Saturday, 2 August 2014

The wonderful Pyrenees in early summer (Day 4 18/06/14)

OUR focus for the day was to go up the Pic du Midi de Bigorre, but we missed the cable car, much to our disappointment.  However this was a blessing in disguise as the cloud cover was low and so the views would have been non-existent.  However on the following day the sun was back out and the views were frankly spectacular.

I started the 4th day with a walk around the gite, climbing up the track behind, through the woodlands.  The trees were dominated by chestnuts and oaks, with a wonderful range of wildflowers on the track-side, including yellow poppies, tall aquilegia, harebell and clovers, along with the occasional common spotted orchid..

Later, having missed the cablecar, we pottered around looking at the wildlife in the area.  Up on the slopes at the foot of the mountain there were still patches of snow from last winter.  The altitude meant that some spring flowers were just hanging on, including daffodils and the occasional fritillary.  The grass emerging from below the snow was straw-like and only just starting to grow.

Vanilla Orchid
Alpine buttercup
The cable-car goes from a ski center, which itself is on a famous road mountain road leading to the Col du Tormale, known to anyone with an interest in the Tour de France.  Numerous crazy cyclists were tackling the 10mile 10%+ ascent and celebrating at the top when they reached the Col - madness!

The car park attendants were quite unusual

At that height the vultures were a common sight and the star of the show were the lammergeiers.

Over the other side of the Col the road can been seen winding down into the next valley, but was closed on the day that we were there for repairs, meaning that we had a big detour to get to there.

On the journey back to the gite I captured this chap posing as a typical french man for tourists.

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