Dagmar and I needed crawler gears to make the climb to Mt Aigoual. The route is said to have some very fine scenery. We left the dense forests of the Gard and everything changed as we climbed. Wild flowers came out in abundance such as cowslips, wild daffodils, early purple orchids and marsh marigolds to name but a few. The trees changed too. The higher we climbed, the earlier were the leaf buds until near the top there were no buds, no trees and some remnants of snow. The time in our crawler gears allowed us to take in all this wildness. In the background I heard 5 cuckoos call and a woodpecker was busy hammering at a tree. The slow ride took 4.5 hours for 28km and 1,350m of altitude.
I must tell you about Badger. Badger belongs to no-one but Dagmar and I share caretaker roles. Badger joined me from Devon Wildlife Trust when I cycled 6,000km around the North Sea Cycle Route in 2010. This is where I met Dagmar. She took pity on me thinking I was lost in Wilhemshaven and had just started the same route. Well, we cycled together to Harwich where my journey ended but Badger jumped bikes to join Dagmar to go round the North Sea Cycle Route a second time. Since then Badger has been to 3 more countries and may have travelled as much as 16,000km. Badger looks grey now but still has plenty of energy for rides whoever he is with. After this trip, he returns to Devon Wildlife Trust to take part with me in their Heart Of Dartmoor Cycle Challenge on 17 May.
Here is Badger on Dagmar's bike with my bike lying in the distance.