Aven & Plateau de Cavillore

View onto the plain of Caussols

View onto the plain of Caussols

Click on any image to see a larger (1500 x 1000 pixel) version!

On May 22, 2009, Eric and I drove up to Gourdon and from there to the Col de l'Ecre where we parked the car. We wanted to climb the Aven to see the plain of Caussols from above; this is an undemanding but fun hike. We reached the first vantage point easily enough and spent a bit of time enjoying the view. We then continued our climb towards the Plateau de Cavillore.

After a few minutes, we heard a persistent and plaintive bleating and expected to come across a flock of sheep. Instead, we found a tiny lamb, apparently abandoned, lost, and famished. While we were petting the cute little thing, a fellow hiker joined us. She told us that, contrary to what I had assumed, no one would be looking for this lamb, that no local shepherd could possibly be bothered to go back up the mountain to look for one lost animal, particularly not such a young one. She offered to carry the animal back to the valley and return it to the shepherd. We gladly accepted this suggestions and continued on our way.

We eventually reached the observatory and made our way back down to the plain from there. I had obtained the email address of the lady who had left with the lamb, and I sent her a few photographs. In her response, Mrs. C. wrote the shepherd had claimed that the lamb, a female, was five days old and had spent three of them alone on the mountain. She would not survive long in the flock, he guessed, but he could always use the meat for his dogs. Horrified, Mrs. C. took the animal home with her, and she and her husband began taking turns feeding her with a bottle. They also emptied their toolshed and converted it to a temporary pen. Their dog, the email read, was absolutely thrilled to have a flock of one to watch over. The last we heard, things were going very well.

You never know what story you come back with when you go hiking; this one happened to have a happy ending.


Starting out through lush pastures Looking back View from halfway up
Starting out through lush pastures Looking back View from halfway up


Not much further to go Almost on top The path we came up on
Not much further to go Almost on top The path we came up on


The plain from the Aven A different angle A cairn marks the first summit
The plain from the Aven A different angle A cairn marks first summit


The view towards the Mediterranean Eric pointing out the 'Puy de... ...Tourrettes' and 'Pic de Courmettes'
The view towards the Mediterranean Eric pointing out the Puy de... ...Tourrettes and Pic de Courmettes


Lost, abandoned, and famished lamb Are Eric's shoelaces edible? Ah, saved at last!
Lost, abandoned, and famished lamb Are Eric's shoelaces edible? Ah, saved at last!


Piggy-back ride into the valley The plain of Caussols On the way to the plateau
Piggy-back ride into the valley The plain of Caussols On the way to the plateau


Dead tree The 'Plateau de Cavillore' is in sight Eric on the highest point
Dead tree The Plateau de Cavillore is in sight The highest point: 1340 m (4400 ft)


The view from the top We never did find out what this is Arriving at the observatory
The view from the top We never did find out what this is Arriving at the observatory


A few of the labs Heading back down A (not 'the') flock of sheep
A few of the labs Heading back down A (not the) flock of sheep


Leaving the mountain behind us Almost back where we started A last look at the Aven
Leaving the mountain behind us Almost back where we started A last look at the Aven




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