Love the Pyrenees – activities galore!

I’ve been meaning to post about this for a long time, but only just got around to putting a few words together. Over the Easter holidays, Katie and I made a last minute plan to get away for a few days for a holiday. ‘Holiday’ is a very loose term, with everyone having a very personal idea of what makes up an ideal break. For us, no trip is worth doing if it doesn’t include endless physical exertion and lots of great food.

Rachel and Damian used to live in London, and had been members of the Clapham Chasers, before they upped sticks and moved down to the Pyrenees. They’ve since set up a brilliant accommodation and activity sports business in Campan, at the bottom of the Col du Tourmalet;

http://www.lovethepyrenees.com/

A few other Chasers had already been out to stay and come back with only positive reviews, so we thought we’d give it a crack ourselves. Little did they know what they were getting themselves in for…

The place is about 90 minutes away from Toulouse airport. Rachel and Damian do offer a transfer service, but we quite wanted to rent a car so we could make our own way around. As we made our way down towards the Pyrenees, the views became more and more scenic as the beautiful mountainous landscape filled the car windscreen.

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We’d wanted to ride bikes whilst out there but didn’t want the hassle of flying our own out, so they put us in touch with the local bike shop who provided an excellent rental service. The roads and routes out there are absolutely stunning (as you can imagine), with some really testing climbs alongside some flatter, valley riding.

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Dorks

When we initially booked the trip, the plan was to run, ride, hike and just explore the local area. However, we’d completely overlooked the fact that the ski season hadn’t finished yet and the snow was still really good. Count us in! Rachel kindly set us up with a discount with the local ski hire shop and sorted us out with some gear as soon as we arrived, so we could ski the very next morning.

We were both slightly apprehensive about skiing, as neither us had been for a good few years. All pre-trip predictions pointed towards me going off like a loon and crashing all over the place, while Katie glided down serenely. Imagine my delight when I stayed upright for the entire duration of the trip while she bombed out all over the show!

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Unfortunately, Rachel and Damian didn’t realise they’d inherited the guests from hell. After bending over backwards to make sure we had everything we needed, we decided to pay them back by causing numerous issues during our short stay.

On the second evening, I decided to go for a quick bike ride post skiing, whilst Katie went for a run. The plan was for us to meet at the supermarket afterwards, which Katie would drive to in our rental car. About halfway through my ride, I realised the amount of climbing I was doing meant I was making slow progress and therefore in danger of being late; so I absolutely rinsed myself to make it with one minute to spare to keep the peace.

On my phone is a text from Katie;

‘I’ve crashed the car.’

‘Ha ha ha, very funny; you nearly had me there. Now, where are you?’

Turns out, she’d crashed the car. Now when I say crashed, this is probably slightly unfair. She’d clipped the curb and the tyre had exploded. Easily done; must be the way they make them in France. I’m 6 miles down the road (and don’t have a clue how to change a tyre anyway), so an SOS call goes out to Damian who, without hesitation, comes along to change it for us. What a legend.

While we were out there, conditions for skiing were absolutely perfect; apart from the very last day. As we drove up the mountain, the snow started to get heavier and heavier, and as we reached the top, we were struggling for any grip on the road.

We made it to the top, and decided we may as well ski now we’re there, and worry about getting down later. However, halfway down the first run, the wind was so severe that they closed all the lifts and we were forced off the slopes and into one of the bars for an early lunch/beer.

Conditions were getting worse and worse, and muggins here had avoided all advice about having snow chains for your tyres. We were stranded, with the forecast showing no signs of the snow relenting. After searching online for potential accommodation options for the evening, we put out another SOS to Love the Pyrenees.

Within 30 minutes they arrived in their 4×4 to safely ferry us down the mountain; leaving our car to be picked up the following day. During the ski season they do offer daily transfers up and down to the ski resort, which in hindsight, would’ve been a far better option.

The accommodation was everything we needed, with a warm fire to light in the evenings and a kitchen to whip up some mean cuisine (mainly omelettes then). We shared a few beers with them overlooking the mountains, and they were invaluable in recommending local riding and running routes whilst we were there.

I’ve absolutely no doubt we’ll be back next year, the real question will be whether we’re welcome or not though..

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One thought on “Love the Pyrenees – activities galore!

  1. Hahaaa! Brilliantly written Joe & I laughed out loud a few times when remembering your antics. My favourite being digging your rental car out of the snow the next day after
    the massive dump of white stuff 😂We loved having you both. We were knackered just watching you fit all the activities in a few days….crazy peeps!

    Like

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