Distance: 18 km (Cum: 121 km)
Ascent: 950 metres (Cum: 5950 metres)
Time taken: 5.5 hrs including 1.25 hrs stops
Weather: cloudy with drizzle at times
It has happened before, and it'll happen again. Our rest day ended on a downbeat note when we discovered that Sue's new camera takes a different battery to mine. They look the same, but mine is thicker. So the charger doesn't work with Sue's battery. Neither of us checked. Duh! Efforts to get Sue's charger sent to Lescun had not borne fruit when yesterday's posting was drafted, hence no mention then. Today, Julian Next Door and 'Stay at Home Hazel' (aka 'The Fixer') have come to the rescue. The charger will be posted to us tomorrow. In the meantime we will just have to share my camera when Sue's battery depletes.
This incident brought back memories of our Italian Border Route, when I thought I'd fried Sue's new i-pod in the heat of our first rest day.
We set off today in a light drizzle that came and went all day.
Mainly on country lanes, we steadily rose to Col d'Handiague (587 metres - not high enough for our heads to disturb the clouds). On the way we passed François, who has started her walk today.
Wheeling kites seem to be taking over from the vultures, but the latter were seen circling high above a nearby summit.
Then we descended to Estérençuby, where John and Paul, a pair from Yorkshire who are having their luggage transported every day, were enjoying their lunch. On the way down we had passed Pierre and the lovely Yolaine, whose parents, Joel and Chantal, have now joined the party. Chantal is a real character and spent a while in Leigh - she should keep us entertained this week.
Tea at the auberge in Estérençuby fortified us for the climb to Gite d'etape Kaskoleta, where John and Paul were installed.
The guardian was absent but had left details of the rooms which the pre-booked customers should occupy. Our name was not on the list. Others, also pre-booked, were not on the list. There is room for 14.
Meanwhile, Pierre and his family, pre-booked since February and allocated a room, sat outside in their down jackets (at 600 metres in the south of France) enjoying a beer (pictured).
We keep hearing about possible problems further east. Late snow could be blocking our way - that's been clear for some time - but now it seems that some of the places we plan to stay in have been subjected to flooding and may even have been washed away. We'll find out in due course.
Eventually the guardian arrived. "I didn't know what sort of bed you would want" was her excuse for not allocating us a room. We are now ensconced, with François, in an outdoor chalet. It's a bed for the night.
Later: quite a comfy bed, all the better for our finding a heater.
Half board here is a reasonable €32 per person, including as much wine as you can drink. For starters we got a luxurious omelette with mushrooms and chillies, etc. Then sausage and pasta, with mushrooms and a creamy sauce, followed by fruit salad in kirsch, with Basque cheese and cherry jam.
We certainly can't complain! The company was good as well - we ate with John and Paul, and Pierre and his family - all very jolly.
Tomorrow's forecast is fair - will it be our first dry walking day?
Sent from our GR10 trip - see here for our itinerary