I don’t leave for St Jean until the 28th of April but today was my last chance to get some training done. I’m still nervous about my shoes and I wanted to give them another good test before I leave for the camino.
My waking buddy arrived bright and early but somehow we didn’t managed to start before 9:00am… and by the sun already had his hat on! At least on the camino we know we’ll be kicked out well before this.
Today we wanted hills, so we headed off to the little village of Grignols. It’s in a valley so there are plenty of hills, and it’s also on the GR65 so we hoped the marking would be good. The GR65 around Grignols is one of the two (or three!) arms of the Camino Vezeley (or Via Lemovicensis) that runs through the Dordogne.
This lovely blog gives more detail about the stage that comes through the Vern valley… http://walkinginfrance.info/pilgrimages/the-way-of-vezelay/perigueux-to-bergerac/day-24-saint-astier-to-villamblard/
It might be early April but the temperature has been pushing 27c over the last few days… added to this it’s a Monday with a 7:00am school run, and I never slept well last night… so I was feeling tired before we started… but nonetheless… en y va!
We walked to Grignol and then followed the Sentier Historique, up the hill and beyond the village to the Chateau. Then we followed the path back to Grignols and stopped for some refreshment and a shoes-off break before heading back up the other side of the valley.
We’re both walking with full packs so when we stopped I fished out my blister-care kit and tapped my little toe. I’m still nursing the huge blister I picked up on the last walk and I’m not taking any chances. Half way up the next hill I also fished out my umbrella… it is hot today!
Onwards and upwards we walked. This section felt particularly steep and I was trying to imagine doing this hill another 7 times… this is what we’ll need to do on the walk up to Orisson… oooh I hope I’ve done enough to get me up that last long stretch between Hunto and Orisson!
Finally we reached the top and the shade of the forest… and just the downhill saunter to get us back to the start.
We only managed 15km today; time and life prevented more. But it wasn’t an easy walk, so I feel like I had a good workout. We both agreed that on the camino we would have started a lot earlier and so this would have added perhaps another 6km to our total. And we also felt that if our end point have actually been a lunch stop and we had been able to rest for a while, we could have happliy walked on another hour or so… which would give us perhaps 27km on not the easiest of terrain.
I’m feeling confident… almost! The last time I walked the Frances I was happy with 25-30km days. I still have a few worries about my shoes but I’m sticking with them. I still have a few worries about my fitness; I should be ok but I feel sluggish. I’m still not 100% sure if I will take trousers or Skins… but I’m thinking Skins. Apart from this, I think I’m good to go.
As Gerry says… it is what it is… because I’m off to the UK in a few days, then I’m off to Bacrcelona for a few more days… and then we’re off to St Jean… so that was it, the last chance! No time left to practice!
Buen Camino Pilgrims… we’ll see you on the trail!