A day on the Célé: Espagnac & Marcilhac
We awake to sunny skies – so nice! After a wonderful breakfast at the hotel, we are off on a 20 minute drive to our next river adventure – the Célé. This river is actually a small winding stream that flows down a steep sided valley into the Lot. It is a place that few tourists visit and we do have the river to ourselves. Our paddle today is from St. Eulalie to Marchilhac. We put in and only go a short distance before stopping in the village of Espagnac to check out the beautiful flowers that are blooming and some ancient ruins of an old monastery. The bearded iris and roses are just beautiful.
Back on the river and we are in for some adventures. The Célé is very narrow and is running fast. My long ago learned canoe skills are being tested! We do have to navigate three weirs along the river – rock areas that sometimes have to be portaged around.
The first one we ran right over without a problem – it was a little like running a very short rapid. Next we had to come down a roller area to the side of the weir – we made it fine but Paul and Patty got somewhat hung up – must be all the great French food! The last one was just a log and we went right over that. Guess we are lucky that the river is running so high!
The scenery along the river was stunning – green colors everywhere with tree branches hanging over the river, herons flying ahead of us from one place to another, wag tail birds flitting about and cuckoos singing high in the trees. We had planned to stop at a small café in town on the way to the farm where we are staying for a beer, but it was closed.
We finally wound our way up the hill to where we will stay for the next two nights. It is a wonderful farmhouse in the middle of the countryside and we will be eating all our meals here, prepared by our hosts Helen and Richard. This place (originally built in 1809) was converted 15 years ago from a complete ruin into a B & B – something you would see the likes of on an episode of International House Hunters on HGTV! This couple came from England in search of a better life and are soon getting ready to retire.
Richard cooked a delicious salmon in pastry main course, plus we had an aperitif, appetizer, green beans, various cheeses and a banana pudding for dessert. Time for bed so we can go for the 6:30am hike!