Where Eagles Dare
The road above our house leads us to a different world.
FLORA AND FAUNA AND THE FOREST WORLD
Yesterday evening was too hot for us to take our customary walk in the forest. "Let's go for a drive up to the top instead," I suggested . We love that route. The road winds from our gate up into the forest, from where it splits in different directions. We took the road that winds around Puech Haut, and leads to the very top. Once there , one feels as though one is in a different world. The trees have thinned out, and the roadside verges are filled with unique flowers. In spring we like to walk here amongst tiny miniature daffodils, and dwarf irises. Later the landscape is covered with tall waving asphodels. There were few flowers to be seen today, save the spiky sapphire blue globes of the eryngium, blooming amongst the dried grasses.
Memories of spring
But we were not alone. Large cow pats along the road had already indicated the presence of cattle , and there they stood ahead of us, grazing contentedly by the side of the road, no doubt puzzled by our presence in this isolated spot. Beautiful, valuable beasts, brown and black, tollies and cows. Indeed we already knew them, for a few had wandered down as far as our home, some weeks ago.
A left turn took us to a favoured destination: the bergerie at Courcolle. Once, sheep would be over-wintered here, but now the beautiful old stone building is maintained by the national forestry organisation. A short climb leads from here to the very top of Puech Haut. Wild strawberries grow alongside the path in spring.
Alongside the bergerie is a circular lavogne, the kind of traditional sheep watering hole that is very common on the causses. Often beautifully lined with small stones, this one is filled with mud and debris, and has all but dried up. Clearly those cattle have been here in search of water, for their hoof prints are embedded in the mud, where stagnant water has crept into them.
The bergerie is a simple but beautiful building. The inside feels dark and mysterious, with its bare earthen floor, its tall vaulted roof and rough wooden beams.
We spotted a strange inscription on a stone which supported a simple hearth.
The sun was getting low in the sky so we reluctantly decided to head for home.