Today I’m heading to St Engrace… 25km if I was in the right starting point, I am 12km off the trail. Only choice is to road walk a very long way or find a lift, not easy in these parts, no taxi services. Speaking to the hotel manager Carole, she says no problem, she can get me back on the route. Saved again, kindness of strangers. She works in the family hotel in the summer and is a ski instructor in the winter. She drops me at s junction near the trail which significantly shortens my walk for the day.
It also means I have time (and leg energy) for a side trip to the Gorges de Kakouéta and a walk with all the tourists, plus cafe lunch.
4km walking up and down the gorge, narrow limestone cliffs, waterfalls and bridges.
Then on to St Engrace, where I catch up with Max and Aurora. They have had a run in with some sheep…
Max recounts the story (read this in a heavy French accent)… “So we were walking down a steep track, with BIG drop to right. Nowhere to go but the path. We came past a lot of sheeps high on the hillside. Aurora is in front of me. There is a lot a LOT of sheeps. We turn the corner. And I see behind me one sheep, she start to follow me. I look again, from the side another two three sheeps they come. I walk faster. I turn and oh my god sheeps are running. I start running right past Aurora. She shout ‘why are you running?’ then she sees the sheeps. She scream and run. The sheeps they are like avalanche, we can only go down. Hundreds of sheeps chasing us! I am laughing so hard it is difficult to run. Maybe 10 minutes we are still running, then we find a hole to the side we dive in and hide, lie flat. The sheeps they keep running past forever and ever. So many sheeps I have never seen. When they are all gone we follow and eventually come to the shepherd, he is like ‘why are my sheeps here!?’ …we keep walking”
The night in St Engrace at Auberge Elichat is shared mouth watering Basque meal pork pasta roasted tomatoes gateaux wine and lots of stories. Eric, a banker from Bordeaux, plus Jean-Philippe walking with his dog Rogo. JP has taken a year off with his family in a camper van, woofing, eco building. After a few days walking he will rejoin his family who are at the beach, then on to 6 weeks building before heading to the Atlas mountains in Morocco.