Tuesday, 25 June 2002
Distance 25 kms.
Map 57 of the
Topo-Guide (Ref 651) Sentier de Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle Le Puy/Aubrac/Conques/Figeac
Topo-Guide (Ref 652) Sentier de Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle Figeac/Cahors/Agen/Moissac
Leaving the underpants in a tree for the farmer to do what he liked with, covering my poor heels with used bandaids, and retrieving my boots from the bushes, we marched off at about 8, taking a dead straight road towards Saint-Félix, to avoid a series of tortuous and probably soggy lanes.
At Saint-Félix the school children were arriving from the surrounding farms, but we were too early for the bar. My feet were agonising, so I took off one pair of socks and the improvement was immediate. My boots must have stretched with the wetness and the four pairs of socks yesterday. I had no further trouble with them.
About an hour later, half a kilometre past Ravanel, the GR65 began its descent to Figeac.
Many walkers spend the night in Figeac and it is the starting point for the variant via Rocamadour, but as we were going further than that, we took the alternative route (also indicated by red and white GR marks), which kept to the high ground above the town.
The appearance of a truckies’ café filled us with joy, although it was no oil painting. Thus fortified, we went on a little and ate our unvarying lunch of bread and cheese within sight of both rivers, airing our feet in the sunshine.
Soon afterwards we came to the village of Faycelles, as smart as a film set, where all hint of poverty and decay has been swept away. Pots of flowers graced the freshly paved streets and there was a large cafe full of pale, hearty British tourists.
Oddly enough, the World Cup semifinal was being shown in the bar. Ever since France failed to qualify some weeks earlier, the World Cup had dropped out of the national consciousness, but this semifinal, between Germany and South Korea, was a chance for the French to indulge in the schadenfreude of a German loss. It did not eventuate, to general chagrin.
We bought a tin of ratatouille and a large packet of bandaids and set off to the nearby town of Béduer which was slightly off the GR65 but had a camping ground. Devoid of shops or accommodation, frowned over by a massive thousand-year-old fort, the town gripped the steep slope above the river Célé.
The camping area at the top was very comfortable and once again we were surrounded by the British.
Having eaten our warmed-up ratatouille at a picnic table, we spent the evening drinking wine with our Welsh cyclist neighbours.