mercredi 24 février 2021

Latest wildlife photos with the new lens

Whilst planting some new fruit trees, I spied a weasel coming in and out of the sheep shelter.  As I waited patiently for an hour for her to return I was also rewarded by the squirrel! Later I found I buzzards nest which if not abandoned might give some great pictures of young.


vendredi 19 février 2021

Towards Mont Ceint

Retaining wall all finished...about ten trailer loads of stone and two blackened nails!

Yesterday, a snow shoe with Emily and Myla (who we haven't seen for ages) from the Etang de Lers towards Mont Ceint. Icy hard snow in the morning and a strong south wind so we decided to make a leisurely shorter day and summitted point 1839m instead. Myla's first time on snow shoes, she did very well even on the steep ground which was at the limit of snowshoeing.

Emily and Myla on the summit in the strong winds

Crazy clouds caused by the strong south winds


mardi 16 février 2021

Stone retaining wall

About 5 years ago we terraced the vegetable garden using posts and wriggly tin, slowly these have been pushed over and so it was time to do the job properly with stone walls....a job I've been putting off. With dry weather now seemed like a good time, as the the clay is stiff and won't collapse too much when the old tin is removed. I m slowly working my way along the slope and building the wall high enough to take out two walls. Heavy work so I'm  limiting myself to mornings only.


lundi 15 février 2021

Tuc de la Curate

A walk from the Col d'Ayens, the view from which is far more spectacular than I remembered, especially as it is only 950m high. From there an easy walk on piste forestières and wooded ridges over the peaks of Cap de Calamane 1360m, Cap des Embausses, Tuc de la Courate 1421m, Cap de Sarradère 1390m, Tuc de Coume Grande 1335m and Cap de la Bouyche, before returning to Col d'Ayens.

From the col d'Ayens

Clouds spilling over from Spain between Pointe de Rabassère and Pic de Certescan

Telephoto of Dent de Médé with Pic d'Estats beyond

Lauch, one of several hamlets above Rivèrenert

The unusual trig point on tuc de la Courate

mercredi 10 février 2021

Weaving underway

This will be the face of the fabric

dimanche 7 février 2021

Cour vic (ski tour)

After a day of South winds which dumped red sand and dust across France, 5-10cm of snow was forecast above 1000m so I hastily rallied the troops (Andy and Paula) for a modest ski tour. The snow has been iron hard for the last week or so but a bit of fresh on top suggested good conditions. In the early morning it looked dismal but as we arrived at Faup the clouds cleared the sun came out and great day looked possible.

The temperature stayed cold and after a kilometre in ski boots carrying our skis we finally reached the snow and could start skinning up to the Col de Pause. A group of skiers and snowshoers were ahead of us, who we exchanged places with throughout the morning. Mixed conditions skinning up to the cabin ONF, lower down we had to cross a stream which wetted the skins and made them ball up, then higher up the fresh snow wasn t sticking to the iron hard snow below and a few kick turns on the steep slopes felt exposed. After the cabin all was perfect and we changed our objective from Tuc de Bignau to Cour Vic as progress was slower than I had hoped.

We ascended the ridge behind the cabin and made a direct line for Cour Vic.

After the ridge above the cabin, Col de Pause at the extreme left

Nearing the summit

We'd watched strong winds arriving at the summits and by the time we reached Cour Vic the spindrift was blowing around. After some quick photos and a bite we decided to descend whilst the snow was still cold and light.

View of Valier from the summit

Cour Vic in the distance - a short carry to the col above Couret des Etangs

Descending to the Etang d'Areau (frozen and snow covered).

Although the couloir from Cour Vic beckoned (the other skiers descended it), Andy lacks confidence and experience off piste so we decided to stay together and return more or less the way we had come. It was a magnificent ski down in great snow and Andy didn't fall once!


mercredi 3 février 2021

Pic de la Journalade

Good weather was forecast and with Andy and Paula keen to join us on another walk, we planned a trip to Pic de la Journalade via Pic d'Estibat from the Col de Port. I was keen to have look at the little couloir leading which we'd ascended in the summer a few years ago, which should make a nice grade 1 gully in winter. Pete joined us too with Sheri and Michiel to lake a total of 7 in our possé.

Pic de Moredo in Spain looms large across the Port de Salau 

Most the snow on the west side had melted but the east side was still snowy with some avalanches evident. Paula, Andy and I headed over to the couloir but the slopes leading to it were decidedly dodgy. Andy got to the couloir first but his reports weren't great. Paula and I returned to get off the dangerous slopes as quickly as possible. Andy decided the couloir was better than returning. 

We joined the rest our group on the summit after an exposed scramble, then I descended the ridge leading to the col to wait for Andy who soon appeared.

He climbed the second summit before joining us. Progress to the third summit looked to dangerous in the snow conditions and warm weather. 

As we headed back to Pic d'Estibat the clouds started to descend and the hitherto sunny day turned decidedly cold but we beat the cloud back to the cars!