One of our Advocates, English writer Helen Reynolds, has written a load of great posts on walks near and far around the retreat. Below are her walking tips for you while on retreat. Helen has been on retreat at La Muse 3 times and will be coming back soon.
Salut! I’m Helen Reynolds, an aspiring historical novelist who likes to hike.
As I’ve never had a car with a chauffeur here the linear walks in Villages perches en Montagne Noire aren’t much use.
On my third trip to La Muse, I thought I’d write down my walks to help out fellow Musers.
I worked for the web editor for the Lake District National Park in the UK for 11 years. However I wouldn’t say I am a full-on walker. Because of dodgy knees, my ideal walk is a loop no more than 7 miles (11 km) long. My usual pace is about 3 to 3 and a half miles an hour (5 to 5 and a half km) on the flat.
Here are some of my favorites.
There are also notes on trails taken but not recommended in The Roads Less Travelled.
Top 8 Walking and Hiking Tips on Retreat
- Not sure of your footwear or ability? Start with the woodland path down to Roquefère (Walk to Roquefère). If you find that a struggle then just stick to the Fire Path (Walk 2).
- Let someone know where you’re going. If no one is around, write down where you’re going, the time you left and leave it somewhere obvious, like your desk or by the visitor book in the hall.
- Take enough water with you. There are no shops apart from in Roquefère, the next village down from Labastide.
- Learn to identify St Julien. Take a look out of the Living Library to your left. See the white house high up on the hillside opposite? That’s St Julien. If you see that, you know Labastide is nearby.
- If Homer or one of the village dogs tags along with you, don’t worry if they then wander off. They’ve just picked up a scent more interesting than you. They are more than capable of looking after themselves. That includes the roads.
- Be on the look-out for ticks once a year in mild weather. There is a very small risk of their carrying Lyme’s disease. I’ve been clear so far, but I wear trousers not shorts and check myself after every walk. If you do find one, then here’s how to remove them.
- Note the sunset time and always take a torch. Here’s the local sunset time. There is nothing worse than having to slide down a boar path on your bum because you went the wrong way and are now racing the sun. Yes, I speak from experience!
- The official Carte de Randonnee map for the area is Montagne Nore (Est) Mazamet with a blue cover. There should be a spare one in the desk in the hall. Not all the logging access roads are marked. Sometimes you think you’re on a path only for it to end in a reversing spot for the lorries. Also a thick green line is not a path but the official boundary of a forest.