Saturday, 31 October 2015

We are looking at the big sky.....

Assuming that this isn't the 'Penzance Prison Train'. I should be back in Dear Old Devon for the last of All Hallows Eve...

Travelling in short bursts maybe isn't the best cure for itchy feet....

You just get some forward momentum going and then have to stop again..
But should be grateful all the same, I know, for the chance to get out and about, for a sneaky peek..

There is something that appeals right now, about the 'lived in landscape' even if it is solely a crumbling barn...
A bit like a 'lived in face'... more character.

Who knows; before long; perhaps more 'pristine wilderness' will call.
But those so called untouched places tend to beg the question.

"Where did all the folks who did once live here go? Or at least those who lived their lives passing through here; to where were they tidied away?"

Well I'm pretty sure some of them; or their descendents at least; are running Tea Shoppes in Wensleydale......Hurrah!

Genteel York; But Ever Defiant..

I shall park my bicycle here; and if I had a ball I should play a game with it...

Doesn't say anything about flying kites though...

It's over thirty years since I was last here; taking an unnaturally unhealthy interest in the steel and concrete reinforcements being used in the underpinning of The Minster at the time..

Something to do with a physics project at school?...Plus ca change; an odd sixteen year old; just turns into an even odder forty something year old...?

Made it to York in one piece; just need not to trip over the kerb on the way to the station...Too easily distracted.

Someone elses school report...
"He'll go far; so long as he doesn't go too far.....

Friday, 30 October 2015

Penultimate Leg...But not Last Legs

The Yorkshire Wolds are high enough, with brisk winds and big views, but they are empty of visitors; I guess on account of their better known, more spectacular neighbours.

Just the place though for a last, non too strenuous full day out on the road.

 Full that is, so long as you don't count hiding from the rain in a charmingly overstuffed; and one assumes; unintentionally comedic; local museum for half the morning.

The road does indeed go ever onwards; and always tempts a peek over the next hill.

Then of course there are always 'the roads we didn't take' to wonder about too.

No four-poster tonight; but cosy enough in the elegantly erected; I like to think; shelter for one....
It was dark by the time I got it up; so you'll just have to take my word for it...

Heading back South tomorrow; but so much more here to explore another time.

I'll no doubt keep getting dragged back by the 'Magnetic North'.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Why do we do this to ourselves?

The hill climb up out of Sleight; onto the North Yorkshire Moors is anything other than its name suggests.

So why on Gods own earth; would any of us choose to cycle up it; in the bucketting rain on a drear Thursday in October?

OK, so maybe not many would; choose that particular bit of fun; but enough of us,  do voluntarily undertake, what seem like counter evolutionary activities; often enough; for the answer not just to be "deviation from the norms of human sanity".

It can't be just the chance of a good view, (if you're lucky) or the exercise, or the everso slightly smug feeling of independent achievement....

There are most likely, as many answers as there are folk to ask the question of...

But whilst we revel in our 'because it's there platitudes'.
We can also remember our supreme 'first world' luxury of having the surplus time, energy, and wherewithal to indulge in our particular 'poison'

.....She opines sanctimoniously from the ultimate luxury of a four poster bed...

Would I swap this for a soggy (badly erected) tent?

What do you think?

Just Decided

You know what?
This camping malarkey? Massively overrated.

Especially when you can get a four-poster; tea and buns brought up on a tray by the lovely Lynn; and cooked breakfast for a silly last minute price...

I thought I might be atoning for sins not - yet - committed, by cycling all day over the bleak North Yorkshire Moors in the pouring rain.

Via Goathland of course....Well had to go there really (lunch date)

But turns out I was earning this... Thanks weather pixies; you are the best....

Whitby Sea Slanty.... "Let's go Fly a Kite"

If you don't lift your heart to do this; you'll get a cricked neck....

So sternum up; and enjoy the breeze whilst it lasts...

Aloft before ten; then morning coffee at top of town with old family friends.

Top tip... Trying to carry large sheet materials in unhelpful conditions?
Get someone to fly a kite nearby...Wind guaranteed to drop almost immediately.

Momentary Melancholy

On a beach devoid of Shells...

For anyone; who has ever lost anything of value..

So that's pretty much all of us then...

But; fret not; cheering up help is at hand...

Clue.... 60g..

And 'rite in the rain', let's you do just that....

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Malham Tarn

It's great isn't it?....You can jump back and forth in time; and claim you disrobed; and jumped straight into the freezing lake after the climb up to here from Austwick.

And no one can tell you off for it...Or say you did otherwise...
Could quite go to a girls head; but am pretty safe in the knowledge that all four readers of this blog will indulge....

One of the wonderful things about solo travelling is the fulsome opportunity it affords one; for chance encounters and exchange...

Whilst perusing the 'info board' here.....Well; someone bothered to install; so..
I fell into discourse with mother bemoaning her offsprings' reluctance to get out of the car to 'admire the view'.
After commiserations administered re blighters insouciance; I was offered the chance to squeeze in btxt sproglettes (leaving bicycle stashed behind gorgeous wall) for lift down to 'The Cove'.... Too much 'loss of height' for my cycling tastes at that time in the morning....

Youngsters were left giving hearty thanks for the mother they had; rather than one that fate could have dished out.....

"Geology Rocks Kids!"

A Proper bit of Gothic Gloom

A very appropriate end to an afternoon of pedalling through the murk.
Whitby is still as I remember..Full of jet and fudge shops.

With an overlaying of cheery "Goths Welcome Here" signs.

Maybe the proprietors of these establishments are missing the point? 

Perhaps "Goths made to feel marginalised;  misunderstood; and given good reason to feel moody" would really bring them in.

Suitably squishy pitch down the coast from Abbey. Will try to avoid being inappropriately cheered with a pint; and dinner in town.

Camping on the tops really didn't appeal tonight...Maybe tomorrow; if the clouds will lift?

Barnstorming Continues

Although If the weather is as wild and windy as predicted for today; it may be a case of barn sheltering, from storm.

I'm sure there is a stat' for percentage travel time lost from cycling into a headwind....But not sure knowing it, would lift spirits....

Fall back song for such occasions?
"Bring me Sunshine"
Always sung especially loudly; and badly: whilst passing crews of road fixers...

Perhaps Goathland; towards Whitby this eve'...Home to goats? Goths? Or both?
Anti witchcraft 'items' may need to be deployed....

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Having a brew

And look new socks again! Darn Tough do long ones too; with purty flowers on!

Just the thing for 'bridging the gap'...

Will try my hardest to wear them out; not set fire to them; with inept meths dispensing.

North York Moors tomorrow; your Tea Shoppes had better be ready :-)


Candle Lit Dinner for One...

Upper reaches of Langstrothdale;
Malham was impressive; but full of people on a Monday morning!?

Lured over the tops instead; and encouraged by that rare friend of the cyclist a following wind...

It's like they knew I was coming to camp here; comfy, verdant sward, btxt the bracken and rocks. and only low key sheep for company.

And a shelter that pretty much puts itself up at the flick of the wrist..."Oh little grey Scarp; how do I love thee?"

A very early night; with an improving book; sadly not noticeably more virtuous by the morning; but well rested.

So then over the hill and down into next Dale, at Hawes. for an sociable second breakfast with Mick; he lost his wife three year ago; struggled as you would; has since found a 'bit of buddhism' now contemplating going to see if he can help out some of those refugees..
Good luck; good man.

David said 'you can't say you've been cycling in the Yorkshire Dales if you don't tackle 'Butter tubs'.....

No not more food; for those not in the know; but a 'buggeringly steep hill'

Well David; I did it; but all I can say about pushing up some of it; is that our friend Mr Wiggins had the good sense to employ one of those luggage carrying services....

White out on the top; but I do have photographic evidence via that red cattle gate if anyone needs to see it. It's on Instagram already.

Anyway I didn't do it for you David... If it was for anything other than my own pride; I did it for Helen; who has a far harder; but much less ostentatious journey of her own to undertake.

Thanks muchly again for the welcome; the bed; and board you kind people ..Oh yes and for the bath...in which I lingered perhaps overlong...Well any sensible woman of my vintage would be in a Harrogate Spa Hotel...Not trying to emulate 'boys' half her age.

After a compulsory visit to tea room in Muker for humungous slab of lemon cake; and enough tea to drown a cow; it was an easy enough; if a bit rainy; skim down to civilised Richmond for the eve pitch.

Must be off to town soon; to see if they need a sweaty cyclist to lower the tone...

Monday, 26 October 2015

He's on the Train...

Awakening far too early, what with reverting to GMT an'all...

So may as well relive the closeish encounter.
What an amazing drive home from work this fellow has; bowling his way down the line towards Settle; just as dusk descends.
i wonder; if anything keeps him awake at night?

Today? Malham for obligatory geologising; then onwards; and doubtless upwards.

Having garnered some invaluable local knowledge re 'unmissable bits' from someone who knows.

Barns abound; forecast for fair weather.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

It's All Too Beautiful...

That was today's cycling song.
Quite stunning autumnal loveliness; even in cloudy weather.

..There are many reasons why I generally cycle trip alone. My enthusiastic yet abysmal singing being just one.

In addition to libations consumed last night; progress was slowed by so; so very many fine stone barns just begging to be pictured "See how we nestle"

I'm not ashamed to admit it brought tears to my eyes; or was that something else?

Couldn't have been a stray smut from the Carlisle Settle Railway, as it's closed for works; all the same got a cheery wave from the guy riding the, all lights blazing, maintenance train as he drove towards me. Thrills aplenty.

Managed 50 something miles today (sorry stat's lovers; bit vague) despite all the stoppages; not too bad for a first day; the hills are quite persistent in these parts.
Gonna have to camp tomorrow; to justify lugging all that tentage etc.

But for now?
In the bath yum...Awaiting delivery of an Indian..Double yum..

Food silly; and no; not eating in the tub; I've only just met these generously accomodating people of the Dale.

Tomorrow? Geology field trip...Then find somewhere stealthy to pitch...Probably

First Pitch, Morland Cumbria.

Well it was late; getting dark; Marlene had already made the bed up...

It's not like I need the tent erection practice. Although plenty of flat pitching space.

Toastily welcomed; as predicted by my contact "Like a long lost daughter..."

Generously fed and 'watered'. Much yarn was spun; and you can rest easy folks; it's all going to be OK; the world has been thoroughly put to rights...

All those empty bottles that were clanking about accusingly this morning?
May be some correlation between their numbers and velo velocity today?

Oh and George; I do expect to see that porch finished; by the time of my next visit.
I will be back....

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Glasgow was Sunny

Shame I couldn't stay longer...

Ah well; will just have to bask in the 'sorry for your inconvenience' first class upgrade for return journey instead...

Fiona, this trains manager, was very sweet and soothing. And by then I'd seen the funny side of my incarceration...

Silver linings etc....
And there is enough space for yoga practice in here; they already think I'm nuts; so what is there to lose?

Hope they're not planning to keep me as the train mascot...

Temporary Glitch

Trains are ace ; sentiment and patience tested ....Not 'allowed' off train at Carlisle; trapped in guards van....apparently it happens quite often!  So a  brief visit to Scotshire then... Sunny Glasgow on the 'prison train' 

Then back down to Penrith for a somewhat truncated cycle to first pitch this eve' (better make it a taut one)

Ho and indeed Hum...
You'd think I'd get some kudos from the travel pixies for not flying??

Plastic Bag Toting Hayseed

On the train.....Using
"Bicycle Friendly Public Transport"

No one told me that friendly had been redefined as...'Indifference; verging on irritation; by way of 'don't expect me to help with any hefting'.

Just as well I've got some 'strong arm tactics'...

Guess they're just jealous of the stylish luggage combo.

No matter; they don't get to spend the next week cycling and camping in the rain....Poor loves.

Friday, 23 October 2015

And; as is Traditional at Times Like These...

Just a few more hours vegetable work...
And then?

Some serious kit riffling; to be prepared for the wild 'blue' yonder.

But best make contingencies for less than ideal meteorological conditions; I suppose...

Waterproof trousers....Urghhh..

Still; there should be lots of tea shoppes where I'm going..

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Preparing to Sally Forth...

Swanning off; once again. What kind of a farmer is she?
Like many of us I suspect; whatever our profession....

One that is often torn; between being a settler; and being a nomad.
Community, security, the comfort of the known.

Versus...
 Broader horizons; new views; and the tingle; or on occasion the terror; of the wide unknown.
Not really going that far; not even leaving the country.

Although my fellow 'county people' would suggest that I'm visiting "God's Own".

But as with most travelling, or indeed as is the case with  most endeavours; it's how you go; not how far you go...That; makes all the difference.

Perhaps however I should transport my share of the delightful 'Thursday Custard' subcutaneously...Even I don't pack this badly...
And just a little bit more farm prep before leaving it in two pairs of very capable hands.

Will I have time to hitch up and go round with the mower?
It makes things look under control; at least...

Or maybe I should peruse some maps properly?
But then; there's always the train for that...


Tuesday, 20 October 2015

The Grass is Always Greener...

In this case the ladies did have a point. After over two weeks of scratching about on the same patch; I've just extended their run to give them access to some fresh greenery.
This should discourage them from hopping over the fence in a bid for freedom; and broader range.
For as the tales do tell us; freedom comes at a price. There's a far greater chance 'out their' of these girls being hunted down and consumed by the Big Bad Fox.
Or more prosaically; and with less fatal consequences; being gathered up; and chucked unceremoniously back in to their enclosure.
Although most can be lured back with the rattle of the corn bucket; a few will remain stubbornly; ultra free range; exploring pastures new...Until nightfall that is; when the safety of the coop seems altogether more reassuring.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Getting Tucked In.

If just recently losing all the words for my latest installment of 'derring done' wasn't an act of cyber crime; (far more likely I know to be self-inflicted cyber incompetence)

Then this 'top tip' for saving a bit of dosh might make me the subject of; online industrial espionage; interest to purveyors of over priced crop covering; cloche hoops...

Protecting here the multicoloured leaves of rainbow chard, keeping off a bit of cold, over the winter (gains an extra 4 degrees) and possibly even more importantly the wind.

Using 'cosy tex' (which is as the name suggests) supported by hoops made from thickish alkathene pipe.
I prefer black; to bright blue in the garden; but I don't think the vegetables care that much.

Get yourself down to the farm store, or plumbers merchant, buy a roll for a few pounds, cut at a slant, to your required length, which depends on your bed width, BTW slicing through with branch loppers is very quick. Make a few inches of guide hole in the soil for the end of the hoop, which you need to push in firmly, this will support your chosen cover and stop it abrading the leaves.

Only got the rest of the working week to get all the crops that need to be covered, snuggled up.
If it's done too soon; then it can overheat the plants and make them go soft; as with most successful operations; timing is key...

But by the start of November; even in these soft southern climes we can get a frost hard enough to scorch the tender growth...

Making pilot holes for the hoop ends ; with a length of rebar; certainly helps to keep the biceps toned and ready; for the upcoming arm wrestling championships.....

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Pyrenean Perigrination Part Five


Well that was a long night....at Fuen Blanca.

Very vivid; but crazy dream about autumnal cycling around Cumbria and Yorkshire in the rain half the time....Who in their right minds.......? Must have been the sound of all those waterfalls.....



There had been some inchoate ideas the night before of yoga, sunbathing, and perhaps even actual bathing itself in, and alongside the cascades, if the morn had brought sun...
It didn't. So may as well move on....



The path out of the gorge is up that way...Where exactly? Well the ever reliable maps says so....






 Now I discover the full extent of OH's committed 'Boy Scoutyness'.
Whilst fossicking about in this walkers hutlet in the gloamin the night before; he had come across....
A perfectly drinkable can of beer deposited by a previous incumbent.... And left it there...

Nope; I don't get it either...
My moral compass obviously needs a complete reset...






Another shelter nearby, this one provided by nature, not certain I'd enjoy sleeping under such a depth of geology... But a pleasing formation all the same.




I guess if you turned up here late, and unprepared, you might be glad of the shelter afforded, and maybe even appreciate the dubious looking detritus in form of old sleeping bags left by previous occupants...





So a reluctant farewell is bid to the idyllic scene... Half hoping the sun doesn't emerge to induce 'waterfall wist'



A bit of map taming origami....





As they say...."Careful what you wist for"....Sky gives up even trying to compete with the gaiters.....



Occasional glimpses down to the gorge bottom through the low cloud...
ĵ
There is probably a support group for compulsive waterfall snappers...









Approach to Mordor....




Ascending into the weather








Come on sunshine....




Quick stop for refreshment, OH's garb blending seamlessly with his surroundings...


This is not looking promising. There had been a plan B of a nearby(ish ) summit..


It was shortly after a scrambly bit here that we came across a young woman (Swiss perhaps?) coming the other way. She had got a weather forecast from the refuge up the valley; and had been advised that if she wanted to complete her route she should push on, as there was foul weather forecast for the next day...

Sadly she was the only solo female walker we came across. But then maybe there were lots of others; higher up doing proper 'rough' stuff...

If we wanted to avoid being stuck this side of the Breche for an extra day, we would need to push on and do it before the end of the day.... So no summits today (small mercies!)





The clouds do the decent thing and lift high enough to see down into the upper end of Ordesa Gorge.

Ordesa runs roughly perpendicular to the Anisclo Gorge that we had left that morning..Not far from here to Goriz Refuge..Where we stopped for 'coffee type product'....Instant...
I know ..."What a snob."

But quite frankly.
What is the point?
Why not just have a half decent cup of tea?

Forecast (and fug) at refuge reconfirms our plans to get into France before dusk...



OK; by now (or perhaps long before this moment) you're probably starting to wonder..

"Is she one of those types who chatters on incessantly?

 So as one can never get a word; let alone a thought in edgeways?"

Well; just to prove that I can do 'companionable silence'.

Let us wander together, with only the wind, the cries of the vultures, and the occasional chirrup of marmots.

Whilst we take in the full grandeur of the geology (that, which we can see) as we approach the base of the climb to our, by now, much anticipated Breche de Rolande.












Semi sheltered lunch stop. Decide to smuggle all the Spanish olives into France.... Intestinally





Good firm footing.....I like this...



This is fine too....If a tad edging towards '1970's Dr Who set ambiance'....
Had plenty enough of that in Welsh Quarries as a child....Mapping trips....




Then as we climb higher, across uncairned (naturally...they will shift) screes; the way becomes less certain.

Compass reassures to some extent; but that does require that you know where you're starting from.

"I wouldn't start from here"

Now; I know I am going to be marked down as a proper 'fussy old curmudgeonly fusspot' but..

There are a very few; narrowly defined; specific circumstances; where I approve of the earth moving for (or under) me.
Rotovating on occasion being one...

If you look more closely at above photo you can see subtle gesturing as to just how happy I am about scaling acutely angled screes in zero visibility clag to reach the....






'Iconic Breche de Rolande'

  Hmmmnnn....?

Curiously we do not linger for 'we made it shots'

In truth; pausing here; for any length of time; in this natural wind tunnel would have flayed more layers of skin, than even the clients of the local spa resorts might be willing to relinquish...

Rain skirt does a 'bit of a Marilyn' on the shortish steepish descent into France.
 But; phew; blushes spared by trews underneath.
And; because, no one in their right minds would be up here in this weather to witness the fun anyhows......

You wouldn't need much imagination, to grasp, just how inhospitable this place would feel if, as many have, you were actually fleeing from a real pursuer.

Rather than just mithering about the rain on ones hol's....

And there is a Glacier to cross next.... Some people advise crampons for this...Oh no! We have none...




Quite possibly, the least spectacular. and unperilous 'crossing a glacier' shot ever to appear on the internet.....A frosty morning in the school yard would present more hazards...
Didn't prevent me however, replying to a text received that very moment with a " Sorry Nat' I was a bit busy crossing a glacier just then"




Gosh what a relief....Glad I had brought my ice axe....





Someone had been having tremendous fun building cairns up here.
Or had the French stolen them from the Spanish side to deter invaders?

A short descent to (It turns out aptly numbered) Pitch 13.....

After 12 km; 1150 m ascent....

The weather wasn't conducive to carrying on for at least another hour to a possible but not faithfully promised pitch.
There was a warm coal fire in the Refuge de la Breche..... Four course meal; sat at a table; was on offer...

Don't generally relish communal sleeping, but..

A complete lack of gnarl.....On my part you understand....Had to consider the options for a whole nanosecond....






Dinner was great, and in good company... A Spanish couple who had walked up here that afternoon, very enlightening on the dire financial straights within which Spain finds itself.... 40% pay cuts for the public sector; she was a hospital doctor.
 And taxes so high, on even setting up a business - regardless of profits, that her husband in IT wasn't going to bother.... Not above the radar at least.

Plus two English writers, one an author, the other a playwright. Bit of research trip going on regarding the history of the area...
 The 'Rolande' of the Breche was a semi mythological figure a la Robin Hood. But a natural high and remote passageway between two countries such as these such as this is bound to generate numerous stories of escape and escapade.

Some of these tales being purely 'facts' and some; perhaps like this one; 'artefacts'.


Bunkette would have been fine were it not for the 'Vente de Pissoir' coming through the door right next to my nose; all night from the toilet that perchance got cleaned at the end of each and every season....Whether it needed it, or not.

That of course combined with that "Oh so slumber inducing lullaby" supplied by the sounds of others enthusiastically enjoying a good nights repose.

Worst night of 'no sleep' that I have ever paid for..






The next morning. The weather had not improved its climatic mood. nor could mine, be described as 'fair' neither....
Sleep deprivation is routinely used as a means of torture; due no doubt to it's total efficacy...

Us table companions formed an impromptu expeditionary group, as we were all heading, initially at least. in the same direction...






The next hour or so would have provided ample material for an afternoon radio play...Wouldn't work on the screen - bugger all to see....

Three couples; each with their self appointed 'team leader'. No one totally sure where the path is... Plenty cairns here but they can't all be the true way.....Big edgy drops;  an uncomfortably frigid river crossing; swollen from the previous nights downpour and fed by a fast melting glacier..
Perhaps leading to a path on the other side...
 Do these cryptic rock daubed hieroglyphs mean "Come this way?" or " No no! Don't come this way"..........Nice; if that's your thing.

Sorry not too many shots of that bit - again hands a bit busy elsewhere.
 Plus far too wet to get my lovely new camera out...





Needless to say we weren't swept over a cliff edge by a 'Raging Torment' (a la William Brown)
But we do look quite pleased to be on something resembling a path. Farewell shot; as our disparate group dissipates...


OK confession time now....On really very few occasions OH is made the object of lampoon on account of his everso slight 'Boy (man?) Scouty' "I know best" tendencies in these situations...

And I can't claim to be last in line; when it comes to joining in the gentle leg pulling... But; in this instance I don't think I was alone in appreciating his cautious, but confidently competent approach to the business of getting us all onto a firm footing....




He's right though you know; I do throw my right pole out too wide sometimes.
 I could hear above the buffeting wind; the loud tuts from our erstwhile companions; as they witnessed my inept womanhandling of the equippage.



And now? ....Quelle horreur!.... The left!







It was very windy; so much so that I got blown over twice as we descended the valley towards Gavarnie..

The worst part of those mishaps being that OH didn't get to enjoy; let alone record; that universally comedic moment of; someone else falling over....

Will try to give fair warning next time so as not to risk being accused of being a total 'fun sponge'....


It's definitely brightening up, but the wind keeps it up too. Wouldn't mind but there wasn't even any laundry to dry....

I need to get to know my mushrooms better....These look eminently edible...But....
And look who won in the 'my gaiter for scale' competition'...

Brighter again; and; is that a potential hut for a brewstop down there?




There is something about being in a constant blast that really does fray the nerves... That and being constantly assaulted both aurally and olfactorily all night...

Thinking about it afterwards I could have turned round and slept head to toe.. I could have moved up a 'shelf' but...

I had cracked some "Oh so droll" joke about 'bed hopping' at table the night before; to people who didn't know me........

That'll learn me.....

Not.



The refuge cabin was already overstuffed with french youth, hiding from the weather.
I can't quite remember the stat' but apparently the murder rate does rise appreciably when the Mistral in Southern France is blowing.

Those youngsters don't know what a narrow escape they had.....
We struggled through their assorted forms to a pitch black side room.... Stove pic' taken with flash, could easily have been a gaiter shot but perhaps you can have too much of a good thing?

Instant coffee, was welcome for warming up, not so much of an ingrate....






Youthlets; eventually spilled out; leaving lots of comfy looking bedding; Ooo I could just lie down here; and snooze for a bit....

But the path calls; seen here through the tiny window, as it croons the tune of the constant breeze..

"These high wide hills, and rough uneven ways, draw out our miles and make them wearisome"

Richard III

Get the feeling The Bard wasn't too keen on hillwalking.... But then he didn't have a lightweight tent; and pretty pink gaiters.....



As you may discern from the 'all garments deployed' styling; weather still tending towards barmy rather than balmy....Maybe go even further south next year?




Getting ever closer to Gavarnie, and a towards a first viewing of the famous 'Cirque de'. At the aptly named, if the visibility is good, 'Plateau de Belle Vue' here on the well trod GR10.





Thank you clouds for lifting your skirts and giving us a peek.....Some phenomenal forces must have scooped out this feature.




Meteorological top tip......
How to know if its still a bit windy out...?

Local waterfalls can be seen to be travelling, in part at least, uphill



Gavarnie, longstanding mountain resort, pastiche Alpine style, pony rides, tat shops, looks like Kenny's here already....
But also good dinners and hot showers, I am a proper 'luxe bunny' when it comes to them.... And don't get me started on deep baths.... 

Pitch 14 Gavarnie campsite, the gentleman in question appears to have a waterfall descending upon him....You guys just keep ogling the tent... I'm rather more drawn by the old stone barn in the background....


After 13km, (felt more like 33 into that wind) 60m ascent (all downhill - poor knees)


Inching closer to barn; on pretext of capturing still gravity defying cascade....


I don't give a fig for your modern cars; (just as well given my budget) but whatever; they just don't build them this cute anymore...



We had been recommended this eaterie by the guide met at the refuge the night before. Gite d'Etape de Gipette...Locally sourced food, run and cheffed by the owner, who is obviously deeply in love with his cooking.....

Me gusto?.... Gusto! (wrong country I know; but they're pretty much bilingual this close to the border)



Our table companions that night .. Singaporean, Ling and BK, who were staying at this most hospitable place.
We all shared and troughed with enthusiasm, the prodigious quantities of quality nosh, but still couldn't finish it all...

At their insistence we took home the residue of bilberry cake for breakfast...




This is more like it. Forecast is set fair for the next few days......



Not only do we get icing sugar dusted sponge for breakfast... But snow dusted Cirque top too... Lovely...



Perhaps I should explain here more general reader, but I do have to pander to certain niche tastes ; ; ; .
 Interior tent shot; showing potential crevice through which bugs might have entered. thankfully there are precious few of the blighters here...I probably caused this through inappropriate laundry dangling....



Cripes! It would also appear a pitching malfunction has arisen....

Discuss possible causes...

But not with me...

"I know nothing of these matters"

 Perhaps go over there and do it...With them...

But yes; lets have a cup of tea first.....






Plastic bag toting hayseed, with just stepped out of the 'Hedgebackwards Salon' barnet, ruining perfectly nice view...

How come the river is so white?

We do not know....General ignorance shocker... Can anyone enlighten?




Departing Gavarnie now for the next leg...It was shortly before this that OH attempted entry into the Ultralight Hikers Club.

By leaving his 'for best' (who knew???) underpants hung up on an electric fence....
Laundry darlings... He wasn't wearing them at the time....

Hope none of the local cattle found them...

 And choked......


A statuesque Madonna oversees the activities of a local pylon maintenance crew... Lord only knows how much aviation fuel this operation takes. They'd been at it all morning...



This new calf, was only just born in the last few minutes, but already on its feet and nuzzling for food.

Farming is often held up as a laudably noble occupation.
But really; all we're trying to do; even us vegetable farmers; is to make a profit out of sex and death...

Small wonder my moral compass needs resetting...





Ascending to higher geographical; if not moral ground. Heading towards Barraco D'Ossue, still on GR10, when we can find it..... Just one last look at the 'in fine fettle' herd.


Losing track now; but I think this might be 'unsuccessful fuzzy marmot shot #32'


Hairpins hinge across the slope; if I had to go by vehicle would far rather drive them; than be driven... Might be a control thing?



'Atkins Diet' Taken to its illogical conclusion... No doubt something has feasted on her... And so the molecules go ever spinning onwards.....We must make the most; none of us are here nearly long enough...




Mmmm more pointy bits to enjoy. It definitely has an Alpine air this valley, in both senses...






More unskilled pointing at peaks...But alfalfa sprouting enthusiastically.....






Good to see unfussy juxtaposition of 'ancient and modern' Both forms thoroughly utile in their way; and in their proper place...Cattle holding pen; cattle handler refuge close by...


Bah.... Locked.... No coffee



Valley narrows; as I scan for level pitches; it's too early to camp yet surely? Yes but.......


Starting to feel the effects of nearly two whole days without anything approaching a proper yoga practice... I will shrink... Crumble.. Bones will end up in improper places...

So sparing too much posturing; the full programme will go on my "No excuses for not practicing when you're away" post for my yogis...
Yes; yoga students really can be referred to as such..... I know.....unbearably droll...



Ustrasana "The camel" ...Rather pleasingly counteracts the effect of carrying a load...

Urdhva Dhanurasana, for the upper back, and chest....Achieving the pose is all about the leg work...But why would you not want more lung capacity?

If you sliced me in half (many have been tempted, over the years, I'm sure) It would say "Iyengar Yoga" through the middle.

Please don't try any of this stuff at home - or in the hills - folks; without some proper instruction... And no prizes for guessing what flavour of teacher I would recommend....For no nonsense 'cosmic wafting free' putting stuff back where it should be bodywork....

We actually infest all corners of the globe... And if you're in the UK, there is a postcode 'find your nearest teacher' facility on our website...'

And before anyone starts up with "I'm too old for all that nonsense" One of my yogis (yes haha) started with me at the age of 70....14 years later? Still going strong.

Ooooo; ow! Pyrenean needle grass; living up to it's name.....



And look!

We may have visited these hills after the main showing of purty flowers has gone over....Would undoubtedly be nice to come then; but it coincides with lots of work on the farm....

But still; gaiter tomato combo doing its best to brighten the scene...

And for now?

That will have to be it 'til the weather here uncheers itself again; and I let myself off field work to  beaver away at the final instalment of our perigrinations...

Might they actually go up a proper hill? Rather than skirt the passes; and dally in the valleys?

Plus I'm not so badly brought up to talk with that much bread and cheese in my mouth...



Phew,.... This might do it.


http://broadviewfromasmallfarm.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/perineum-perigrination-part-six.html