Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Out and about

We have been nicely busy since we arrived back from our travels 2 weeks ago. Our first priority was to top up our wood supplies by felling and logging two dead apple trees. Our neighbour, Claudine, also let us fell two other nearly dead fruit trees down in her field which, if we can get the wood logged in the next week or two, will provide us with fuel towards the end of Winter.

Despite Winter nipping at our heels here, we have still had some days on which we have enjoyed spectaculary warm weather of which we have taken full advantage, conscious of the fact that, all too soon, snow will cover the immediate hills. We had a good run up the track to the cabane du col des roses which I generally use as a measure of my current fitness levels. They are currently good! We also did a running circuit that I have been wanting to do for some time now and with a fantastic weather day last week I finally got my opportunity. The route goes from Aulus-les-Bains up to the Cascade d'Ars and on up the GR10, following an uneven, rocky path through to the Cabanes de Guzet, down to the Etang de Guzet and eventually back down to Aulus - a total of 12.5kms with 950m of ascent. Lovely views, lovely autumn colours.....
Looking back down the valley towards Aulus-les-Bains

At the Cap de Pich 1548m

The cabanes de Guzet at the col up ahead

Autumn colours on the woodland descent path
It was great to get out in the sun and get some good physical exercise even though the majority of the circuit was not runnable!

This past weekend I had a great time away, down in the Languedoc region on the south coast near Narbonne. I drove down on Friday which happened to be the wettest day that the area has seen for quite some months, with the Aude and Herault departments being on orange alert with 'Meteo France'! It didn't bode well for the purpose of my visit, which was to participate in the road bike 'randonnée des primeurs' organised by my mates Iz and Nick's club. Fortunately, we awoke to drier weather on Saturday morning and we (myself, Iz, Nick and 6 others) got ourselves to Lezignan Corbières for the start. This wasn't just any old road bike ride. This was a ride with a difference. It was punctuated by organised stops at several wine cooperatives of villages en route at which we sampled the 'primeur' wines from the 2011 harvest and also had the chance to sample and purchase other wines which would be picked up by a 'sweeper' van and delivered to the finishing point for your collection - what a great idea! It was quite a novelty to be sipping wine at 9.30 in the morning but what fantastic wine it was - cheers!
The Motley Crew!
 The riding was on good roads and generally very flat which made a nice change - it was fantastic to be back on the roadie again. At lunchtime, all participants (300 of us) congregated at Montseret for lunch which was a gigantic paella washed down with liberal quantities of wine (of course!).
The lunch tables

There were four dishes of this enormous paella!
After lunch, we all hopped back on our bikes and did the final 16kms back to the finishing point at Lezignan. Simon, Nick and I put the hammer down on this last stretch which was great fun! We then made our way back to Iz and Nick's where we enjoyed yet more of Iz's home-cooked food for dinner. What a wonderfully convivial day it had been! I shall be signing up for next year's event, no question!

Yesterday (Monday) was another of those 'glorious weather' days, with clear blue skies and hot sun. With a forecast of poor weather later in the week, we had to make the most of it. The autumn colours are at their most glorious now, so we headed out with the cameras for a circular walk up to the Port de Lhers above Massat and then up to the Etang d'Arbu, on up to the Pic des Trois Seigneurs and then  along the ridgeline before a steep descent down to the Port de Lhers - an outing of 10kms/750m+. The going was pretty tricky for the pooch in parts, but he coped well and was nicely tired by the time we got home! 
Woodland above the Etang de Lhers

Colours around the Etang de Lhers

Autumn colours

Looking back towards the pointy Pic des Trois Seigneurs

Our ridgeline descent path

The view back down towards the Massat valley
The weather today has closed in, so indoor jobs and work beckon.

No comments: