Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year? Let's Hope So!

It has been a varied and interesting year, with extended periods in Kalymnos (about 3 months) and Ariège (about 4.5 months) plus quite a bit of time in the UK plus visits to Spain and even Turkey. With two books published (Peak Limestone and Ariège) and another just round the corner (the new Costa Blanca guide) it has may well have been my most productive year ever. I think a bit more 'me time' (as in more climbing!) might be on the horizon.

Left: me and White Cat

We didn't get to Norway this year which was a pity as it always a place we love to spend time, maybe next year we will get back to the superb mountains and fjords, the friendly locals (and not forgetting the lack of tourists).
Other possible places pencilled included Corsica and Sicily - a couple of spots that keep cropping up - and then back to the Alps - but not in July/August when it is hot, sweaty and crowded!

Right: Sherri and a black cat - Squeek!
We have missed Colins company over the past few months, he hasn't recovered too well from his bypass operation in the summer - here's hoping for a better 2013 for him, and peaceful one for the rest of us.

****   Happy New Year to all my readers - of both this Blog and the Guidebooks  ****

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Mountain High

A week back in the UK was busy, especially with the need to sort out after Kalymnos and pack the car, plus fitting a couple of days on the Grit with the usual suspects.
The Portsmouth to St Malo crossing was just a bit choppy, we disembarked at dawn and by dusk were settled at Chez Arran - 540 miles away.

Above: Barry d'en Bas and the surrounding mountains 

White Cat was pleased to see us back, nearly as pleased as we were to be here.

Over the 1st few days the weather has been fine, quite warm (up to 15C) and a bit showery. As well as winding down we have done a bit of local rambling, a few routes on the granite at Auzat (test driving the new guidebook) and a had a visit to Andorra to stock up on 'essentials' and hike up a little hill - 8500'.

Right: Sherri above the snowline

Christmas is two days away; it is 26 years since Sherri suggested we escape the UK winter for a bit of Spanish sunshine - just look what she started!

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Onwards and Upwards

Ten and half weeks gone by, we arrived in the heat of September and slipped away on cool December afternoon. How cool was revealed by the snow-capped peak of Mount Tmolus, 7800' high and 120 miles away in Turkey glittering in the wintery sunshine.
Leaving great places and good friends is always a strain, but I guess if you never left anywhere you would never arrive anywhere either. We said bye-bye to the cats at the bar and the team at the harbour but we won't be away for too long.
Home in the UK for a week, just time to say hello do a heap of jobs, pack the car then push off to the Ariège again. We may sail to Bilbao but will be watching the forecast carefully and not booking it until the very last minute - the Bay of Biscay in December isn't to be undertaken lightly.

"50 Years Ago Today"

Big Chris and Smaller Colin - 50 years on and still getting wet! Colin was heading back from Spain to the UK so he called in and we spen...