Sunday Rando – French style

It’s time for my monthly trip to the archives.  And an opportunity for me to remember, as I stare out at the rain sodden garden, that the grass isn’t always greener…..

November 14th 2014

Sunday Rando

7.00 a.m. Sunday.  22 Ariègeois radios were switched on for the day’s weather forecast.  ‘It’ll be an exceptionally sunny and hot day for the time of year, throughout France.  Temperatures in the south will reach 23 degrees in some places.’  22 satisfied listeners, members of the Rando del’Aubo, switched off their radios…. without bothering to listen to the end of the forecast.  Instead they turned to the more important business of packing their rucksacks for a rather heavy-duty walk an hour and a half’s drive from Mirepoix, la Forêt d’en Malo.

François talks us through the walk. This is it, in cross section.

With a stiff climb of 700 metres in prospect, a 14 km. walk isn’t a stroll in the park.  But the payoff as you emerge from the forest is an extraordinary panorama of the Pyrénées, jagged teeth of rock emerging from the thickly forested mountainsides: especially lovely in autumn as the trees turn from yellow, through ochre, to magenta and crimson.

As we drove eastwards, the cloud and mist descended. We parked, we walked, we climbed, we scrambled and we struggled for three hours as the mists became ever damper and more clinging, and an unexpected cold wind whipped across the mountain side.  And at the top, this was our view.

We hadn’t listened to the end of the forecast you see.  What we should have known that our little patch of south eastern France was a little bad-weather cold spot.  There we were bang in the middle of it.

As we finished our walk, the weather lifted a bit, and gave us a small taste of what we should have enjoyed.

Later, back at home, our smug families and friends recounted how they’d spent the day in shorts and tee shirts.  Maybe they’d had a little bike ride, a gentle stroll in the sunshine, a drink on the terrace in the hot sun……


Author: margaret21

I'm retired and living in North Yorkshire, where I walk as often as I can, write, volunteer, and travel as often as I can.

21 thoughts on “Sunday Rando – French style”

  1. Oo I think your middle photo (no view of the Pyrénées) is summing up the weather here today – our only plus is that we haven’t had to make the 700 metres climb (I am sure you have some of those in Yorkshire, but we don’t have anything that height in Suffolk!).

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    1. Oh no, there’s nothing here to compare with those yomps in the Pyrenees – though you East Anglian types might be taxed by our rolling hills. No mists here. Just unremitting heavy rain.


  2. Haahaaa…caught out by the weather! Who’d have thought in the mountains? LOL. Serioiusly, it could have turned out really bad for you. I’m hoping you had an apero’ in the evening as a welcome reward for your efforts.

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    1. Wait till the evening for an apero? No chance! Every French rando (well, ours anyway) included shared offerings of an apero, home cured sausage, local cheese, wine, home-made cake, and grandfather’s eau de vie as a minimum. It’s a wonder we ever walked anywhere in the afternoon.

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      1. Oh my. From a distance it is as clear as mud (and often leaves me feeling grubby).
        We have our own complicated and unedifying difficulties here and there was a time when I took an interest in some places elsewhere as a kind of diversion, but it has all become so overwhelmingly dismal that I am tending more and more to simply look away. Not good, I know.

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      2. It is dreadful, and not only on the news. Here we sit with blinds and curtains drawn against the 40 degree heat outside, which is unusual here even in the hottest times (used to be mostly February), while where you are there are unusually (I think?) heavy rains and flooding in places.

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