jeudi 3 décembre 2020

Back on the loom!

Trying a slightly different method of warping the loom this time.

lundi 30 novembre 2020

Chateau Mirabat


After a month of storming up Joubac most days (come sun, rain, frost and snow) today was the last scheduled day (though I might continue). I pushed as hard as I could and did break into a trot once or twice to be sure of getting the best time....31min 45 seconds. A full 8 mins 15 seconds faster than my first attempt, so definitely an improvement (20% off).

Yesterday with the first easing of confinement, we were allowed to exercise for three hours and travel up to 20km. We met up with Sheri at Azas and headed up to Chateau Mirabat.

The ascent through the trees was mostly in the shade but eventually just before the top we emerged into the sunshine. A quick lunch on the summit and spectacular views before rushing back to the car.

First snows forecast for Wednesday - just a few flakes - before heavy snow over the weekend and Monday...can't wait!

jeudi 26 novembre 2020

dimanche 22 novembre 2020

Leg stretching during lockdown

With high pressure dominating, the weather is gloriously sunny and clear during the day, though frosty at night. We're allowed to exercise within a 1km radius of our home, which fortunately for us covers a vast wilderness with virtually no's easy to get "lost" and over run the 1 hour limit though we never see anyone else! 

A very nice tour this afternoon of about 6 miles and 1700ft of ascent. Beautifully clear skies, below a glimpse of Pica d'Estats (10,312ft and highest peak in Catalonia) between the Dent de Médé and Pic de la Mont Rouge.


mercredi 11 novembre 2020

The next weaving project

 Once the latest architectural project is over and I've ordered the yarn......

mercredi 4 novembre 2020

Keeping fit during the confinement

To try and stay fit whilst complying with the lockdown rules, I've started a daily hike to the top of Taus de Joubac (1069m). It's a little over 1km from the house as the crow flies, but the round trip walk is 6.2km (just under 4 miles) with 335m (1100ft) of ascent. I'm pushing myself to walk at a fast pace without breaking into a run. I'm getting slightly quicker each time though I suspect I'll plateau soon. Currently 37m50s up and 27m10s down. the first day was clear and dry, the second drizzly and today was rainy with snow falling for the last 100m! 

Naismith's rule would make the time for the circuit 1hr 49mins, so my time of 1hr 5mins is pretty good, though obviously the shortness of the hike makes a difference.

vendredi 30 octobre 2020

Another lock down! Fantastic weather but not allowed to venture out more than 1 km from the front door for R and R. The gite has to close for the next month and money is tight. Susie has wool to spin and garments to knit....with no more timber I might have to re-erect the loom!

samedi 24 octobre 2020


A visit to the mountains around the Etang Souclem,  for the first time in 25 years when Ollie and I passed through here on the HRP. We left the house at an unholy 7.00am (still dark) and after a meeting up with Sheri to car share, arrived at around 9.00am. It was 3 degrees and with a strong wind blowing down the valley bitterly cold (numb fingers in gloves).

Susie's photo looking up the valley from above the Etang de Souclem

Eventually, we started to climb out of the valley and met the sun and suddenly summer arrived and we could remove some layers. Some verglas early in the morning and fresh snow above about 2000m.

Out of the valley and into the sun

One of many stone Orri on the route

We climbed up to the Etang de Roumazet and then through deeper snow to the Etang de Soucarrane for lunch.

Susie's photo of the Etang de Soucarrane

We had intended to head up to the Col de Bouet but Sheri had had a little or no sleep the night before and Susie was keen to get back for an online gaga session with Ohad Naharin so we headed back to the valley from here.

The return

Nice to visit somewhere other than the Couserans and see plenty of possibilities for new exploration.


mercredi 21 octobre 2020

Föhn wind

The south wind has been blowing strongly, melting the snow, loosening the leaves, dumping Saharan dust and turning everything golden! 

Wasn't sure which of the lower 2 photos to submit for the Olympus competition "autumn glow", opted in the end for the glowing leaf. If you're an Olympus user and like the photo, please vote for it on the "my olympus" website.

samedi 17 octobre 2020

Col de Pause, Cabin d'Areau, Cour Vic

After over a week of rainy cold weather the mountains finally emerged white and snow clad on Friday. Today we were free to get out, though after Susie had a bad night's sleep, "we" was Sheri and I. Snow started at the Col de Pause and once we passed the first cabin we donned snowshoes. There were traces of 2 ski tourers who had been up Tuc de Bignau yesterday and we saw 2 more today, although they had started very late and with the heat today, the snow was sticky and heavy after about 11am. They probably summitted at 2pm so doubt their descent was fun.

Snow was peeling off Lanet Clau 

Etang d'Areau not yet frozen

Ski tourers starting the final part of the ascent to Tuc de Bignau

Lunchspot on Cour Vic...

...and the view

From our lunch spot we saw a lot of avalanches peeling off Valier and Pomebrunet opposite. Descent in increasingly sticky snow direct to the Cabane d'Areau, keeping on the left bank of the couloir (not in skiable condition).

No wildlife today except a group of kites

A pair of fox holes just below the Col between Cour Vic and Pointe de la Banque.

Cuns d'Aula

vendredi 9 octobre 2020

Port de Materat

Decided to snatch a good weather day in the's been a while since a good length walk! We've gotten out of practice with early starts and it was nearly 10am before we left and further traffic delays meant that it was nearly 11.00 when we set off from Ossese for the Port de Materat (2218m).

Always lovely autumn colours in the valley Ossese and after the rain and snow of the last few weeks the streams and waterfalls were in full spate too.

Boots and socks off for the river crossing below the Croix de Portère, but the water wasn't too cold.

Croix de Portère

Not much snow remaining (washed away by the rain of Tuesday and Wednesday) and only after the source de Mariole did it begin to dominate. A steep section with some landslips was too much for Susie and I gingerly pressed on to the Cabane Materat, but with the late start and weather forecast to deteriorate I didn't bother with the last 50m to the col.

The disappointment was soon erased as on the way back when we stumbled across 4 ibex, 3 adults and a kid. The ibex have recently been reintroduced into the Pyrenees and this is only the second time we've seen them.

I also saw an adder and Susie a slow worm and this frog.

A grand day out (1250m denivilée).