My father always had a small pencil in his pocket – its point protected by a metallic cap to avoid stabbing his thigh or breaking off the tip. My childhood holidays were spent hiking in the Alps and he would often take a moment and sit down on a rock or a meadow, take out his pencil to do a little drawing in his sketchbook. This inspired me and my sisters to do the same. Considering that all the art work ended in the bin, shows that if there is no talent it does not mean we did not enjoy it.
All this I suddenly remembered when Kate and I walked the Rando Croquis of Bozas a few days ago.
What is a Rando Croquis? The idea is to combine drawing and painting with a relatively short hike (a bit more than 2 miles) taking you through different landscapes, showing you different things to draw and teaching you different techniques of sketching and painting. There are only 18 Rando Croquis circuits in the whole of France, and one is literally just on our doorstep starting at the neighbouring village of Bozas.
On the Bozas walk there are nine stations where you can sit down on a wooden bench which is attached to an inclined table which at the same time is the notice board with all the instructions. To hike from one position to the other you are helped by signposts attached to big pencils that are stuck in the ground. All you need to do is bring a pad and a pencil.
What we did not expect is the superb craftmanship of the “furniture” and the thought that had gone into the pedagogical aspect of the walk.
When we first heard about it we imagined a walk that would be handy to motivate children who would rather stay at home and stare at a screen. We thought it would be a good excursion for schools to teach their pupils how to observe the surrounding landscape. But there is much more to it than that. And the walk is very enjoyable for adults who like me are constantly intrigued by the magic of transforming the beauty of our countryside into two dimensions onto a piece of paper.