A lovely 6am still start after a rough night with snoring bunkmates and loud neighbours!
I climbed the 1000 metres up to Col de Crousette in blissful solitude, interrupted only by five curious sheepdogs who came to check I wasn’t trying to steal a sheep.
And I continued my solitary morning for another couple of hours checking out the limestone cliffs in the Vallons de la Gourgette (photos don’t do it justice) and arrived at the refuge de longon by 11am.
I procured a large piece of brebis, some bread and a coffee and enjoyed a peaceful lunch with some nice French day hikers who fed me up on saucisson
And then it was off into the inferno! The guidebook had said the 1600m descent into the valley de tinee was like going into a furnace, and that was probably an understatement. In the shade it was ok, but in the sun it was like being smacked on the head with a hot iron hammer. And it got hotter the lower I went.
I passed the lovely town of Roure after two hours, hanging precariously off the cliff. It would have been lovelier if it had an icecream shop
And then down into St Saveur sur Tinee where I resisted my impulse to submerge myself in the town fountain. Only a solitary restaurant was open, and they weren’t selling food. I did manage to procure one of their personal supply of magnums to help fuel me for the unshaded 600m climb up to Rimplas.
I made it to Rimplas, hot, sweaty and stinky at 4pm
The hotel doesn’t open reception until 5pm, but another guest let me in and I lay on the floor stretching and generally making the place look untidy. The hotel is fully booked with a tour of butterfly watchers – who knew? They think I am weird and vice versa – it takes all sorts!
Dinner was at the ridiculously late hour of 7.30, goats cheese salad, pasta and profiteroles. Delicious! And they made me a fabulous picnic and breakfast tray for the next day
Distance = 43km
Ascent/descent = 1900/2300
Time on feet = 10 hours
Times wished it would rain = 15