Today was a mixed experience. Having seen the weather forecast for gusts of up to 45mph winds, I varied my route somewhat. Heading for Narbonne in the morning with the intention of turning inland to Carcassonne should the forecast prove to be over dramatic. Unfortunately it was correct – the wind was horrendous, blowing and gusting from the North West with me heading North East and considering a turn directly into the wind. It’s a shame really, as the countryside through which I was travelling was great. Open water on one side and a view of the foothills of the pyrenees on the other. For most of the morning I was following a canal – familiar territory for me in France. The surface, for the most part, was awful though and would have suited a front suspension bike much better than my heavy tourer. Some parts had decent tarmac, but the gusting wind made extremely heavy going of it. By the time I arrived in Narbonne it was almost time for lunch, but I’d only managed to cover about a third of the distance I needed to to hit the campsite in Carcassonne. It was time for a rethink. On previous tours this wouldn’t have bothered me unduly but I’m determined to make this tour more about tourism than proving I can overcome adversity and cycle long distances in trying conditions. So my next stop was Narbonne station for a train up to Carcassonne. I figure, given that I’m returning to Narbonne tomorrow, I can still maintain the “cycling the south coast of france ” without compromise. Treat this as a rest day for tourism and pick up where I left off the following day.