With the likely admonishment of my Leeds Beckett University nutrition experts I knew I had to get some breakfast. Going north from Octon was a good start as it was handily placed (and beautiful).
I was quickly in Lodève and found some breakfast (and a working plug socket).
I had lost one of the pads that keep your spectacle lens off your nose. I luckily found an optician next door to the breakfast stop and popped in. They replaced the missing one gratis. How kind.
The way north today was difficult! There is now a motorway (A75) that everyone hops on and it takes them through the mountains. The step down in terms of road after this four lane joy is onto tortuous B roads.
This whole range of mountains I’m negotiating over several days are called the Massif Central and it is a large area. Today I couldn’t take the motorway and so consulting Google Maps, my Michelin paper map and my Garmin Sat Nav I could see no way but to go climbing. In fact I was sent up 600 metres in 35 to 40°C and the gradient averaged between 5 and 8%. It took me around 3 hours to complete 15 miles. The only traffic I saw were road repair contractors! The roads were on occasion ropey but it appears no one uses them apart from stupid Englishmen!
I pushed and pushed when the gradients went above 10%. Eventually I breasted the top and sped down to Le Caylar where I found shelter from the sun and a sandwich. In fact I sat in the cafe coming out of a heat haze. Overall for the day I climbed 909 metres; mainly in one ascent. The route now was to follow a service road beside the motorway. The destination was Millau. The town is famous for its bridge. This crosses the Tarn river and it’s tallest pillar is 343 metres, it’s the tallest bridge in the world. It was designed by a Frenchman and Norman Foster. It costs a lot of money as a toll bridge but I dare say they will be paying it off in decades time.
I had a wonderful descent into the town, by another road, and ended up in McDonalds at about 4.30pm. I thought this was a good evening meal solution. I have to say that their food is dreadful compared to years ago. I even had to chase an oik around the restaurant with my original fries… “froid, monsieur”.
There were a number of campsites; all next to each other. I chose a smaller less highly rated one. The more highly rated the more facilities and so more noise and excitable children.
After my chores I had a beer at the bar and kept tabs on Leeds United vs Stoke City by my sports app on my phone. 5-0, so pleased or relieved. Four gut churning games to go…