In September 2013, I will lead my first group on a week’s walking holiday in the French Pyrenees, south of Toulouse.
This is country I know well, having once lived in the deep south of France for five years. Indeed, I first ventured into the Pyrenees back in 1991, exploring the rural villages that dot the valleys between the high peaks and hiking up to high corrie lakes. It’s wonderful country, with that great French mix of quaint, old traditional stone built houses, sheep and goat herds and breathtaking mountain scenery. I go back every year.
France boasts many long linear hiking trails, among them the wonderful GR10, which follows the mountain chain from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. In the southern French départements of Haute Garonne, Ariège and Aude, a walking holiday on this trail is simply beautiful.
We will experience mountain lakes, waterfalls, gigantic forests and cute little villages, while enjoying off-road trails, all set against a spectacular backdrop of high mountain peaks, such as Le Valier (see slideshow). We will stay in ‘refuges’, mountain lodges and excellent rural hostels. It will be a fabulous week of hillwalking in one of Europe’s most beautiful corners.
Get in touch if you would like to be kept up-to-date with further information on this September 2013 French walking holiday séjour.
Buzzards – what fantastic birds of prey they really are. I’ve been away from the Blog for a while, thanks to my holidays in Aveyron, south central France.
As it’s the harvesting season over there (and here, for that matter), I was afforded a really great chance to witness Buzzards in all their glory. To see these wonderful birds soaring over the fields where the grain is being harvested is a really impressive sight. Buzzards grow to ca. 55cm long, with a wingspan of around 120 cm when adult. They happily hang over the fields that are being cut, even as the machines below are still in full swing. Why ? Because they’re waiting for dinner to come rushing out from the long corn, as they make their escape from the machinery. Into the waiting talons of the birds.
On one day, I watched 11 Buzzards over a field, twisting and turning in search of food, uncovered fleeing from the machinery in the field. They are incredibly flexible and able to turn and dive quickly. Thanks to a friend’s 7x to 21x zoom binoculars, I got really good views. In the good French light, I could really appreciate the colouration of both the underside and back of the birds. Beautiful!
Interestingly, on another day, I saw one solitary Kestrel hovering over the same field at the same time as 7 or 8 Buzzards. The Kestrel caught something; the Buzzards did not.
After such magnificent sights, I’ve resolved to getting a proper camera and lens for wildlife photography. Any suggestions and recommendations gladly received.