Briançon to Brunissard

Yesterday was Bastille day and Briançon treated us to a magnificent firework display, which started shortly after we had gone to bed, but we were able to watch them from the apartment.

We awoke to dark threatening skies and through the cloud we could see that fresh snow had fallen on the mountains. Our project for the day was quite simple: leave Briançon, walk uphill to the Col des Ayes, and then down the other side. The forecast was for rain all day, and it was always possible that at the col it would be snow. In fact, the rain amounted to little more than drizzle and there was no snow, although it was pretty cold, and we are glad we had packed our gloves accessibly.

The walk started through the suburbs, where we took a slightly more direct route than the official GR5, which looking at the map, seemed to leave the town to head up a valley, change its mind and come back again. We’ll never know what delights awaited us on the official route as we just took the short side of the triangle.

Shortly after leaving Briançon

And then we started the long climb to the col. Although this involved 1425m (4675ft) of ascent it was mostly pretty gradual and height was gained easily. We were even able to have coffee and bilberry tart at a little ‘buvette’ about half way up.

We left the trees behind us and we were no longer in Briançon in a ‘We’re not in Kansas anymore’ kind of way.

Approaching the col

At the col, a man offered to take a picture of us together. He had a bit of trouble with my phone though, and we got colder and colder as he accidentally shot a video, a selfie, a picture of his foot and so on.

For some reason, the only snow left at the col was on a wooden post

Eventually, picture taken we were able to descend the other side, a well made path with lots of shallow zigzags making light work of the very steep ground.

A very pretty valley was reached followed by a section below an enormous cliff and now we have reached the small village of Brunissard.

The Dutch people we had spent the evening with at Plampinet are here. They were very keen to know how we had got on in the Vallée Clarée. They had crossed to the main road which apparently was a doddle with actually very little walking on the road. They were amused to hear about our crawl through forest and scree.

Weather forecast is much better for tomorrow.

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