Spring 2013 update

 Gavarnie daffodilsStraight from Winter to Summer?

I guess it will arrive in a big rush sometime around the start of June. Winter will disappear and summer will be upon us. Spring will have been bypassed. While I am dreaming of 25°C it is snowing this afternoon in Gavarnie, the 29th May!

cyclist tourmalet cyclist tourmalet2

The opening of the Col du Tourmalet generally marks the start of the summer season in the valley. Cyclists and motorists pour over the highest road pass in the Pyrenees, enjoying their flirtation with the rigours of the high mountain environment before descending into Luz for a comfortable room. This year is all proving extremely difficult. Cyclists are battling nature but they can only go so far. The road opening teams are bravely clearing what they can, but avalanche risk, ice and ever more snow are not helping. We have a few brave travellers passing through but I fear this rare spring cold will not bode well for May tourism in future years.

Just so you know what things generally look like at the end of May here is a great photo showing ‘normal’ and now. The view is of the Pic du Midi (de Bigorre, 2877 m).

Pic du Midi May 2011 2013

Camping Options

In spite of the cold, we are working on summer, and in particular camping options, new this year. We are very lucky to have Nikki and Matthew Collins owners of a new business, Go Camping France, living just up the road from us (they also own Ardiden Velos). They are offering camping gear for rent, and we think this would be a perfect option for some of our clients. We are thinking on treks where people may not really want to sleep in the refuge with all the snorers, but also as an option for our independent walking packages and our independent hut to hut trek. This might also be a great option for families doing a multi-activity week. Nikki and I are working on pricing, so all the options are not up yet. But if you are interested, give us a shout.

Go Camping France


Both Blue Cairn Lodge (Mandy and Sacha’s house/gite) and Hotel Les Templiers have undergone upgrading, redecoration and renovation. Nothing that dramatically changes the feel of either – still homey and down to earth, but with new bathrooms and extra comfort. Neither of us are entirely finished – the endless work in progress, but we are getting there.

What’s on?

Sporting events are never lacking around here. Two to start the summer off on a good note are the Luz-Cauterets foot race on the 2nd June (basically following the GR10) and the cycling Tour des 3 Vallées (Tour of 3 Valleys) which was held last weekend. These are great things to be part of if you are so inclined. Foreigners always welcome! The inscriptions for the ‘Grand Raid des Pyrenees’ are finished, but if you are in to trail running think about it for next year – always the last weekend of August and there are 80km and 110km options.

Luz-Cauterets Race  Tour des Trois ValléesGrand Raid des Pyrenees

Newly published from a local Pyrenean author…


Will the glaciers grow this year???

Given there has been so much snow, this is what I’d really like to know. Will it actually hold out over the summer and increase the size of the glaciers, or will the inexorable rising summer temperatures mean it makes no difference.  We’ll know mid-September when the measurements are taken on the Ossoue glacier.