mardi 14 novembre 2017


A quick stop around Guzet with a decent in our snowshoes. Much more snow than I thought and in fact a couple of inches of light fluff on top of a firm base.....I wish I'd taken my skis!

vendredi 10 novembre 2017


Snow Wednesday night and most of Thursday followed a slight thaw and rain, but a clear spell over night and this morning revealed all. 75cm of snow at 2100m.

This morning we wandered up Joubac for some photography and fresh air.

dimanche 5 novembre 2017

Sheep feeder

Snow down to 1650m today and snow forecast here building a hay feeder for the sheep has suddenly become pressing. Some old tent poles, off-cuts from the decking and other assorted projects provided enough for a quick construction today.

vendredi 3 novembre 2017

Pic de Girantes (2088m) from Port de Lers

We've had lovely weather for the last few weeks, but snow and rain are forecast next week. We've been trying to organise a walk with friends and neighbours all week but late gite bookings and other commitments have made it difficult to get everyone together on the same day. Finally, today we managed it and just in time to profit from the last of the good weather.

Sandrine, Sophie, Sheri, Pascale, Susie and I headed up Pic de Girantes, following the ski-touring route I did last year, from the Port de Lers.

It's not a long walk but with beautiful views.

Etang Garbet

Pointe 1976m

dimanche 22 octobre 2017

jeudi 19 octobre 2017


A make over for the living room ceiling (a cool yellow in place of the deep red) which makes the winter evenings brighter.

A couple of hard days work cutting all the hedges - mountains of cuttings to burn once their dry.

Some of the cuttings have reinforced the fence around the symbiotic garden which I'm slowly digging over - hopefully it'll be ready for next spring!

Sheep - the ewes are on heat and William is doing the business!

mercredi 11 octobre 2017

Pic de la Journalade

An afternoon walk to Pic de la Journalade from the col de Port. A first visit to a lovely little mountain that would make a great winter mini adventure. Lots of Vultures, amazing views and superb weather - 12km and 900m of ascent. More news to add tomorrow.

lundi 9 octobre 2017

Pyrenees Contemporary Dance Residential

Susie's Contemporary Dance Residential Course is now open for bookings...I built a website over the weekend and places are going fast! See for details.

jeudi 5 octobre 2017

lundi 25 septembre 2017

Col d'Arraing

Yesterday we took Moechee our black ram to Christian and Hilde's. They have 9 female ouessants so hopefully he will be having a good time for the next couple of months. William our white ram should have a bit less competition back at Quélebu...we will see.

As the weather was fantastic we went for a long walk with Christian, Hilde and their son Jacob from their home in Artigues upto the Col d'Arraing. Great views to the Western Couserans, most of which is hidden behind Mont Valier from our view point.

 The skyline from left to right - Pic de Lampau, Mont Valier, Petit Valier, Pic de la Pale de Clauere, Pic des Trois Comptes, Barlonguere, the deep notch of the Port de l'Esque, Pic de port d'Orle, the Port d'Orle, Pic des Cingles and Mail de Bulard.

 Mont Valier and Petit Valier, Pic de Tremuls in the foreground.

Pic de Midi de Bordes, Pic de Montgarie and Mont Valier behind.

The porch over the back door is at last almost finished, slates and guttering finished, just missing 18 inches of lead flashing.

samedi 23 septembre 2017

House martins

We don't usually get any house martins here, but this afternoon suddenly there were about 150 house martins swooping all around the house for about 15 minutes. Then as quickly as they arrived, they were gone. Obviously en route to their winter residence in Africa.

mardi 19 septembre 2017

What to have for dinner?

Plenty of orange birch bolettes, birch bolettes and ceps out there plus a few girolles.

A disappointment today that after a long meeting with the mayor of Massat (apart from about 25 years in total his family have been the mayors of Massat since 1792!), Susie still cannot use the only space in Massat suitable for dance - La Salle Polyvalante - for her dance classes, so she's had to cancel both the adult and children's classes.

dimanche 17 septembre 2017

First snows

Rain over the last few days has given the mountains their first proper dusting of snow. Alas too late for Rosa and Luke to see, who visited last week.

Meanwhile the garden keeps on giving - squashes, aubergines, chard, kale, peppers, chillies, beans and tomatoes.

lundi 11 septembre 2017

Carros de Foc - day 6

Our last day was going to be the longest and toughest - back to the Refugi Restanca via the Refugi Ventosa. We set off with the sky full of clouds and high winds. Soon the heavy rain started. As we climbed towards the Collett de Contraix (the highest pass of the Carros de Foc) the rain turned to hail then snow and the winds picked up. We were determined to reach the col and did so in a blizzard. The few trekkers coming in the other direction told us the ascent to the col (our descent) was difficult and dangerous. At the col I descended to check out our onward journey - it was difficult in the fresh snow but passable. 

Susie was cold but up for continuing but Jasper and Ruby had had enough and were not at all confident about the descent. So we decided to retreat. It took 2 and half hours to return. We headed back to the refuge who told us we could get a 4x4 taxi to Boi from a place about 5 km down the track, and from there if we were quick catch a bus back to within a km or so from where our car was parked. All went according to plan and by 10pm we were home, having stopped in Bossost for ham, egg and chips!!

Carros de Foc - day 5

From the Refugi Colomina we pressed on through the barren landscape to the Collada de Delui where we emerged into new landscape full of pine trees.

A long descending march finally lead to the Refugi Estany Llong. 

Carros de Foc - day 4

Another long stage in hot weather. By day 4 everyone is usually "in the zone" and we made good steady progress to the first of today's 2 cols - Col de Monestero.

The final 200m are on steep loose shifting scree. Most people seem to do the Carros de Foc in the anti-clockwise direction (opposite to us) so there were quite a few people descending. A french lady dislodged a large stone about a metre across which slipped down the slope towards Ruby to shrieks of horror from the lady. It didn't slide far and Ruby kept her focus.

eE were planning on staying at the Refugi Colomina so to avoid all of us making the detour to the Refugi Josep Maria Blanc, Susie and Ruby stopped for lunch whilst Jasper and I without our rucksacks made a "fast and light" dash to the refuge and back. The sign said 50 minutes down and 1hr back - we did the round trip in 1hr 15. The setting is beautiful - a real shame we didn't stay there on our trip.

Ruby and Susie had pressed onto the Collado de Subaro but Jasper and I soon caught them up. The other side of the col is quite different, a granite moonscape devoid of vegetation and with many dams mostly holding back lakes which were as much as 30m below there full capacity!

After a couple of hours we finally reached the Refugi Colomina. Recently refurbished and very comfortable.