Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Cormatin Randonnée

Records have been broken at the Cormatin Randonnée (organised walk) last Sunday. Not records we wanted to be broken, but broken they were none the less.

I’ll just go back a couple of steps first, to explain what this is all about. The annual walks are organised by the Amicale de Cormatin of which we are both active members and this year it was decided that all the walks would be changed. Now that is one heck of a lot of work and we have been walking the highways and byways around here all of August, different groups of us, to sort out and agree on the four new walks, 7 km, 13 km, 20 km and 30 km. We spent all day Friday and Saturday marking the walks on the road with paint arrows (the way to go) and paint crosses (the way not to go) and we have been hammering in posts of coloured indicators and “watch out there are walkers about” signs at junctions, we have done shopping for food and wine to refresh our walkers and we have set up the feeding posts in suitable locations.

In an average year, the walks usually attract about 300 walkers, but we have been known to have more and it is one of the two big events that swell the coffers to pay for the annual pensioners’ lunch.

Sunday dawned and it was raining, well not raining actually, it was pouring down. Not a good start to a walking day after the hottest and most beautiful few weeks we have ever had in September. Off we set to do the final arrangements and then go to our feeding post at La Moutonnier. At eight o’clock on the dot the first walker arrived to sign up for the walk, he was actually going to run the 30 km and as we were feeding the 20 and 30km walkers, we headed off shortly after him to make sure we got there first. It was a bit of a slow cold start to the day, but at 10 o’clock our first mountain-bikers arrived, then our runner and then we waited. A little later two more mountain-bikers. We were expecting 50 people for the 30 km and 100 for the 20 km and had sandwiches and wine for them all, along with dried fruit, chocolate and cake. We waited and waited and it rained and rained and we got colder and colder. To cut a long story short, before we shut up shop, only 16 people had passed our post. It was a good job the farm cat
came to join us or we would have had nothing to do at all. We returned to base camp, a little despondent, to hear how the other walks had gone. The 13 km was as usual the most popular walk, in a normal year this walk would attract 150 walkers but this year only 23 hardy souls made it and the 5 km (very popular with after-lunch walkers) had the grand total of 0 people.

So this is a record year for the fewest walkers ever in the 33 year history of the club and our coffers have not only not been swollen, then have significantly shrunk. Not a good day in the life of our little club, looks like it will be leftover sandwiches for the pensioners' lunch this year...

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