From :

Wagon. A cranky contary female / an ugly female. She\'s some wagon eh?

wagon. wagon - an awful woman. than one is such a wagon!

wagon. a woman thats a bitch. dat ones a right wagon.

Wagon. A cantankerous old woman.. Yer wan's some wagon, I asked her could I feed the seagulls and she lifted me out of it!

wagon. car or other mode of transport. i'll drive my waggon.

Wanderly Wagon. A much loved Irish children's TV program which ran from 1968 to 1982

Friday, 27 April 2012

Day 14 - Barbières to Parnans

Barbières is remote.  And La Ferme le Pejoux is in back-end of nowheresville in Barbières   Hence, we had no internet, and worse still, no mobile phone coverage!  To make up for these shortcomings, the hosts, the Pierre family, are incredibly welcoming, and in fact kept us up until well after midnight, stuffing us with delicious food and pouring wine down our throats!

Unfortunately, the LSH had a phonecall scheduled for 10am, which meant we had to haul ourselves out of bed at the usual 8am - no chance of a lie-in!  We managed to hit the road a little before ten and rode down the long slope into the village of Barbières.  It's surrounded on all sides by crags and tors - it reminded me of some of the scenery in Lord of the Rings.  All it needs is a giant statue carved in it...
The streets of the town were deserted, there were occasional cars and vans passing, and one little old lady walking down the street - plus two Irish horses and their riders!
We passed the church, and there in the car-park was the LSH, on his phone-call - he gave us a cheery wave as we passed.
Thirty seconds after passing him, a mass of cyclists whizzed past us on the narrow street, complete with motor bike and minibus escorts - I don't know if it was a race or what!  Neither horses batted an eyelid - they really are bomb-proof at this stage!
After leaving the village, we followed the directions sketched on the map by Mme Pierre. Unfortunately, she only sketched the first part, and I was left to my own devices for the rest of it, so before we set off, I had worked out a route which would get us across the plains as far as the Isère river.
At first we rode along footpaths and through fields, but we ended up having to cover a lot of the distance on the roads.
This was quite a pleasant little track
There were the usual pretty little country churches
and I loved this field of rape (canola)
For the first time, we were plagued by flies.  I need to add tassels to Flurry's fly bonnet!
We had used fly spray on both horses before setting off, but it wears off quickly, especially when they sweat up.
Eventually we were riding on the plains.  It was flat.  It was very fertile - every inch of ground is either cultivated or is used to raise chickens.  There were lots of fruit and nut trees - here Anne and Gigi are passing through a plantation of walnut trees.
But for the most part, it was just plain boring, and tedious, hot, sweaty, work to ride through.
Then the Peleton came whizzing by again and brightened our day briefly - they all recognised us, a few of the cyclists waved, and we got big cheery waves from the support crew in the minibus.
There is a bridge near where I live which crosses the main road from Cork to Bandon.  I've ridden Flurry over it twice - he was just a bit tense the first time, but had a complete meltdown the second time at the sight of trucks and cars disappearing under his feet.  He has crossed many bridges at this stage, but none which went over a road - until today, that is, when we crossed over a busy dual carriageway, cars and trucks speeding by underneath our feet, both horses plodding steadily on, as if crossing a motorway was something they did every day of their lives.
Finally we reached the Isère river, and had to cross it on this suspension bridge.  There were lots of cars on it when we were crossing it - in fact we caused a bit of a traffic jam!
On the other side of the Isère, we rejoined the TRADAC trail and were directed up this pretty cobbled street.  Apparently it was a medieval road, and the cobbles continued for quite a distance into the woods behind the village.
We were back in more interesting ground now, we could look down and see the bridge where we had crossed the river,
We started off in the jagged bit of mountains to the left of the bridge

 and we were winding out way through the woods when we came upon this sight.
There had been a lot of trees felled, and they were strewn everywhere - right over the trail.  There was no way we could get through or around, so we backtracked and took a guess at which trail might lead us in the right direction.  A few minutes along this trail, there was a piercing shriek from Anne (she was leading) and she quickly turned Gigi and said "SNAKE!!! - He was BIG!  And he was coming straight at me and hissing!!"  We both retreated a bit, then of course I said I'd get a photo of him (yeah, mad, I know) so I left Anne holding the horses and went back up the trail.  At this stage the snake was heading off into the undergrowth, but he hissed at me too, for good measure!  I managed to take a photo, which was good enough to identify him (Western Whip Snake, non-venomous) but not good enough to post here, I'm afraid!
We rejoined the proper trail (lucky guess) but were quite surprised to find it partially blocked again, this time with fallen branches.  This one was absolutely the lowest we can go under - Anne had to remove Gigi's saddle to enable her to pass underneath.

Finally, eight hours after leaving Barbières, we arrived at the Gite Equestre in Parnans.  Tired, thirsty, hot and sweaty - both us and the horses!  We set to work watering, untacking and washing them down which they really appreciated.
While removing the Renegade boots, we discovered another problem - Flurry has worn a hole in the toe of one of his hind boots.  We now have two holed boots, both of which we have repaired with epoxy resin.  We will try out the repairs tomorrow and see how successful they are - if the resin doesn't adhere to the boots, we will have to come up with a new strategy.
We have one spare boot here and another spare in the US which will take at least two days to get to us.  The company who make the boots have a one week delay on all orders, so there's no point in doing that - our new boots would arrive here just after we finish Le Big Trek.  We could buy a different make of boot here, or we could revert to metal shoes, but neither of us have any confidence in the performance of metal shoes on the sort of rocky terrain we have been covering.
It's a bit problem, and as yet, we have no idea what the solution will be.
Á demain!

Everytrail map.
My iPhone died shortly before we finished, but we were recording on Anne's phone as well.  For the moment, we are guesstimating a total of 33km today, but we'll amend it tomorrow.
Day 14 barbieres to parnans at EveryTrail

The final section:
Parnans at EveryTrail


  1. Just have to let you know how impressed I was by Tansy. Yes, those horses will be old hands by the time you get home. Would the company that provided the boots be interested in feedback--you would be in a great position to help. Stand by for some windy weather. There is a vortex somewhere between the two of us but it's path is uncertain...OH YES, I can see your hosts holding your arms behind your back and forcing the wine down your throats while both of you screamed NO, No...(oh yes)

  2. Awesome photos! What a great trip you're taking--even with the felled trees and snakes. Looks like quite the obstacle course.