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Donkey trekking with RL Stevenson

Walking holidays Europe just got better with Donkey trekking with RL Stevenson. This is an opportunity to enjoy one of Europe’s top walks in the company of a trusted and long-eared companion. Remember, you’re the one who’s never hiked this trail before, not the Ass.

Creating walking holidays Europe can be proud of is our passion; and Donkey trekking with RL Stevenson is quintessentially green, modern and yet retro. So leave your car or camper van at home and enjoy a walking holiday that reduces your carbon footprint to an absolute minimum. A combination of plane and train should get you comfortably to Le Puy in one day's travel from within France or from other European cities.

Your holiday commences with a short training session in donkey handling and asinine negotiating skills, and is your first opportunity to meet your travel companion for the next six days. Be firm, but fair! You’ll learn much that will prove invaluable both during and after your ‘guided’ walking adventure across Velay and Gévaudan. Life changing? Just maybe! But don’t worry – full scale maps and comprehensive walking notes are provided and there's local back-up to handle any donkey-related difficulties!

Out of the Woods

You can then experience the delights of hiking across 105 kilometres or 69 miles of rich and varied terrain between Le Monastier and Chasseradès; following in the footsteps [and hoof-prints] of Robert Louis Stevenson and his trusted companion, Modestine, à la “Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes” (1879) whilst championing the cause of modern-day, ecologically-friendly adventure travel.

Tour Summary

Arrival day in Le Puy en Velay.
Spend the night in Le Puy from where we transfer you to Le Monastier after breakfast the next morning for your short induction programme in donkey handling skills.

Day 1: Le Monastier to Goudet.
6.5 miles-9.5 kms, approx. 3½ hrs, +190 ms -325 ms

Day 2: Goudet to Le Bouchet St Nicolas.
8.5 miles-12.5 kms, approx. 4½ hrs, +400 ms

Day 3: Le Bouchet St Nicolas to Pradelles.
12½ miles-19 kms, approx. 6½ hrs, +285 ms -375 ms

Day 4: Pradelles to Cheylard l’Eveque.
14 miles-21.5 kms, approx. 6½ hrs, +310 ms -320 ms.

Day 5: Cheylard l’Eveque to La Bastide.
12.5 miles-19 kms. approx. 6 hrs, +240 ms -380 ms

Day 6: La Bastide to Chasseradès.
8 miles-12 kms, approx. 3½ hrs, +330 ms – 160 ms

Departure day.
Morning transfer back to La Bastide [not included] for onward train north or southwards. See you next year for Part Two of the trek!

Vegetarian lunch with 'produits du terroirs'?

Tour Description

The gentle climb out of Le Monastier and onto the volcanic plateau enables you to get to know your new friend and what makes her/him tick. Enjoy the views across the plateau with its myriad ‘puy,’ and the charming villages with which you become acquainted. The trail after St Martin is a gem; and the descent into the deeply-incised Upper Loire gorge to Goudet, chateau Beaufort and rhinoceros ridge is breathtaking. You then enjoy a night in a walkers’ inn where Stevenson dined several times whilst planning his trek.

The prolonged climb out of the valley takes you through some picturesque villages on your way to Le Bouchet St Nicholas and its fine lake. After Landos, you walk beside the splendid Arquejol viaduct before ascending to fine views across to Lac Naussac en route to Pradelles.

You enter Lozere via the eighteenth century Regordane Way and enjoy a short tour of Langogne’s central ‘circulade.’ You cross rolling uplands and encounter thick forest before descending to isolated Cheylard l'Evêque, where the welcome is highly rated.

Time and energy to enjoy the views

From there, you enter the Gardille forest and enjoy the peace and tranquility of its eponymous lake, before descending an ancient drovers’ trail to the enchanting ruins of Luc castle. Then it’s due south on the medieval Regordane and across the Allier River to the historic resting place of La Bastide Puy Laurent. There’s an optional short hike after breakfast to Our Lady of the Snows Abbey [90 mins], where RLS feared conversion. Then climb to the highest point of your trek,, cross the Atlantic–Mediterranean watershed, and walk down valley to Chasseradès and the Mirandol Viaduct. Then It’s a fond farewell to your long-eared friend.

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