Day Ten – walking up to Cascade d’Ars

During our stay in Marsilly, we were regularly awoken by the frustrating sound of the town’s church bell. When we left Marsilly, we had both believed that we had finally left the annoying early morning wake up call far behind us. Unfortunately, we were still not destined for a quiet lie in. During the night, not only did we have to put up the another noisy church bell, but it had also decided to chuck it down as well. Surely asking for a couple of quality nights sleep was not being unreasonable?

Apart from the disturbances during the night, we woke to tranquil views of the surrounding mountains.

Fuelled with expensive local croissants (€1.10 each), we set off 2 minutes up the road to the start of the walk. Allowing time for a cheeky selfie!

We had purchased a map for the walk from the local tourist centre and was informed that the walk should take no longer than three and a half hours. The time was currently 10am. There was a shared excitement between us to be starting our first proper walk of the holiday.

The walk is a steep climb straight up to the summit, where the start of the waterfall is found. The path is a clear single track, sheltered by trees. Although we were sheltered from the warm sun, the heavy rainfall during the night had made the valley incredibly muggy.

During the treck up, there are regular breaks for views of the surrounding mountains and little streams running through the woods.

The high humidity was making the steep incline even more difficult. And I for one was struggling with sweat issues. I think my comment at the time was ‘I have been dryer getting out of a swimming pool’.

Pushing on with quite a fast pace, we soon overtuck the slow families walking up the trail.

Around forty minutes into the walk, we were rewarded with our first glimpse of the waterfall.

Higher up the trail, you are able to get up close to the middle part of the fall.

The spot also gives you a cracking view through the valley back towards the town.

The walk had a variety of scenery, woods, mountains, waterfalls. All of which we have seen many times in Scotland. The warmer climates here meant that the whole valley had a tropical vibe to it, and at times it felt as though we were walking through a South American rainforest.

Close to the summit, we continued to drag ourselves up the trail. I had now taken my sweat drenched top off, and probably could have rung it out if I had tried.

Finally, we made it to the top. Unfortunately, there were no more views of the valley from here. We were proud to have climbed to a height of 1485m.

We intended to complete the whole circular walk, as opposed to turning around and heading back down the same route. The second half of the walk promised a secluded mountain lake that we were both desperate to see.

By this point our legs were in pieces, and we had hoped that the walk would be all downhill from the top. We were wrong. We still had to climb further around the opposite mountain, through an overgrown walkway. Clearly not many people were as keen to do the longer walk to see the lake.

Throughout the walk, clouds had been rolling in over the mountain, and we we worried that we would lose the panoramic views on the way back down.

Luckily for us, not long into the second half of the walk, the sun burst though the clouds at just the right time.

This didn’t do much to improve my excessive sweating though.

It wasn’t long until we had found the secluded lake. It was very definitely worth the extra struggle.

It was a perfect spot to stop off for a bit of lunch.

Because we have mainly been walking further up or across, we still had a long way to walk down before we were back at the van, and our legs were definitely feeling it.

We finally made our way back to the start of the trail, arriving at 3pm. It had taken us a good five hours to complete the entire circuit. Their is no way, anyone could complete that walk in the three and a half hours the tourist office suggested.

With our feet and our calfs on fire, we had a quick cold beverage and a lie down on the floor, before we packed up and set off for our next destination. A tropical looking lake with sandy beaches.

With yesterday’s braking issues still fresh in our memories, we made sure to take our time heading back out of the valley. Which gave us some time to enjoy the amazing views one last time.

And so we followed Sean to Montbel, arriving in time to find a spot in a campsite, and then headed down to the lake to enjoy the views. We timed it just right to catch the evening sunset.

And so we went to bed that night chuffed with the day’s walk, which is definitely one of my most enjoyable walks ever, also looking forward to a well deserved sleep with no church bells.

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