Alarm went off at 7am giving Breezy and I a bit of time to sort out emails ad internet before a quick breakfast with Fi, making a packed lunch and setting off from the barn. Blue sky everywhere. Reached to Col and had lunch and then turned around to return. Stopped at the Cascade Leziou on the way down.
Fi seems to have survived the night sleeping in the barn with no visitations from creatures of any type….phew.
Not a great day weather wise, cloud was quite low but due to improve later in the day. So after brekky we opted to do 2 hours of pointing before heading off with a picnic lunch to Cirque D’Anglade. We had a good walk up and the highlight being when we stopped for lunch watching between 20 and 30 chamois scramble around the steep, steep hillsides, they were amazing.
A little mushrooming on the way back down but did not find anything on the edible front.
We spent 40 minutes brushing off the walls which we had pointed in the morning before opening the wine after showers.
Cards outside and then BBQed lamb with salad. We got the fire going and ate inside as the temperature drops quickly as soon as the sun goes down.
Fi had never seen Saving Grace so we watched that and all had a good chortle.
Forecast is good for the rest of Fi’s stay so we hope to head to Port de Salau tomorrow and wave to Spain.
Hans was having a day off to spend with Claire so we decided to do the same.
The forecast was for a dry day even if cloudy.
So after brekky in the sun, cats and washing we drove up to Rouze at 963m and started the steep climb and muddy climb up to the Col. Through some nice woodland and good climbing weather as not too hot. An hour and we were at the Col just out of cloud level but not hanging about weather. Some mysterious views with all the cloud hanging about.
We traversed across to Col des Portes where the route finding fun began.
Managed a picnic on some dry rocks just above the stream and that was pretty much the last of the paths we saw until 10 minutes from the end!!!! All good fun, straight down through bilberries galore, then back into the woods which were not dense but just a tad slippy. We made it back with somewhat soaking feet but grins nonetheless. Glad we did not start that way round though.
Back to Vinnie and then hot indoor showers at Clives before well earned beers at the auberge.
Weather was warmish and dry so we opted for a BBQ while we could.
I made up some salads, Stevie in control on the BBQ and Al caught up on the blog.
A lovely evening with bangers, burgers, cous cous salad and other salads too. A bit more of the plum tart for pudd. Sat around the brasier for a bit before we all headed to bed hoping for a good night’s kip….
2am the wind was really howling and a large knock on the door. Stevie was being blown away in the tent. So everyone up, rescued the kit and got the tent down and Stevie moved into the barn.
Hopefully the solar panels have survived as they took a tumble, they look alright but we will see in the morning.
Back to bed for a few more hours.
Every Birthday should start with opening cards in bed, and this was no exception. I even got Breezy a fizzy water with grapefruit cordial to sup while she did the cards.
Packed lunch, flask of tea and a few other bits and pieces and we set off to Col de la Core to start a walk. A steep climb up to Cap Ner and scramble on to L'Aubague and onto Tuc D'Eychelle. Fantastic views off both sides of the ridge and a snack before descending to Cabane D'Eychelle on grassy slopes. Had lunch before gaining the GR10 and descending back to the van through the trees.
Blue skies escorted us all day even though there was snow on the summits. Will definitely head back there for some more exploring as it is a beautiful area. The Cabane sleeps 4 and is very basic with a couple of pans and an open fire. Wood would have to be collected and taken in but if using the GR10 that would be easy.
On the way back we had to hunt down a couple of beef steaks as that was Breezy's wish for her Birthday supper. The butcher in Seix was on holiday and close so we went to Oust. The butcher there is great. Loads of choice and good looking meat. Will definitely go there again.
Called in at Clive's to check the house over while they are away then back to the barn for some Blanquette de Limoux and Bezique. Picked up a couple of bollet mushrooms on route to go with the steaks.
Woke up this morning in a cold cabin under Mont Rouche. After a couple of cups of tea and a
cereal bar we set off. More steep climbing up grass to start and then up onto boulders and scree.
The views from the summit were spectacular from Mont Valier and Port Salau on one side right accross to Andorra on the other. A brief look at the maps to fill in gaps in our knowledege of the Pyrenees and off back down the hill.
Lunch back at the cabin and down towards the treeline. Picked some myrtilles for a tart on route and found some trompette du mort (horn of plenty) in the woods. I was delighted as I have wanted to find some for ages. They are now strung up in the outbuilding to dry. After that I slipped on the path down and took a more direct rout down the river with a little less control than before. Breezy was not ammused and a little shaken by my departure from the track. Nothing damaged we resumed our trundle back to the barn.
Solar up to 58% and no visitation from the mouse. Maybe it was mortally wounded on it's encounter with the trap a couple of days ago???
After a reasonable nights sleep with not too much snoring going on in the dorm we woke to see the sun just coming up over the etangs. Brekky and packed up before we headed up quite steeply to the Port Bassies on past Etang D’Alate and then dropping down to the Port Saleix.
It was early still and I was keen to make a bit more of a day of it than hop back to the van. So persuaded Al to yomp up another peak to Pic de Girantes and continue around the horseshoe ridge and then back to the car.
We had a quick lunch on the ridge but there was a cool wind so we did not hang around. Fantastic views from Pic de Girantes giving an amazingly clear view of the Pyrenees and we are gradually beginning to recognise some of the peaks which is good.
We trundled back to Salau. Dad called on the way which was perfect timing so had a good chat with him between all his hols.
Saw Annie on the way and she has only a couple of days left of work before visiting her son in Japan so she was very excited.
Back to the barn and we found a courgette by the door so we knew Alison and Peter were about. Unpacked and got sorted before heading to the Auberge for a drink with A & P, good to catch up with them and hear all their news.
Al cooked an excellent pasta dish out of very little as the cupboards are bare!! We were tired so were in bed by 930pm BLISS!
An early start for us as we wanted to get going early for the walk as it was quite a big day ahead.
Made lunches had brekky and out the door by 7.15am and it was looking clear.
We headed over to just the other side of Aulus Les Bains and climbed up to 1400m where we left Vinnie and headed off towards Pique Rouges des Bassies. We were in the shade for the first 1.5 hours up to the Col de la Fouze. After that we were in the sun for the rest of the day but there was quite a coolish wind at times. Perfect walking weather.
We followed the ridge along until we met the junction for the etangs. From there it was just another 45minute climb to the summit which had a light dusting of new snow on it. WOW what incredible views we got from there. We had a long lunch taking in the view and working out which peak was what etc.
Then it was down towards the lovely Etangs des Lavants de L’escale where we had a cuppa before continuing on down to the refuge. A lovely setting for a refuge and really popular with fishermen too so a good atmosphere in the evening.
Cards before dinner which was pretty good except for the pud which was rather like a solid lemon fairy liquid disaster!!! Shared dinner with a French couple and a German OAP who has been living in Ireland for the last 30 years and is doing the last stint of the GR10 which traverses The Pyrenees, pretty good going. A great day and we were so lucky with the weather.
Autumn is here, we had our first frost this am. So getting up this morning was a chilly affair!!! We made packed lunches and had some brekky before heading off to above Guzet which is the ski area closest to us.
Lee who is our fantastic source of local knowledge on where to go and what to do had come up trumps with this explore.
We drove above Guzet along a 4×4 track to Gerca which is at about 1800m so meant we had already gained a lot of height in Vinnie.
We then headed off to Col de Serron. Lee had given us an alternative way to get there which we missed some how and after scrambling/climbing for 30 mins decided to about turn and go up via Etang D’Aube to the Col de Serron. It was a lot of boulder hopping gradually climbing up to the lake and it was gorgeous. We sat by the lake and had some fruit and enjoyed the views. We had the place to ourselves fantastic. That is one of the huge differences between here and Chamonix. If this had been a walk in Chamonix we would have seen hundreds of people.
A steep 50 minute climb/boulder hop up to the col where we had amazing views towards the Spanish border and lots of the other valleys nearby which we have now explored. Gradually we are piecing bits and pieces together.
Lunch at the top in hot sunshine before s steep ish walk back down to the Turghilla Valley. A stop for some bilberries on the way and then we just enjoyed the walk down the valley seeing all the lakes. A few ladders and cables to get us over a section before heading back to the van. TOP day out. Thanks a million Lee.
Back to the barn, washing up showers etc before we tried to attach the stairs so we could access the toilet!!!
A bit fiddly and half in place the rest we will do tomorrow.
Delicious beef casserole and polenta for supps. Then reading. Nearly finished my book which will probably mean I get a lot more done!!!
An early start as Lee had planned a walk over near Aulus Les Bains in the next valley for a 9am ish start. So we were up just before 7am to make lunch etc before the 40 minute drive.
A cracking choice of a walk with loads of variety. Lee and Ian turned up and also a lass called Emily. It was a steep walk and humid walk up to the Cascade which was very impressive. I can imagine in the Spring time it must be amazing with all the snow melt. We climbed to the top of the cascade and then it levelled out. Ian was in his element as we found amazing bilberries. He removed his comb which is an amazing gadget for picking bilberries and he was away. Several kilos were picked for jam. We got enough for a tart and some brekky fruit.
I think the plan was to head for the Spanish border but we only got as far as the lakes where we had lunch and enjoyed a swim in the lake somewhat chilly but refreshing before looping back around to the cars via Etang de Guzet.
We had a quick drink in a bar in Aulus before returning back to the barn.
It was Mum’s birthday so we had some fizz and Al lit the inside of the barn up with candles, oil lamps etc. We sat on the new floor in deck chairs in candle/lamp light and drank the fizz with some nibbles and talked about Mum and toasted to her which was a lovely way to end the day. I know she would have approved.
A light supper as we had very little left on the food front so it was lardon and cheese omelette and salad. To bed pleasantly pooped!!!
A bit later than anticipated as we had no alarm clock!!! We managed to get away from the barn about 8.30am for our explore into another area.
We had looked at maps and come up with a plan to do a circular loop up to Port de Materat and back via another couple of cabanes.
We arrived at the village of Ossese a 30 minute drive from us, literally just in the next valley.
Took a look at the sign post which said 4hrs 30 mins to the col…slightly longer than planned.
We set off nonetheless in the heat and not a cloud in the sky.
We had a steady pace and were at the top in under 3 hours phew!!!
Lunch at the top with a cool wind much appreciated. Great views into Spain before we ventured back for the return.
All was going well until we reached the second cabane and the path and markers seemed to totally disappear. Maps being read, decisions being made, bilberry bushes growing large as we waded through them….strangely enough there were loads to pick for the tarte aux myrtilles…I winder why? Do you think we are not on any path at all???
Very true, anyway eventually we bush whacked through bilberries, bracken and trees and found our way to the river where we could cross and head back to the main track on the other side of the valley. Still another 45 minute steep descent but very happy to see the red and white markers on the rock to say we were heading the right way!!A good explore anyway. Great views of the ridges and putting names to peaks etc.
We popped in quickly to see Lee as planning a walk with him on Fri. He is coming up with a plan great. Then back up to the auberge to see Anuk for a couple fo drinks, rene busy at work in the kitchen and we also needed to collect the solar panels which had arrived.
Both quite tired it was a very quick chilli and rice before bed.
A good day out.