jeudi 29 mai 2008

Pic de Géu

Alun and Breezy admire the view to Mont Rouch

There was a break today in the damp weather we've been having recently, so I met up with Alun and Breezy who took a rest day from there barn conversion works above Salau to head up to the Port Salau with me. Weather was beautiful today and although Mont Valier spent much of the day under cloud, most of the peaks from the Port d'Aula to Mont Rouch remained clear. We reached the port at 2087m in couple of hours (where it was decidedly cooler) and I tempted Alun and Breezy upto Pic de la Péguille 2282m with promises of views down to their barn far below.
Alun on Pic de la Péguille looking for his barn

I pressed on alone continuing along the ridge across steep snow and narrow ridges over an intervening top at 2401m where I was caught up by a french fellrunner who was following my steps across the steeper snow sections. We'd seen him earlier in the day and transpires he's a tree sugeon called Eric who lives a stones through from me near Cominac. We finally reached Pic de Géu 2499m together.
Pointe 2401 is behind Breezy and Pic de Géu is the peak beyond that
The onward route all the way to Mont Rouch looks a grand outing for a long day with settled weather. We retraced our steps more or less back to the Port and thence Salau - meeting up with Alun and Breezy back at their place. A much needed beer for all four of us at Les Myrtilles in Salau rounded off a grand day.

The onward route over another 8 peaks to Mont Rouch

mercredi 28 mai 2008

Clathrus Archeri

Found one of the Ariege's weirdest and newest fungi in field no 2. Clathrus Archeri arrived here from south east Asia about 40 years ago. It looks like a squid or starfish - but is very delicate and smells of rotting meat - not one for my supper.

dimanche 25 mai 2008

Enlargable images

I have finally worked out how to edit the HTLM code so that all my posted images (not just the first one) will open full size when you click on it. Check out the last post to try it out - please let me know if you have any problems.

mercredi 21 mai 2008

Pointe de Rabassere

Drove upto Gerac above Guzet ski station - where they were load testing the chairlift to Freychet (which hasn't opened for two seasons) with huge barrels of water on every chair on the 'up' side. After the short via ferrata section I continued towards the cabane Turguilla but soon crossed the stream below the first lake and headed up towards a shapely pyramid called Pointe de la Rabassere (2568m). It looks a great peak and is defended by a long gendarmed granite arete. After gaining the crest there were great views down to the Etang de la Hillette on one side of the ridge and the Etang d'Astoue on the other (this still had some huge ice sheets floating in it).

Higher up the Etang de Reglisse is still solid ice. Sometimes these aretes look awesome but when you get there they prove to be relatively easy - not this one. I picked my way along it for 25 mins but it's one for a rope, plenty of slings and a small rack. For another day.
I reached a high point of about 2280m before the cloud came down and sat at about 2000m, but by this time I was long gone and it proved to be a relatively short day.

mardi 20 mai 2008

Pigs in Space...!

Well one sheep in St Girons actually. Una's leg was looking decidedly manky last night and I decided a trip to the vet was necessary (or the abbatoir!). After hurredly making an animal transporter out of my trailer and an old chicken run last night, I loaded the sheep this morning and gave her the guided tour of St Girons. The vet (female) was very sweet and quickly inspected the wound. Nothing broken, perhaps a tendon 'nicked', too late to stitch, but the wound in her view healing OK. Some antibiotic injections for me to give the sheep and some antiseptic spray for regular wound cleaning and all should be OK.

After some dreary weather for the past week, things are brightening up now and today has been lovely - tomorrow a (long over due) day in the mountains.

dimanche 18 mai 2008

samedi 17 mai 2008

Window building

After a trip to St G, I got to work finishing the internal linings to the new window opening which took until about 2.00pm. After some contemplation last night, I decided that the new window didn't need to open and therefore I might as well make it myself. It was fun to do this from a single piece of oak. First quartering it, then planing a face and square edge on each quarter, before gauging it to required size and planing it down. Each piece was then rebated, cut to length, jointed and finally glued and pinned together. The finished frame was then installed and tonight the glass is temporarily sprigged in place - tomorrow I'll putty it in permanently.

vendredi 16 mai 2008

Last window

Sorting out the oak yesterday reminded me that I hadn't installed the second (lower) gable window. So this morning I made the oak frame - cutting and planing up some old oak and pieces left over from the barn last year and in the afternoon I hammered out the window opening and installed it. It's a crappy job bashing out the foot thick concrete blocks but it was easier and cleaner than last time, as I could do the job from the outside in and set the scaffolding at a sensible height. Another day of finishing the internal linings and mortaring around the opening - then I just have to wait for the window to be made.

jeudi 15 mai 2008

Clean and tidy

I collected the walnut from the sawmill which had been planked for air drying. Stacking it next to the workshop was a good excuse for a tidy up. All the 'junk' piled next to the workshop was relocated or binned. The pile of old asbestos roof sheets has been cunningly camoflaged under a green tarpaulin. All the oak offcuts are going to Pont de la Taule for imminent works there. Next the ruin was tidied - ready for putting in the last gable window and rendering the blockwork. All the earth, rocks and rubbish in front of the ruin were excavated and removed and internally all the rubbish and vegetation has been flattened and the scaffolding erected. The last hazel thinnings were sawn added to the wood pile and finally everywhere has had the grass cut. Everything looks clean and tidy.
A couple of days ago Una (who has already snapped off one of her horns) managed to run into a pitch fork and rip here ankle open just above the hoof. No blood but a very deep gash - difficult to see if the damage was more than flesh e.g bone, tendon. I gave it a wash, smoothered it in antiseptic and bandaged it to prevent infection. Although the bandage has remained on she is still walking three legged. I'll have to have another look at it tomorrow and decide what to do. To call out the vet is more than the cost of a new lamb so it's a difficult decision.

samedi 10 mai 2008

Found it!

Found my watch - but not saying where.

Where has the time gone?

Chicken of the Woods
Last night a fantastic meal at Donna's with Ivan, Justin and Emily. We ate a huge piece of pork which came from one of J and E's pigs which Ivan bought, plus loads of tasty vegetables and several deserts. Champagne, wine and finally whiskies from Donna's childhood home Islay - made for a banging hangover this morning - never mix the grape and the grain.

I have lost my altimeter/watch - I think somewhere in field 2 whilst scything a few days ago - but trying to find it is like looking for a needle in a haystack (fortunately I have a spare watch). If it it doesn't turn up in the next few weeks then that's my birthday present sorted mum.

Found a lovely 'Chicken of the Woods' fungus today which will make tea tonight and there's enough still on the tree for some more meals during the week.

jeudi 8 mai 2008


Yesterday I was at Pont de la Taule paint stripping, repainting and hedge trimming. After a poor nights sleep - there's a strange barely audible very low pitch hum here which is driving me insane, obviously something a long way away but I have yet to discover what - I spent most the morning digging docks out of field 2. Then some scything (of course), before more spade work levelling sections of the ancient chemin (track). A thunderstorm in the afternoon brought a temporary halt to proceedings. More mushrooms for tea and hopefully some mountaineering/climbing at the weekend.

mardi 6 mai 2008

Walnuts and St George

More scything (never ends in the spring / early summer) then some guitar - the new piece is progressing well. In the afternoon I took the two pieces of walnut trunk to the local sawmill at Biert to get them planked for drying. After an hour of faffing about with blocks, ropes and levers to try and get the two trunks in the trailer, I ended up using brute force and just picked the things up - powerlifting can be fun. Reckon they're knocking on 200kgs each. After 4-5 years of air drying the wood will make some nice chairs.

This evening I found some St Georges mushrooms (Calocybe Gambosa) in the woods which made a nice omelette for tea. Wild flowers aplenty at the moment especially orchids which are prolific here.

samedi 3 mai 2008

Sheep moves

A trip to St G market early this morning for Tomato and Pimento plants, which are now safely planted up. Then after a spot of guitar (sheet music for some of Pierre Bensusan's pieces arrived) I spent the afternoon making about 40 fence posts to rig up a temporary fenced route to field 4. All worked well and the sheep are now there munching away - though they haven't tried out the new house yet.
Today felt really hot - humid, still and 35 degrees in the sun (about 27 in the shade). At 8.30 this evening it is still 21 degrees.

vendredi 2 mai 2008


A spot of climbing on the granite at Auzat today with Ian, Nina, Penny and Andy. A 4c, 5b and 5c lead. Beginning to remember how to do it.

jeudi 1 mai 2008

Ski tour - not

Hatched a plan last night with Ian to go and ski up Pico Aneto (highest peak in the Pyrenees). It's a route I tried a few years ago with Paul Hadfield but we had dreadful weather then. The weather now seemed to be pretty good, so this morning I packed all the gear, put the skis on the roof rack and was about to leave to pick up Ian when I thought - perhaps I should ring the refuge to book 2 beds and an evening meal, it's mid week but we might arrive late. It was then that the guardian told me the refuge was fully booked - all 92 places! I'd forgotten it's the May holiday weekend. Doh!
The Baa Saloon
Field 4 looking grassy
So instead I spent the day finishing the sheep house I started yesterday in field 4. Getting the sheep there is not going to be easy. I tried putting them on a lead this evening and it turned into a four way tug of war - me and three blue in the face suffocating sheep!