Les Cabannes to Axat
Ian went the direct Route des Cols, over the Col de Pailheres (second highest pass in the Pyrenees), and then into the Aude valley. Again having to travel north, then east, then south, I arrived not long before he did, at a lovely little campsite at Axat, high up a forest track. The foret dominiales here are massive and go on for miles!
After lunch I went for a cycle up the valley de Rebenty, across to Aunat in the hills, to the Col de Notre Dame and then back down the Aude valley. It was a superb 27ml circuit, following rivers, through towering gorges, out onto plateaus and farmland, and then steeply back down to Axat. The weather took a turn for the worse whilst I was out, with thunder rumbling around the tops of the hills and lightening flashing too close for comfort. At Bessedes, I thought about pulling in for a while, but pulled myself together and pedalled as fast as I could down the valley. Steam rising from the rain-soaked, hot roads, gave the appearance of descending into hell, which did nothing for my nerves!
Anyway back safe and extremely wet again! That evening we sat under the awning watching the lightening flashing in the hills, and the storm clouds moving up the valley from the south. It was dramatic, and the sky was a strange colour of metal grey and pink. The rain poured down in buckets, and in fact I did a bit of recycling and filling large buckets up with rain water, which poured off the awning, and then syphoned it into the van, a la Ray Mears!