It was fine and sunny when Anne, Tatane and I set off from St Vaast to drive across the Cotentin to set up a coastal walk. We dropped Tatane’s car at Anse des Moulinets which is due south of Jobourg. Anne then drove north to drop Tatane and me at Goury (a port famous for the number of sea rescues carried out here) on Cap de La Hague.
Our walking route would then take us due south to Nez de Jobourg before we would turn east to walk what I deduced to be the final third of our course.
As we set off the sun was shining and the temperature was rising. We made our way along lanes to La Roche after which we left habitation and started to climb along the cliff path. The close map contours which run along the coast foretell the nature of the walk ahead. With the heat rising I am now overheated and will remain so until the journey’s end which will be four and a half hours ahead. The path rises and falls often and its surface is potentially unsteadying. Thank goodness I have my walking pole. Out in the sun I feel the heat on my face and luckily Tatane suggests that I wrap my scarf over my head and round my neck, to be held in place by my cap. There is some relief when we get to Baie d’Ecalgrain but shortly after we reach a point where the path climbs unrelentingly to Nez de Voidries where there is a restaurant on the cliff top. That long haul is a slog and I have to take frequent breaks.
Once on the headland, looking back you can see Baie d’Ecalgrain and this headland is separated by Anse de Senival from Nez de Jobourg – a listed bird sanctuary. Surrounded by reefs, this long, rocky and barren promontory is the most impressive of those to be found along the cape of La Hague. The terrain and aspect here are rugged and exposed.
We sit amongst the populace who have converged here, they, for the most part, having been served by the only road that brings vehicles to this headland. The former Semaphore has been converted into a restaurant, Auberge des Grottes. We sit and I drink some coffee from my flask and nibble a biscuit. I am just too hot to eat although I later think that I should have done, to provide a few calories.
Moving on from the two Nez the footpath zigzags and constantly rises and falls, often steeply. It is unforgiving and my overheated body has to rest at very short intervals. Tatane is amazingly supportive, she keeps a steady pace and to my amazement when we come to a particularly steep bit of the path, she runs up it! It is evident she is more resistant to the heat and she puts this down to years spent in Africa.
This eastward route has seemed to take forever and without relief and when I study the map later I see that the red path we followed is very wiggly and rather more so than the southern route to the two Nez. More than once I have vowed never again……….. and what I mean is I will never willingly undertake such an exacting walk in blazing sunshine. Sitting in the car I eat my sandwiches and it is not long into our homeward drive that my body calms down and I begin to feel less like a very old lady.