Refuge Ayous to Cabane de Cecy. Part map below. I take the ‘variante’ route to avoid the Corniche des Alhas, no idea how bad this really is… Book says it has rope handles all the way along and has an exposed vertical drop. If it is anything like the Mordor rope climb, giving it a miss works for me.

The path all good. Super fast downhill from Refuge Ayous, through Gabas and then the climb hits. I met a forest mushroom hunter, he says the path is good up ahead (pointing to a path that is ridiculously steep) and THEN it gets difficult he says.

He wasn’t wrong.

I catch up with Boris and Philippe and arrive at Cabane to find it occupied by a sheperd, Pierre. He directs us to another small stone hut, very basic but dry.

This is the second day with no shower (Refuge Ayous was dry) decide to dry and blag at least a cold wash in the sheperds cabane. Turns he has a hot power shower! Bliss. I’m ready to move in and become his mountain wife, herd sheep and make cheese all day. Unfortunately his valley wife is unlikely to be keen on the idea. Pity.

Pierre has to stay up with his sheep in the summer months as wolves migrating through the area attacked his flock last season. Plus this year two breeding bears were released, one in the next valley to the west and the other a valley over to the east.

Pierre – sheperd and cheese maker

That night it’s whisky and chocolate by the fire,