Explorer Belt Day 3 – Beaufort

Photo 1 - Our guests yard

 

In 1984 as a 15 year old Venture Scout I embarked on a 10 day Explorer Belt hike around the alpine region of South France. In this series of blog posts I revisit my diaries and retrace those footsteps…
My diary entry

Wednesday 15th August 1984

Got up late at 9:30. Washed feet in brook. Wore sandals for first time in France. We left rucksacks at house and took ant filled tent down (we found loads of ants crawling around tent). Killed scores of ants. Family went out for the day so we sat down and wrote log, drew maps, drank and shoed flies away.

This continued until 2:30 when pangs of hunger drove us to Beaufort where we found only the restaurant (too expensive) and newsagent open. We saw many people playing boules and took photo before very hot sun (approx 80 degrees fahrenheit) drove us back to the shade of the newsagents. We bought 1 pack of biscuits, 3 postcards and 2 stamps.

Went back to house where we wrote 2 postcards. Walked back and posted them in Beaufort and we also filled up water bottles and larger water container. Returned and attempted to make goulash. Andy spilled half a pint of it on the stone floor, but no loss because it was horrible anyway and the dog ate it. Frantically cleared up mess and then attempted mash which was OK except that there was too much.

Washed the mash container out in the river and surplus mash flew all over the place. Trees were white with mash. The stream bed had mash on it. I discarded the rest under a large stone whose inhabitant (a spider) was most surprised, distressed and soon drowned in mash. After washing up we made rice pudding which was actually edible and NICE! The meal ended well with delicious orange juice.

We left the rucksacks and wreckage from dinner but took just the tent to the most antless part of the field we could find. It pitched easily and for once correctly. I sellotaped every visible entrance which might allow an ant to enter and this done we settled down for the night. Will now sleep as soon as I’ve sellotaped up the door for the tent. Got to bed at 9:22

On this day:

  • Ray Parker Jr in US charts with Ghostbusters
  • IBM releases the PC-AT – (286 processor, 20MB hard drive & 256k of RAM – feel the power!)
  • Soviet Union opens its alternative games having boycotted the Olympics

Looking back…

With blistered feet in need of rest today became an unanticipated recovery day, which at least meant a lie-in. The ants really were a pest. I was rather freaked out when we first encountered them in the tent but with the modern Force 10 Mk IV having a sealed groundsheet there were only a limited number of entrances and these could be taped up.

All along our walk I was struck by the prevalence of boules (petanque as the people of the Rhone valley called it). Every village had a sandy boules area and older gents would spend hours playing or watching beneath the shade of trees. One sensed lifelong friendships were played out in these arenas at a suitably sedate pace. Here is that photo I took…

Photo 2 - Boules in the square
Photo 2 – Boules in the square
I’m pleased to see that little has changed in 30 years.
Modern re-creation in street view

The house and yard at Beaufort are burnt into my memory. I don’t recall the mash episode but I do remember feeling extremely awkward about spilling goulash in the yard and hoping our kindly hosts would not be offended. In retrospect they would probably have been more offended by the fact we were eating shoddily cooked goulash, mash and rice pudding.

My diary reveals that I was instead preoccupied with food – something true to this day. We spilled the goulash in this yard…

Photo 1 - Our hosts yard
Photo 1 – Our hosts yard
I have been trying to work out exactly where we stayed using google maps based on the photo of the house. We were obviously staying at a property with land adjoining the river Gervanne so I think I can narrow it down to one of 2 properties. I have a hunch that it is this one – it assumes a degree of modernisation…
Modern re-creation in street view

We grabbed an early night and hoped the walk could continue in the morning without the hinderance of blisters.

Map
No walk today but a few locations are referenced

 Key:
Photo 1 Street View of Photo 1 – Hosts yard
Photo 2 Street View of Photo 2 – Boules in the square
Overnight Suspected camping location

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