Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Day 18: Saint Cirq Lapopie to Cahors (23 kms)

The church at Saint Cirq last night

Robin and I awoke to "Vox Nostra Resonet" playing on her iPhone. It was time to go again. Robin had to get to Cahors, and I needed a ride to Bouziès, where I left the GR 36/46 yesterday. Transport Claudine, which handles baggage and people moving in the Célé valley, took care of Robin, bag and Robin for 15 Euros from St. Cirq to Cahors. Eric, the owner of the Hotel Le Saint Cirq, kindly gave me a lift to Bouziès. So, off we went. The weather was in a testy mood today. It was raining as I sat down to breakfast, and by my second cup of coffee the sun was shining. The forecast was for showers and thunder showers, so I went for the rain jacket and pants. I wished Robin a safe ride into Cahors, gave her a kiss and hit the road with Eric. By 8:30 I was wending my way along the GR 36/46 towards Pasturat, and points SW. The path followed rural roads for about an hour and then I started a long climb to Pasturat (with a few descents). Shortly after Pasturat it became evident that some serious kilometers could be shaved off today's walk by not going along the route to Béars, and following a local road that took me to the village of Les Mazuts. This little maneuver dropped me right back on the Chemin without having to walk all the way to Béars and back, a savings of about 5 kms. This was critical for me today as I was trying to arrive in a Cahors between 4-5. This little diversion made it possible. I actually was approaching our room door at 4:00. But, back to the perils of pelerins (pilgrims). After leaving Pasturat (nothing open) I continued following the GR 36/46 along a variety of paths and rural roads. The weather was making up and rain squalls could be seen in the distance. An occasional clap of thunder rumbled down the valley. Dark gray nimbus were assembling for some kind of show. Down towards Arcambal I went, experiencing the worst (but maybe shortest) descent of the day. The trail was deeply washed out, steep with poor footing, and now slippery with this morning's showers. I arrived alongside the river Lot, and followed the GR markings close aboard its bank. This took me through some interesting trails if you could call them that. Many seemed to be be so infrequently used that the vegetation was growing side to side and closing the trail in. The grasses were tall and wet, and the trail in places was less than a foot wide. In some areas you had to sort of guess where it went it was that overgrown. Other sections were wider and nicely padded with a soft cushion of leaves. There was a lot of slip sliding along the GR today. The threat of rain became a reality about 7 kms from Cahors. I was walking along the verge of a farmers field, where the GR became thin as a bicycle tire, and then simply vanished into the farmer's field for a bit. As I was trying my best to avoid doing a face plant in this recently harrowed field, all hell let loose. There were a few drops of rain and then someone opened the tap full. Down it came, driven along by a sudden gust of 40-50 mph. As I was battening down the hatches a truck load of gravel sized hail was thrown in for good measure. All this did not help one bit as I was trying to navigate this miserably thin, mud slick trail. As soon as the storm had vented its wrath, it slackened into moderate rain and then vanished. By now I was a drowned rat. My feet were soaked, but the rest of me came through mostly intact. I continued along the river eventually finding some sunshine and Cahors about the same time. I crossed the Pont Cabessut around 3:30, visited the cathedral, offered a prayer, and went to find Robin and wring out my sox. Another challenging day was now behind me. Thanks be to God.

Rapids on the River Lot
Storm clouds gathering
Village of Laroque-des-Arcs
Approaching Cahors


The Cathedral in a Cahors



  1. I just found your blog (can't remember quite how) and have been reading to catch up with you from the start of your trip. It is interesting to follow your journey, as I've seen some familiar names of virtual pilgrim friends who have made comments - it is like seeing someone's familiar backpack up the road ahead. I will continue to follow. Buen camino.
    - Clare

  2. Everyone should have a good storm story to tell- even if it is scary at the time! Beautiful photos again. Somebody did tell me the Cele Valley was tricky in the wet, so I guess they meant this end of it. Love the reflections by the bridge at Laroque-des-Arcs.