Good start. Bad end.

This morning we left the lake after a quick morning dip. We were driving to another walk in the mountains by the coast which starts from the village of Laroque-des-Albères. This one is just a moderate trail compared to the difficult one we did before. It’s about the same distance but only half the ascent. Leaving the lake we soon ended up on fantastic mountain road with views out the valley.

This dropped us right down into the town nestled in between the mountains. I was slightly apprehensive as it was quite hot and having come down such a large hill I hoped we weren’t going to have to go back up one to get out. The mountains got closer and closer and instead of going up we ended up driving through a gorge. The picture don’t really do it justice. But you get an idea of just how narrow it was.

Just when we thought the drive couldn’t get better we spotted something up ahead.

Eventually the postman got out the way and we ended up following this beauty for a good bit of the drive.

Arriving in Laroque-des-Albères we drove around some very narrow streets before parking up for our walk. This starts out the back of the village by the church. A well made track by a stream steadily climbs towards the mountains.

After a junction the path follows the irrigation system for the gardens up here.

Here we took a wrong turn, and ended up following the path up to a small pool and waterfall which is the water source for the system.

The route had a map with gps on it which was useful to check we were going the right way as the instructions we found we terrible and there were several trails. After a while we started climbing higher and were rewarded with fantastic views.

Another wrong turn took us a this. I don’t know it’s significance but it didn’t really seems worthy of the number of signs that they had put up to get you there.

Retracing our steps back to pick up the proper path.

The terrain here is so different to that of the other mountains. The Midi-Pyrenees has a tropical feel with its humidity and vibrant greenery. Out here it’s much more what I’m used to. Much dryer, with a scrubby spikey plants that survive here.

We reach the first fountain and slightly tentatively try the water. It’s crystal clear and doesn’t taste weird though so we fill up a bottle to take with us. According to my phone it’s 37 degrees and feels like 39 so plenty of water needed.

This is the furthest point of the walk and the trail heads into woodland for a bit.

Some good views and nice clear day.

We than leave the main track to start the descent on a initially less clear track which is nevertheless way marked well.

Soon we are back to the van, not nearly as tired as last time! We hadn’t eaten anything yet and it was about 6pm. Instead of parking up though we decided we needed to drive to the coast as we were a way from Saint Andiol.

We headed to Agde, meaning the drive in the morning would be around 3 hours. This was about 2 hours from where we were currently. We decided to us the toll roads as we didn’t want to make the drive any longer.

Ruby wasn’t playing ball anymore. She got very hot very quickly and we had to pull over on the motorway in an emergency lay-by. Not really wanting to drive at stupidly slow speeds we cable tied the back open and took the lid of the engine bay inside to try and keep it cool. This did help but it made it ridiculously hot in the van.

After a while we arrived in Agde looking for parking space. Lee has an app that shows free parking spots so we headed to one on the seafront. Turns out they had put bollards up though so we couldn’t get down the road. The traffic was also gridlocked in the city even though it was around 10pm. So we had to drive all the way back out to cross the the bridge and come down the other side of the river that runs through the middle of the town.

The next potential parking spot was blocked off by police cars. Did I mention that I hadn’t been sleeping well recently? At this point I was very hot from the engine, stressed out from staring at the temperature gauge for 3 hours of driving and the brakes were playing up too. I was also bloody knackered and hadn’t eaten all day. Which contributed to why I did this to the van.

It looks worse in reality too. We tried to go down another road to find a place to park. Every car park so far is full and the streets are chock a block. At the end there some big rocks kind of blocking the road. I can totally fit through there… that or reverse back down a very narrow track I didn’t fancy. Well I did fit the van through but it argued with a rock a bit on the way.

In a weird way I was kind of satisfied. Ruby was being a bitch so I got my own back. I was also annoyed with myself obviously. Lee just said he was glad it was me that did it.

In the end we managed to find a car park with that was free, they all have 2.25m height restrictions though so we weren’t sure we’d get in with the roof box. We just made it through with a few cam spare.

After parking up we headed into the town to get a drink and a snack as we were both too stressed to go to sleep. Still looked like a nice quiet car park, after I calmed down I felt optimistic about a good nights sleep.

Well I was wrong. So wrong.

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