Yesterday we discovered the southern end of La Rigole, a 60-ish kilometre waterway built to supply water to the Canal du Midi from Les Montagnes Noires (the Black Mountains). Today we set out early enough to visit and cycle along some of the northern end of La Rigole in the Black Mountains.
We followed farmer Luc’s instructions and drove to Les Cammazes to cycle upstream towards the source of La Rigole, about 24kms/15mls away. La Rigole turned out to be a charmingly peaceful waterway, essentially a small canal, winding its way through the wooded sides of the Black Mountains. The track is actually a part of one of France’s Grandes Randonées (long distance footpaths), the GR7. The only other person we saw on our excursion was a solo walker heading in the opposite direction. “Bonjour monsieur!”
We’d cycled slowly for about an hour and a half and the scenery hadn’t changed much so we were considering turning around and heading back for a picnic lunch. I picked a particularly fortuitous place to stop to discuss the U-turn with Carol. There, on the opposite bank of La Rigole was a dark brown furry ferret-like creature about 18ins/45cms long. It stared at me. It even stared at me long enough for Carol to extract her camera from her handlebar bag and give it to me. It continued to be unconcerned. Unfortunately we’d come equipped for landscape shots and did not have a longer telephoto but I managed to grab a shot with what we did have. I believe the creatures a mink. What luck! We weren’t going to top that so we did our about turn and headed back, pausing only to photograph one of the many Autumn Crocuses that were lining one bank.
A mink – fabulous! 🙂