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 Walk Across Europe

2010-10-24 - Trip 17 - Leg 131

France, Languedoc Roussillon_Pyrennees Orientales

Leucate la Franqui to Port la Nouvelle

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18.5 km today.
3.3 km/h average today.
5 hours 34 mins walking time.
18.5 km this trip.
2585.9 km from start.
0 metres minimum height.
21 metres maximum height.
39 metres ascent.
73 metres descent.
 Track Log: Logged.
 Travel: Train.

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Mostly farm tracks and quiet lanes. Port la Nouvelle sea front and harbour/river road. Interesting.

The 08:52 train from Sète to Leucate-La-Franqui departed on time and arrived without incident. After crossing the tracks, the walking route headed roughly north on an unmade road parallel with the railway. The railway tracks crossed the saltings (salins) with water on both sides. This return route was too risky so a left turn followed a farm track circumnavigating the wetlands. On both sides there was reclaimed land with horses grazing. There were a number of hunters with their dogs on this short leg of the walk.

The start of this leg was quite distressing because it was the first without Anne who died earlier in the year. The overcast weather added to the sombre mood. Later two varieties of wine grape, scrumped from an already harvested vinyard, cheered the mood. The grapes were sweet and tasty but the skins were tough and the pips large. The pomagranite method involving a lot of spitting was required.

After 3 km, the walk joined the CR1 cycle route. Parts of the CR1 will be useful but today quieter roads were often chosen, first passing through Saint Brancat where some of the locals were making their way home from church. The narrow lane ran parallel with the main road and finally joined it. Fortunately only 240 metres had to be endured before a right turn towards the sea. This quiet lane ran parallel with the saltings, most of the way to Port La Nouvelle. At the camping site (closed for the winter) there was a small lane towards the beach. This deteriorated into a mud path, obvoiusly flooded at high tide. The route was passable but paddling was required and it would be difficult or impossible at high tide or in stormy weather.

Port La Nouvelle was a surprise. Having expected some slightly run down holiday accommodation and uninspiring sea front facilities, the town turned out to be a busy port with large ships, pilot boats, tugs and a lifeboat. Of course the holiday trade was there too.

Back at the railway station, there were very few trains. Engineering works and line upgrades were taking place and also a strike by some railway workers was causing problems. After several hours waiting, the train arrived on time. Luckily the weather was calm and mild. It rained but the trackside shelter worked. After waiting so long for a train, it was frustrating to be delayed for yet another hour by a line blockage when the train was only a few hundred metres from home.