A Blog by Dermot Dolan

A Blog by Dermot Dolan, all work is copyright of Dermot Dolan.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Returned from France

Just back from a very interesting visit to France. I intend to write more detailed articles later. It was really three trips in one. The Alps were the beginning walking the GR 5 from Les Houches to near Modane on the Italian border. Then train to Grasse in Provence and walked from Castellane to Maubec. Stage three was Le chemin de Saint- Guilhem-le -Désert  from Saint Guilhem to Saint Chely d'Aubrac and on to Espalion via the gr65. That is just a brief summary, there were detours along the way.

I just include a random sample of four photographs taken in the Alps on the GR 5. Many more to come. I will keep updating over the next week. 

I now have a website where you can view my work. Click on the link below.


I hope you will use and enjoy this new website. I will still continue with my blog as normal. Dermot 21 February 2015
Col du Palet  Sunday 22nd June 2014 notice the child going up to meet the hikers coming down the slope, he is the young son of the guardian of the refuge, effortlessly walking through the snow.

Flowers breaking through the snow Col du Palet, it looked as if they grew up where there were footprints in the snow. 

Between Les Houches and Les Contaimes, this house is larger on the side facing the mountain. Typical heavy mist cover the mountain.

On the way to Refuge de la Balme

France Summer 2014

Hello All. It is now time for an update. The reason for no posts for the last few weeks is that I am walking and photographing France or at least some parts of it.
Flew to Geneva and started walking the gr 5 from Led Houches near Chamonix to Modane on the Italian border.Hardest walk so far mainly because of underfoot conditions a lot of snow and ground you would slip on easily. Spent a few days doing Tour the Mount Blanc. The Crete's were the worst, ridges at about 2500 meters, loose your footing carrying a 15 kg backpack plus a heavy Nikon camera strapped to the front of your body and when you start skidding down you will get scared. I am still alive . Stayed in refuge du col Palet 2650 meters whole area covered in deep snow an experience.
Then got train which cost a fortune from Modane via Lyon Canne to Grasse to walk gr4 only to discover fist section has very little of Gite d Etape the cheap accom I use. Got bus to Castellane and walked the gr 4 to Create. Not enough of gites and route not marked in places impoosile to buy the toppo guide I wanted. Very hot one day at one was 40 c. A lot of climbing, Highlights the gite called the wall of bees in Rougan, will give more info latter it is a place you should visit amazing people.
Now the Gorge du Verdon . When you enter you see warning sign no exit for six hours and to be sure you have enough water and a headlight for the Tunnels. It said nothing about the couple of hundred metal steps. Great fun when you don't break anything.
Now on Apt on a Camino trail gr 653 d. Went into the small tourist office there one man came in at same time, he was Irish and when lady in tourist office asked him where in Ireland he said Sligo. So to you John Ryan craft potter from Ballymote you Wife and two Girls what a Co incident. Regards to all more text and many photographs when I get home. Oh what amazing lavender fields in Provence.

Le chemin de Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert.

This is a pilgrim route normally walked from Aumont-Aubrac to Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert. On July 7th I decided to leave Maubec in Provence and head for St Guilhem. I was finding it difficult to get afffordable accomadition in Provence,there were not enough of gite d'Etapes and a major theater festival in Avignon meant that accommodation was scarce and expensive. My journey from Maubec to St Guilhem was interesting . I had to walk two and half hours to Cavallion to get a bus to Avignon then a train to Montpellier then a tram to the outskirts of Mountpellier a bus to Gignac then hitched a lift to St Guilhem.

I then walked to Saint Chely d'Aubrac and onward on the gr 65 (the camino route) to Espalion. I was also looking forward to seeing old friends in Sainte-Enimie on route. This is now the first section of those photographs, more photographs and caption will follow.

Comments are very welcomed and can be made at the bottom of every post.


I think this is a Carline thistle seen on many door in France

Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert a  medieval village in Sothern France

Part of the Gellone Abbey of Saint -Guilhem-le Désert

Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert a  medieval village in Sothern France

Part of the Gellone Abbey of Saint -Guilhem-le Désert

On the outskirts of Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert

On the outskirts of Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert

Two Pilgrims, the Parisian Lady is walking the Arles Camino and the Spanish man is cycling from Rome to Saintiago

On leaving Saint Guilhem early on Tuesday July 8th 2014

On leaving Saint Guilhem early on Tuesday July 8th 2014

The gates of a Hermitage high in the mountains.

It's amazing the way these Trees cling to the rock face.

More of those trees.

Beautiful Plateau

That beautiful Blue

Looks like a human Torso

These are abundant on this section of the chemin.

The long and winding road.

On the way To Navacelles

Looking into the Gorge la Vis

Walking through the Gorge la Vis

Towards Navacelles

Circque de Navacelles

A rough uphill path on leaving Navacelles going North.

The Circque de Navacelles

Patous is a dog that lives with the sheep, they look a bit like a Labrador  but are a guard dog for the sheep.

I did not take the Chem de sMorts

This was taken on the approach  to Le Vigan, what looked like an approaching storm never came.

No it is not a riverbed it is the pathway.

The river on the approach to Le Vigan

The river on the approach to Le Vigan

The pathway on leaving Le Vigan is a river of Mirabelle plums, they are delicious.  A bit slippy to walk on.

My Rucksack.

Anne Sophie looking well, her English was as good my French. She laughed at my attempts at pronouncing the town of Myrueis. Hello to all in the very friendly and helpful gite d'Etape, Le Pont du Moulin, Saint-Sauver- Camprieu. Well worth a stay.

An interesting toilet, please feel free to put a caption on it in the comments section.

Typical French shutters.

I have no idea what they were, between Camprieu and Meyrueis.


Lunch in the town I had difficulty pronouncing -  Meyrueis .


Nice house front.

A high church on leaving Meyrueis.

Notice the broken white line, which means that overtaking can be permitted.

Near Drigas

Near Drigas

Église de Hures

Local mushrooms I tasted them raw and they were nice.

This is the exact same butterfly as the one below.

Same one with wings open

I wont bother putting a caption on the next few butterflies, just enjoy them.

The Trees along this path look like some form a tapestry.

A wild Lilly. Small but beautiful.

Near Sainte-Énimie

Near Sainte-Énimie

Near Sainte-Énimie

Light as reflected on a cobweb in the roof of one of the little"caves"

I think it is a Pine flower.

The marking you follow while walking any "GR" in France.

Beautiful Poppy field near the village of St-Germain-du-Teil

Beautiful Poppy field near the village of St-Germain-du-Teil

A Vulture (I think)

Poppy Field

Close up of butterfly

Between Col du Trébatut and Saint Chély d'Aubrac

 The Moon ,between Col du Trébatut and Saint Chély d'Aubrac

A typical cross on the Aubrac.

Patchwork roadway and leaning fences on the very beautiful Aubrac.

Wild Pansies 

Wild Pansies 

The Aubrac

The next set of photographs from now on are taken on the Le Puy Camino the GR65.  I photographed this man two years ago. Could not resist photographing him ago.

The twisted spire of the Church in Saint-Cóme d'Olt.

The cheese boards in France have great local cheese. This was a selection as part of my lunch in Saint- Cóme d'Olt.

I asked permission of this family to take a few photographs of them. They were very nice polite people. As far as I could  ascertain they were part of a Christian group going all the way to Santiago.

At the roundabout in Espalion.

Add caption

Possibly "Different Worlds"

The old bridge Espalion

Inside of Eglise de Saint-Pierre-de-Bessuéjouls this is the 1st flower reach by an incredible  narrow series of  stairs.
Two nice pilgrims. Taken on July 18th. He started walking from Germany on April 1st.The young lady is from Brittany and started in Le Puy a week previous. This was my last food stop of my five weeks walking. It was nice to have shared it with these two people.

 Eglise de Saint-Pierre-de-Bessuéjouls, one of the oldest churches 9th and 11th Century credentials. on the Le Puy route, near Espalion.

Notre Dame Cathedral Rodez.

 Window, Notre Dame Cathedral Rodez.

Notre Dame Cathedral Rodez.