Day 22 Brienne le Chateau to Dolancourt – 22nd June

Distance: 22.5 km – Elevation +160 m -150 m

Weather: Sunny intervals. Temperature: High 21 degrees

Today was one of those days where everything seems to go wrong. First, I had decided for a 6 am start and set my alarm for 5.30 am. I didn’t have a good night’s sleep so when the alarm woke me I was still tired – so probably would have been better to have slept a little longer.

I did get underway by 6.00 am and had to return the key to the tourist office before setting out on the short climb out of Brienne le Chateau to my first point of interest

the location of an early Roman vineyard. I followed the track through the woods

until I found my path blocked by a fallen tree and in trying to circumnavigate the obstruction my rucksack caught a low tree branch which caused a pull on my back and from that moment the day got progressively worse.

I was, as in previous days, following the Lightfoot track on my phone – it had been a reliable source for navigation until today – it led me into a corn field.

As you can see from the above photo there was once a track but this led to an almost impassable field of an abandoned crop which had totally taken over the track. In forcing my way through I further aggravated my back to a point where I was unable to walk for more than 30 minutes without taking a rest.

I eventually reached Dolancourt mid afternoon – midpoint of my intended days walk – and booked into a 3 star hotel – the only accommodation available. fortuitously my room had a bath tub ( the first since leaving Canterbury) and I was able to relax my back with a hot bath.

Dolancourt was an important place and time in the life of Napoleon – it was where he hesitated and as a result he lost Paris which led to his exile.

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