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Central Massif


We are ready to move on. Molly is so excited, while we managed to keep the tigin at 25c . with the help of a fan she has been sleeping a lot. Onwards and upwards....

We stopped in the beautiful town of Lodeve for breakfast where they were setting up for a village fete. Breakfast wasn't without it's entertainment as two elderly gentlemen were having their morning coffee and hoped that the proprietor would be in a generous mood and not charge them. Wrong day lads.... an argument ensued and they were ordered to allez ! and they did..


 From Lodeve we headed up into the Cevennes mountains 1,200meters. The tigin took it all in her stride. Slowly does it, thankfully there was a climbing lane so no rush.




We arrived in the roadside town of La Caylar, which consisted of the tourist shop and the fast food cafe. We got some information and low and behold a whole village lay above us waiting to be explored.





This carved elm tree was a result of dutch elm disease. The sculpturer spent 2,000hours creating a representation of La Caylar and the surrounding region. It is not possible to capture the enormity of his work in one photo. The traveling butcher was on the square just like the fish woman in Ballaghaderreen on thursday mornings. We climbed to the top of castle Roc in the midday sun to take this picture of the town below. This was a worthwhile stop.



We crossed the Millou Viaduc, which stretches across a valley and shortens the route north. In Lozere we discovered these samples of volcanic and Lava rock which were encircled by an Arboretum of many varieties of native trees. An afternoon sun worshiper took time to pose for a photo


The legend of the Gevaudan Beast looms large in this area. In 1764 it is said that the beast slaughtered over 100 mainly woman and children in 3yrs. which gave rise to superstitions, combining legend and the supernatural. Organised hunts and searches took place and in 1767 the beast which turned out to be a wolf was killed. Today the infamous wolf still retains an air of mystery.

Over 100 wolves from Canada - Siberia - Mongolia - and Poland live semi-wild along with Bison and Vultures were reintroduced over twenty yrs. ago.



As we drove the circle on route to St. Flour, we stopped at a local hotel to buy a bottle of wine before we found home for the night alongside a damn. It was time for a paddle and a dip for molly. Then some fishermen arrived, time to let the water settle. A fellow camper pulled up nearby and decided it was time to practice his obviously newly learned trombone tunes, which lasted about 20mins. phew... where did the fish go ?



Aubrac cows are decorated in ribbons, flowers, bells and pompoms at the end of May for the Transhumance Festival. Thousands of cows are driven to high pastures for the summer, they will return to their cowsheds mid October for the winter.


A large bird, probably a Red Harrier with at least a 6ft wing span flew directly in front of the tigin from a forest above us to another one below. He was not prepared to wait for a picture...(what a site!)

This local woman and her granddaughter drove the cows home from the pasture for milking, shor you might as well be in Killucan or Oldtown.


St.Flour was a great little shopping town for some local traditional clothes.

With sunshine a plenty for a cafe au lait outdoors.

21st June Summer Solstice.


We had been told about a campsite 800mtrs. above sea level, with a forest and natural wild area's just outside Clermont Ferrand in the middle of the Central Massive. Sounds just like the place for us for the 21st.

When we arrived we were greeted by Jean Claude and Denise, who made us welcome and at ease from the start. We took a walk around with Molly to get our bearings.

Wow ! It exceeded all our expectations. 35 acres of magical forests and wild flower meadows. Wild cherry trees hanking with fruit just ripe for the picking. Intrigue lurking around every corner.


800mtrs. above sea level.

Huge camping spaces, a heated swimming pool, tennis, table tennis, volley ball, petanque(boules), and a children's play area.

Was there anyone else here ? The place was so quiet that we could hear the birds and the rustling of the trees.

We have come to realise that the code of conduct in campsites here is respect. There are no barking dogs, no screaming children and no loud voices.

The weather is very unsettled so we will take time to view the 80volcanos which encircle us.



Le Massif du Sancy 1,700mtrs is the highest volcano in France. It is a ski slope in winter with a cable car to within 15mins.hike of the top. The tourist office in mont Dore informed us that the cable cars departed every 15mins. But as luck would have it.. not today as it was too windy at the top.


We headed off on foot in sandles and with Molly to take a little look. Shor every step we took led to another and another and before ye know we were half way to the top. We met a German woman who was shocked at our appearance. She advised us not to continue as the terrain was unsuitable for sandals, and most of all for Molly. The next section would have to be scaled by crawling and some of it had chains for grip. We took the advice of her experience. It was not a place for a dog and it was time for boots... beighamid arais aris.


As the wind conditions didn't improve over the next few days it was time to revise the plan. Le Pay de Dome was calling. Not as high but just as inviting. This time we wore the boots, the raincoats and the "sticks" were out, we meant business. And it was suitable for Molly too.

We meet with this beautiful flower along the path.




Sheep ascending from crater

Clermont Ferrand



Before we were half way up we were already in the clouds. The wind was so strong that Molly's coat looked like it would lift off her back at any minute. The temple of Mercury at the summit was barely visible.

But, as we have come to expect the cloud lifted the sun appeared and what a sight to behold. The outer circle of the volcano top had a footpath so that we could walk right around. We could see down into the craters of other volcano's below.


Sunday 24th June

Last night we had the most wonderful, most romantic meal ever in a local hotel. We sampled all the local food and drink from the aperitif to the pudding.

Today we are looking forward to a barbeque on the campsite.

The weather is perfect, we start off with a swim after breakfast. The smell of roasting pig is wafting in the air. We as non meat eaters are not sure what to expect.



By the time we had finished the entree we were nearly full. So much food..... The was punch, fruit, vegatables and dips, tartlets, quiche, breads with assorted toppings.

Three pigs had been roasting on a spit since early morning, the local baker had delivered three bread rolls 8ft long. As many caraffe's of red/rose wine as were desired. We sampled everything except the meat, including deserts, the local cheese's and framboise(raspberry liqueur) to finish.



This whole eating experience took about 4hrs. We enjoyed every minute despite the language barrier.

Later it was time for an adventure in the meadow and woods.



The magic continued on into the evening, later as we enjoyed a bottle of wine down outside a shepard's hut deer peeped up to inquire if they could join


Later as we returned through the forest we heard wolves howling in the valley below. It reminded us of a time in Sweden when our little tigin was surrounded by a pack high up at the top of a waterfall. (eerie)

Later as we watched a firwork's display of an electrical storm we understood the howling. There was three in the bed for the night.......