This morning I insisted that Rene and Jean-Pierre go on ahead. I would plod on behind.
At Fort William in Scotland at the end of the West Highland Way, a group of walkers confided that they had created nicknames for all the walkers on the trail. I was The Plodder.
As I was struggling up the first climb of the day, Marcelline phoned and commented on my heavy breathing. "Are you really enjoying this?" she said. "No, not at this moment," I replied. "My feet are sore, my knees hurt, and my legs are aching.
But then I reached the top, and strode along a forest track as the rising sun lit up the trees. I was filled with a sense of well being.
Misery and joy follow each other.
I began the longest climb of the walk. Up and up along forest tracks to reach the highest point until the Pyrannees. This was the Cap de Faulat at 1081 metres, the site of a range of wind turbines.
One towered over me as I ate lunch. They are quite eerie creatures up close, especially when their shadows sweep down on you as they turn.
Then it was a long downhill ramble to the next gite and a meal of salad, omelette and pasta. The French cooked. I washed up.