|A mountain village|
As I cross the Col de la Pierre Plantée I marvel at the myriad shades of green around me. From the pale green of the grass to the dense, inky, champagne-bottle green of the pines. And in amongst this verdancy are the sunshine yellow clumps of the mimosa that jewel the landscape along with the grey of the vast boulders that seem to be growing out of the ground. I'm reliably informed that these vast boulders have a specific name - glacial erratics. Apparently, millions of years ago when this vast untamed area was being formed, the shifting ice sheets brought with them enormous lumps of rock and, as the ice melted and receded, the rocks remained. I glance at the map and think, technical name or not, I'm with the French on this one. If they can have a col named after planted rocks, then so can I!
The colours of the Cévennes
From the chateau ruins it is possible to begin to understand the wildness of this place and how solitary any existence here is. I can hear cowbells in the distance as the Aubracs sit in the sunshine, graze and then sit again. Madame at my campsite told me the other day that the last snowfall this year was on May 1st. Autumn is cold and often brings the icy winds that herald snow and when the snow arrives so do the cross-country skiers. And just to give some perspective, the chateau at Luc is about 1000m above sea level. The Col de la Pierre Plantée is 1263m above sea level and my campsite is more or less the same. Ben Nevis is just over 1300m in height. So, Stevenson and me are effectively travelling the highest mountain in Britain. At this height, the population is sparse, the villages small and the air is clean and sharp.
|The Valley of the Allier from the chateau at Luc|
There's more from RLS and me here