samedi 29 novembre 2014

Favourite bits of kit

I am extremely picky about my outdoor gear and often spend weeks, months or even years choosing my kit. I haven't made too many mistakes and most my gear lasts around a decade. Two items have reached the twenty year mark despite very regular use and have become my favourite bits of kit.

Mountain Equipment ultrafleece jacket 
Not too thick or bulky (probably much thinner now than it was 20 years ago). Where I go in the mountains it goes too. I think ultrafleece aka karisma fleece was discontinued in 2003, shame.

Montane featherlite smock
Perfect weightless, breathable and windproof layering in any season. Made of pertex, weighs 105g and packs down smaller than an apple. In 2012 I gained a wife and despite my best efforts, lost this item of clothing to Susie. She wears it everywhere and I have had to buy another.

dimanche 23 novembre 2014


After two weeks of wet and stormy weather, it was good to get outside for some fresh air without donning waterproofs and feeling like you were in a washing machine! Despite my best efforts I seem to have missed most of the glorious autumn they've been having in the Pyrenees. Back in about a weeks time - lets hope it's not all over by then, I need the sun.

Looking back towards Great Tor Hound Tor

dimanche 16 novembre 2014

mercredi 5 novembre 2014


My house was converted from a barn in the late 1970's....I've lived here since 2005 and completely renovated the place...yet I've only just noticed tonight that some of the beams still have quite a bit of cowshit on them from it was a functioning barn - probably the 1950's!


A tidy up behind the house

Same view 10 years ago

mardi 4 novembre 2014

Little Shutter

Rainy and cooler today - no doubt snowing in the mountains. The car passed its controle technique this morning and this afternoon I finished the little shutter. Also managed to find my missing opinel knife (under the sofa).

In the evening a trip to see Justin, Emily and the girls (who are going up fast - 5 years old and at school)

Thea eats her cous-cous for the camera

Snow down to about 1400m last night, photos tomorrow if the clouds clear.

lundi 3 novembre 2014

First snow this morning

Despite the dusting of snow above 2500m it's remained warm today, but some wind and clouds are a sign that things are changing. After some work this morning, I finished strimming the last of the fields and built a little shutter for the tiny window in the kitchen. I'll get some hinges in St Girons tomorrow whilst the car is in for its control techinique (MOT).

dimanche 2 novembre 2014

Another beautiful day. Spent the morning working on the car trying to stop the jimny "death wobble" with some washers to load the king pin bearings...will see if it's worked tomorrow. Then a trip to see Sandrine and Virginie at Pinsou and a bit of strimming. Weather is set to change tomorrow with temperatures dropping 15 degrees, but it's warm and cosy this evening evening in the house.

samedi 1 novembre 2014

Mont Valier (8)

With only a couple of days of the amazing weather left I decided to head up Mont Valier from the Col de Pause. I left at 7.40 just as the first rays of sunshine were hitting the mountain.

I reached the Port d'Aula in 1hr 20. The vague path after Col de la Tinderelle has been wiped away by avalanches and the tricky section before Petit Valier was more difficult than I remembered (think I descended to much to the right). There was still frost on the ground through this section as it wasn't in the direct sunshine, but nevertheless I never needed more than shorts and tee-shirt all day - even on the summit!

Cuns d'Aula just before the Port d'Aula

Telephoto shot of the Aiguilles de Trevessani far in the distance

The col at 2600m which leads to the tricky section before Petit Valier

Looking down the Couloir de Peyre blanc

As I neared the summit I noticed there was already someone there, laying out a parapente. Film below is his take-off!

I reached the summit in just 3hrs 45 (my second quickest time). I had the summit to myself for 25 minutes then 3 other climbers arrived, the only people I saw all day. After an hour lunching in the sun I started my descent.

With tired legs I was extra careful on the tricky section and eventually took longer on the descent than on the ascent (4hrs 10).

The way down through Spain leading to the Port d'Aula