Friday, 5 November 2010

Out and about

Friday morning is market morning in Lavelanet. It's a wonderfully varied market with good local produce in abundance. Amongst many other things, I bought a whole rabbit, half of which is destined for the freezer and the other half is being transformed into a Normandy rabbit dish this evening with apples, cream and calvados .... nom nom! I also came home with some bargain-priced quince with which to make quince paste and some truely delicious and dangerously quaffable 'vin primeur' from the Côtes d'Agly vineyards which you pass through on the road to Perpignan. The market will be a regular destination for me on Friday mornings, no question!

Yesterday afternoon, with continuing warm weather, Andy and I jumped onto the road bikes and knocked off a quick 50km/370m+ circuit from the house taking in Lesparrou, Chalabre, Puivert with its hilltop chateau.....followed by a fast descent back down to Belesta and home. We were only out for 2 hours Stats on the usual site and there was still time for me to take the pooch for a mooch when I got home! It's amazing how much more you can fit into a day down here.

This morning brought another clear, sunny day so I suggested we head up to the Col de Montségur and explore the path that leads up onto the ridge and eventually through to Pic de St Barthélemy. It was wonderfully clear, sunny and warm when we set out, but in the distance we could see an ominous bank of Weather approaching. Our path took us steeply up the hillside before a long contour around the hillside in the woodland and then another steep ascent up onto the ridge at 1600m. The bank of cloud was marching ever closerA hurriedly snatched photo of Pic de Saint Barthelemy in the distancebefore a quick retreat back down towards Montségur which was about to be swallowed by the mass of cloud
These two photos were taken just 2 hours apart!We made it back in the nick of time. We had only covered just under 6kms, but the height gain was nearly 600m. I am hoping my legs will not pay the price tomorrow. But it was good to explore some of our new surroundings and scope out what could be a possible snowshoe outing in the winter. Pic de Saint Barthelemy is also within reach, but probably with an overnight stop in a cabane en route.

When we returned to the car, we found an emaciated hunter's dog, curled up and shivering at the edge of the car park. The poor thing was barely responsive and did not look like it could survive the cold, wet night that was forecast. Fortunately, there was a mobile number on her collar and I was able to get hold of her owners. We bundled her into the back of the car and headed down to Belesta to hand her over. The poor thing could barely walk but they appeared totally unconcerned at her state which, it has to be said from prior encounters with these dogs and their owners, is nothing unusual. They are not pets, after all :-(

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