If we had been able
to do all we had intended It would have been
quite an achievement. As it was we achieved
quite a lot. And I suspect that at the end
of our walk we would have been able to do
it. But as it was we were inexperienced
about our abilities, we were unfit, we did
not take enough water, we did not realise
how steep the puys were, the weather was
very hot, the route was too long and we set
off too late in the day.
But it was a good
learning experience, we were never very far
from help and it gave us a something against
which to measure all we did later.
If I was to do it
now, I would start from the Gare de Volvic,
I would start earlier, I would take more
water and I would be more prepared to change
plans according to the circumstances.
Up at 7:30,
did a bit of packing then shopped for lunch
(70F). Then breakfast - typical French -
baguette, croissant, coffee (chocolat for A).
Upstairs for final packing and putting on of
boots. Fixed trainers to outside of rucksacks
- works very well and saves a lot of space in
We carried a
litre of water each. We should have carried at
least twice that. The day was cloudless and
Paid 220 F
cash (160 for room, 60 for breakfast). Set off
at 9:20, writing this at 10:20, just below the
railway. The GR is easy to follow, very well
marked. It would have been nice to have
visited the quarrying museum (next to the the
Volvic water visitor centre) but we will get
there some other day. A is a pleasure to be with - observant
and keen. I’m sweating like a pig!
It took us an
hour to get back to near where we got off the
train the night before.
But things got
worse. For a first day walking it was too
steep, too long and too hot. Also the packs
were too heavy. The country is lovely, lots of
good views, which was a compensation - but not
For the first part of
the day we were on the GR441, but after lunch
we got onto the GR4 - we would be following it
for the rest of the trip.
We almost ran out of water until we found a
well at the foot of Le Puy de Dome. This was a
real life saver. A almost cracked going up to
the top of the Puy de Dome but we managed, by
means of persuasion, bullying, reason and
carrying his pack, to get him to the top
We should have changed our plans at the
well and headed down to Orcines. But I did not
realise how tired Alasdair was and also I was
too wedded to our plan. One should be prepared
to be flexible!
climb up the Puy des Gouttes is rewarded by
magnificent views of the Puy de Come, and a
rather nice quarry. Why should nature be the
only thing we can admire?
We could also see the site of Vulcania
which will be a tourist attraction worth going
to when it opens in 2000.
At the well I drank about a litre and a
half and finished another litre on the way to
the top. And I continued drinking water at the
hotel. I was dry!
Arrangements were required, so at the Tourist
Office I managed to get them to phone a taxi
to meet us at the péage at the foot of the Puy.
We got the shuttle coach (26F) down and met
the taxi (19:20) who took us to Laschamp.
But the gite was full, as was the hotel. So
the taxi driver took us to Orcines (on the
outskirts of Clermont Ferrand) where we found
a room at the Auberge de la Baraque (20:00).
The taxi was 189F and well worth it. We had a
quick meal and got to bed. We certainly needed
Office at the top of the Puy de Dome were very
helpful - more helpful than they needed to be.
Our taxi driver also exceeded our
expectations. Our thanks to all concerned.
The reason accomodation was so difficult
was that it was a sunny Saturday and everyone
was out enjoying it. And the Chaine des Puys
is a very good place to enjoy the great
Volvic, ready to set out.
ready to set off on the journey
G on the
GR441 heading uphill towards the Gare de
into the quarry
A setting a
A on the
summit of the Puy de Jumes
The Puy de
Come and a rather nice quarry
his resources for the big push
A and the
Puy de Dome
G and the
Puy de Dome
The Puy de
Dome and parascenders (for the sharp-eyed)
up the Puy de Dome
from the slopes of the Puy de Dome