samedi 29 décembre 2018

Chemin de Liberté

The beautiful sunny weather continues (and is set to continue for at least the next 2 weeks) so as there was no change over to be done on the gîte, Susie, Sandrine and I went for a stroll, starting from the Col de la Core and following the Chemin de Liberté (one of the routes used during WWII to get servicemen and woman out of Nazi occupied France) until a little way past the Cabane Subera.

The path traverses the flank of the ridge which heads northwards from Mont Valier, crossing a succession of wooded spurs which divide the flank into four or five grassy coombes each with a cabane.

At this time of year the walk is marked by south facing side of each coombe being hot and in full sun and then the north facing side being icy cold and still carrying lots of clothing changes.  

We had our lunch at La Lauze 1653m, a grassy plateau high above the Cabane Subera which was in the sun just long enough for us to eat, as soon as the sun dipped behind Pic de Lasirouge, we made a hasty retreat.

Some beautiful light for photography.

Susie collected some Lichen to make a garland, but after smelling it changed her mind as she said it smelt like a deer's bum!

mardi 25 décembre 2018

Last week Jasper made a flying visit to us for a few days, he was glad of some sunshine and we made a few local walks together up to Joubac and into the snow at Guzet.

Dani and Serge's on the way to Joubac

The weather has stayed warm and dry for Christmas. Inspired by watching bake-off we thought we'd have a go at the "seven veils" cake that the was the challenge for the finals. Very complicated but all went perfectly until the final step - the mirror glaze - we didn't have a thermometer to know exactly when to add the gelatin and rather like bryony's cake in the finals, our glaze isn't exactly mirror like. It does however taste delicious and all our layers (seven in total) are equal. Not quite worthy of a Paul Hollywood handshake but I reckon we did pretty good.

This year has marked by the shambles that is brexit and after the recent chaos a "no-deal brexit" looks more and more likely, so Susie and I have had to make sure we are as protected as we can be from potential fall-out. It's been an expensive and time consuming operation. We will shortly receive our carte de séjours, I'm now registered as an Architecte in France and Susie still waiting to hear about her registration as a Professeur de Danse.

jeudi 6 décembre 2018

Tuc de Bignau 2385m

With a day free and the weather forecast wonderful (19 degrees) another walk was in order. We headed for the Col de Pause but the winter restrictions on access are in force we decided to be cautious and park at Laserre (after our friend was fined for parking at the Col) this added another 40 minutes in each direction to our walk.  From the Col we headed up towards the Port d'Aula passing the Cabin d'Areau and the adjacent lake which is already frozen.

The sun was warm and after a quick bite to eat we continued past the automatic weather station where are objective came into view.

Port d'Aula

Things got a bit cooler now with a breeze blowing through the Port d'Aula. We headed for the col to the south of the Tuc de Bignau and the snow was soon very hard and put on our crampons.

 Tuc de Bignau

It was Susie's first time on moderately steep terrain (25 - 30 degrees) in crampons but she marched in pieds en canard and made the col in single push.

Reaching the Col

Great views from the col across Spain and in either direction along the chain and then a short steep rocky ridge to finish.

 Summit at last

After a second lunch on the summit it was time to continue along the ridge then find a way down on loose shattered rock to the Port d'Aula. An easy descent from here back to the car in a couple of hours.

The scrappy descent to the Port d'Aula

It was only meant to be a short walk but after having to park at Laserre it ended up being 5 hours 30 minutes and about 1250m (4100ft) of ascent. A magical sunset ended the day.