Thursday, 29 March 2012

Hanging out in the Ariege

Every time I come to stay with John and Anna of Chez Arran I am always amazed at how fantastic this valley is. Yesterday I went walking the dogs for two hours by the river and followed it with a 30 minute run. The morning was wonderful and at this time the valley is chilly that is until the sun gets high enough to heat things up.


The third activity of the day was horse riding. Not my specialized subject but one I have been improving on over the last few months. I can now walk, trot, canter, gallop and jump. The horse I have learnt on is Elsa and she is amazing. We are brining her back to the UK to sell her as she will be a perfect kids pony. She is so easy to ride, almost push button infact. Easy steering, good brakes etc etc.

Yesterday we did a 3hr ish ride up to a church ruin Chapelle De Lugeat, a 1000m climb above the valley. The way up was steep and rocky though the horses managed well. It was so much easier than walking and well worth the effort :-)
Man and horse taking a break
Kate and Arco taking in the view
With the horses worked, it was finally time for me to play. We headed out with Anne to Genat. A crag I have visited before but I forgot my boots!! Still I did a 6c, 7a and managed to fight up a 7B+. This day was hopefully going to be better. By the time I arrived at the crag though I had a splitting headache, I warmed up on a 6c after which all I wanted to do was lie down. I followed it with a flash of a cool 7b+ (crucial beta from Anne). Still I felt shit, this time when I came down I felt physically sick and I was tempted to head to the bushes. Soon though the headache tablets kicked in and I thought I may as well try something harder, I settled for an 8a called Riglos. With a bit more beta from Anne, pretty crucial really as there was zero chalk on the crux, I managed to guess my way through the boulder problem and found myself topping out as the light faded. Perfect and the headache was almost gone. The only thing left to do was eat pizza.
Cross Road Right 7b+



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