The further I get round the lake the longer the journey and more complicated it becomes to arrange the drop-off and pick-up points.

So for the next couple of walks I planned an overnight in a campsite to save on diesel costs. We packed up the van and set off for Embrun. Today I would walk the other side of the lake, so it was back to the GR 50. John dropped me off as planned above Embrun at Chateau de Calayeres, and left me there so he could drive round to the campsite just after Reallon. There he would spend a day sorting bikes and enjoying the sunshine.

The first part of the walk was a repeat of the last part of the GR 50 that I did a few weeks ago. It brought me to the point where I had descended the steep gorge into Embrun but this time I would go straight on instead. The sign told me the walk to Les Gourniers, which is about 2 kms further than I expected to go, should take 5hrs 40 mins. Whoops! I had told John I would be about 4 and a half hours. I would have to walk faster!

{Looking down on Embrun - the lake is already receding, revealing mud banks}

The route was on a forest track which climbed high above the lake so I was expecting good views. However, the one I got took my breath away. This is definitely the best so far. I could see the other end for the first time on this tour.

{Wow! You can see the Savines bridge and the far end of the lake}

On the way along the track there were plenty of wild flowers and butterflies to keep me amused even when I couldn't see the lake. A phone call from John gave me the bad news - the campsite was closed! He had parked there but with no water or electricity we might have to go elsewhere.

{Iconic alpine flowers - blue gentian - I think!}

A stop for a quick lunch was taken in the middle of what must once have been an Alpine summer village, called Clot Bouffier on the map. There were piles of old stones and ruins there and terraced fields too.

{Ancient clearance cairns - these fields have been cultivated for a long time}

The path plunged down and contoured around the hills until I was in the Reallon valley. Every now and then getting a tantilising glimpse of blue, the lake. I tried to take a photo of a buzzard hunting above my head - not very successfully. Then a singing, whining noise announced the presence of a glider passing close by.

{Is it a bird or a plane (glider) ???}

I arrived at the village of le Means, and the sign announced 35 minutes to Reallon. Suddenly I was climbing, a bit of a shock at the end of a walk!

{Reallon comes into view}

I met up with John on the road after Reallon. He was testing my bike - but it's still not working very well. Now the gears are wonky! It makes it difficult to go uphill - well, the gears aren't the only problem with that! I usually get off and walk - it's quicker and easier.......

After a short sit in the sun, and a long drink of cold orange juice, it was decided we would just drive home again. It rather changed the plan for the next day's walk but we didn't want to risk the visit by the Gendarmes if they wanted to move us on. Must be getting cowardly in our old age............

Viewranger stats: 18.7 kms in 5 hrs 10 mins - height gain 1872 m and loss 1690 m.

{A froglet hiding in the stones at the campsite pool}


Alan Sloman said...

What a lovely view of the lake. Looks like a fabulous place - and still sunny there too!
It's dull and rainy here with forecasts of worse to come..

Laura said...

Hi Al - yes, really sunny today (sorry) - even better, the French tourists have all gone home so it's quiet too. The downside being the closures of the campsites - doh!