1st Sep 2009
It's been over a month since I last blogged. The reason? We've been relaxing at a friends' place in the South of France. John and Anne Arran moved to the Ariege region of the Pyrenees about 8 months ago and I now know why! They've bought an amazing property down there and are slowly but surely converting it into some top-class accommodation (with our help! - well, it wouldn't have been fair to invite ourselves along without helping out some would it?). Within 15 miles of their house must be at least 5 or more decent quality sport climbing crags, some of Europe's largest show-caves, plenty of other caves that you don't need to pay to enter, a decent leisure-kayak river, stunning wild camping, marked mountain bike trails, and more! Less than half an hour away is the ski resort of Ax Les Thermes. This must sound like an advert, which in a way it is. They are friends of ours and we'd like to see them do well. We just spent an incredibly enjoyable month with them living the dream - surely converting somebody else's French farm-house has got to be less stressful than doing it yourself! What I can't get my head around is why somewhere like this is hardly even talked about in the UK as a climbing destination, when somewhere like Kalymnos, Mallorca, or Sardinia, all of which have far less climbing potential, are world renowned destinations. And it's closer. Sales pitch over. I'm hoping to head back out in October before the weather breaks for the winter...
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