From the Pennines to the Pyrenees

Ariège, France, Laroque d'Olmes, Pyrénées, Walking

You’d have to have been following me a long time to know why I call my blog ‘From Pyrenees to Pennines‘. I began writing it in 2007, to record our big adventure in moving to the foothills of the French Pyrenees, to a small town, Laroque d’Olmes whose glory days as a textile manufacturing centre were long over, and where we were (almost) the only English . There we stayed till 2014, involving ourselves in local life from politics to choirs to walking groups, and falling ever deeper in love with the Pyrenees which formed the background to our lives.

Through the walking groups we came to know the mountains in every season. The abundance of meadow flowers and orchids in the spring: the relief from lowland heat in the summer: rich autumn colours that could compete with any on the planet, and deep snow in winter. We welcomed the physical challenge of yomping upwards to some high peak or plateau, and earning our panoramic picnic, and learnt to respect the mountains’ moods.

Here’s a selection of virtual postcards, which may help explain why the Pyrenees will always remain for us our Special Place.

And finally …

The view from our roof terrace. Going up to hang out the washing was no hardship.

For Karina’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #188: A Special Place

61 thoughts on “From the Pennines to the Pyrenees

  1. Heavenly comes to mind, Margaret. Was there a blog to follow back then? I’m curious as to why that particular village and I’d like to have followed your early journey.

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  2. oh Margaret can totally see why you fell in love with this glorious place. It is a long time since I walked in the Pyrenees, but the memories of their beauty have never faded

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  3. So lovely. I read Marcus Sedwick’s ‘Snow’ quite recently, written from his base in the French Alps. There’s something about high places. And France…

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    1. Indeed. And it’s strange that the Alps and Pyrenees each have their own special character, as does every region of France. As of course we do too here. Might you join 6 Degrees this month? I’ve struggled, but I think I’m nearly there.

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  4. The midi Pyrenees was an area I was keen on when I had the idea of going to live in France. It was never going to happen though. The OH wasn’t going to leave his elderly mother or his teenage daughter and now it is too late. It’s a beautiful place and the blue of those flowers is astonishing.

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    1. I ought to have shared more of the flowers. Just for you. Just imagine, some 60+ varieties of orchid grew locally – not that I spotted them all, but Maytime was magical.

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  5. So very beautiful and something extra special about these geological features that have become national borders. I feel they have an almost fluid quality as in-between spaces which adds to their mystic. It must have been breathtaking living there.

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  6. What beautiful images – I can easily see why you loved this area and why it remains special to you! I’m curious though why you chose to live there? Did you know and love it already? Or did you have any connections to the area?

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    1. It was Malcolm who always wanted to retire to France, and an invitation to spend a week or so in that area sealed the deal, and we’ve never regretted it. We made friends for life whilst there, and had opportunities we couldn’t have had back here in the UK. And mountains … Always special. Always put you firmly in your place.

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  7. I’ve been following since 2012 and have enjoyed your tales of waling and enjoying the local fare. your photographs of the land whether it be France or England have been magnificent. Keep going, you’ve been an inspiration during the past two years and more. Peace.

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    1. Clay, you’re special because you have indeed followed and supported me almost from the beginning. You’re one of a very small and select band. Thank you!

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  8. Enjoy walkig through this fabulous place through you photos. All are beautifully captured. Special, indeed!

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    1. Often. We’re happy in our daily lives of course, and it’s nice to be nearer more of the family (though further away from Team Spain). But watching British attitudes harden against Johnny Foreigner as Brexit took hold has been hard to bear. Though recent horrifying events seem to have modified that stance.

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  9. Glory be! You really had it lucky. What a fantastic location! So very envious, especially of having to do the washing every day. And I am glad to see some of the landscape from the famous poem of my young years.

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      1. Horseflies! They sound awful. Australia is the land of flies, but you can at least brush them away. I am far more intolerant of flies as I get older. I have screened windows and patio areas, so I can enjoy the outside air without some biting thing sucking my blood or crawling on my skin. If someone has left the screen door open you are apt to see me, swat in hand, batting away the blighter, madly shouting, “piss off.”
        You asked what is their point? I guess in our style of agricultural nature, the insects have opportunities to flourish that they might not if it was underdeveloped land without the number of farm animals that are present.

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  10. Ah, the pyrenees – how gorgeous memories! We spent some walking there as well, I think it was in 2009. Unforgettable. You must return some day…

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  11. Loved these images when you posted them, they reminded me of watching the Belle & Sebastian cartoons- do you know them? Looked it up to show the kids and found pretty much all the episodes on You Tube. So I’ve spent a bit of time doing nothing useful but watching old cartoons and day dreaming about moving to the mountains. I’ve also discovered there’s a French movie remake, so I’ll be looking that up. Feeling quite cosy and nostalgic, thanks for sharing Margaret!

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    1. No, I’ve not come across Belle & Sebastian. Now I’ve looked them up it’ll be to do with our not having TV back in the ’60s. I’ll have to amuse myself on YouTube in a few quite moments. Thanks for the hint!

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