Puy de Dome

I spent this morning sitting in our nice scenic spot swearing at the internet. I’ve been trying to upload my blogs from a few days again but they weren’t having any of it. Eventually though, I did succeed and we then left to drive around an hour through the national park towards the walk we are going to do up Puy de Dome, another volcano.

It was another pleasant drive to get there, frequently with fantastic views down to Clermont-Ferrand and its surrounding villages. You do forget, just how high up you are, we are pretty much constantly over 1000m above sea level. Another cold night being proof of this, although this time we had the heater on so no need to sleep fully clothed!

The walk warned that it would be busy on the weekend and sure enough there were cars parked for a good half a mile down the road before the carpark each way. Fortunately we can off road a bit more than cars so we were able to park on the road just below the car park.

Deciding we weren’t quite ready for lunch we headed up to start the walk. The trail heads steadily up the side of the mountain in a series of hairpin bends, crossing over a railway for the train that takes people to the top.

The walk is very popular and you are walking with quite a few other people.

There are lots of benches throughout the climb to stop for a break and admire the views that get better and better.

The walking guide reckons 40-60mins but we blasted up in 30. This is nothing however compared the to insane people who are running up it.

A view up to the peak and someone paragliding from the top.

Nearly at the top.

Once at the top there is a path that runs around the circumference of the crater. Apparently this was last active 12-25million years ago, someone is hedging their bets with that estimation.

We obliging shuffled around with several hundred other people. A lot of them have that particularly fine skill that enables them as an individual to complete block the entire path while walking at the of a geriatric snail.

Good job that the views are amazing. I’m not exactly sure how far I can see, but it’s a very long way!! As ever with these things the pictures do not really do it justice. Despite being very busy, it was definitely worth the walk.

There are 3 paragliders up here, and we watch the launch themselves of the side of the mountain and soar around the peak, up and over our heads.

From the other side is view into the city of Claremont-Ferrand.

There is also the remains of an ancient temple for the god Mercury at the top and behind that a station that runs scientific research for the weather, this presents a slightly odd juxtaposition of the past and present.

As phenomenal as the views are the clouds were also pretty interesting. They really didn’t look real, more like a computer’s idea of what cloud should be. You can’t really see that from the photo very well though.

On finishing our loop of the summit, we started heading back down for lunch. We had parked wheee the road is clear on the bend in the valley below and could just make out Ruby from the top.

As we went to cross the railway at the bottom the train was going past.

Arriving back at the van be drove a short way down the road and pulled over to have some lunch and figure out what to do next.

The walk had not taken as long as we thought so we still had a good portion of the afternoon left. The weather tomorrow is not supposed to be very nice and we therefore wanted to make most of today. We opted to drive and look for a spot to park up where we could enjoy the rest of the day.

First we headed down into the outskirts of Claremont-Ferrand to get some fuel and admire the view.

We thought of getting shopping and then, arriving at the supermarket realises it was Sunday afternoon and it would be closed. Nevertheless we got fuel and headed out for a scenic spot.

The first one ended up with me being stuck rather embarrassingly behind a convoy of horses down a rather rough track. The second one wasn’t really more than a lay-by, but as we contemplated our next move we realised we were next to a car park that would do nicely. It even had a nice view of the volcano we had climbed earlier. You can make it out in the background with the mast on top.

We still had the slight food/drink issue as last night I made a curry, quite successfully using up most of the bits and bobs in the fridge. I found that there was a supermarket within walking distance so now as I write this with a nice cold beer, everything is good.

The only downside to this spot is that we seem to have parked by a wasps nest, so we have moved down the car park and that seems to be better. Also, while I don’t mind now, I hear the ringing of church bells in the distance and the inevitable over enthusiastic cockerel.

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