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Cragging in France - the Ariege valley

Autumn half term and a need to escape the rain and damp of merry England? How about a visit to the crags of Bedheilac, Auzat, and Sinsat in the Ariege valley south of Toulouse in France. The crags have an extensive range of grades, there are even some easy ones, the weather is usually guaranteed fine in April, May, June, September and October, and its worth the risk even in winter. The main town is Foix with nice cafes and restaurants, pavement cafes still thriving at the end of October. We stayed at le Coupier in a very good B&B which also has bunkhouse accommodation available (www.climbariege.com). A twenty to thirty minute drive each morning to the super crags where the walk-ins varied from five to twenty minutes. We flew Jet2 Manchester - Toulouse, Ryan Air also fly Liverpool - Carcasonne. The drive from the airports to Foix is on good roads and takes just over an hour. An excellent week and certainly worth another visit.

As some of you will be aware, long standing LMC members Jim and Joan Lawson have upped the tent pegs and moved to rural France. They are renovating a lovely house at Beaumarches near Plaisance (which sounds nice and is) just north of Tarbes. The views of the distant Pyrenees from their terrace are idyllic and with the gentle mooing of cattle in their fields forms a lovely backdrop to the swishing of the G&T's. We visited them for a couple of days and are able to report they are well and that their command of the new language seems to be coming along very well indeed. Good neighbours are helping with tractors and local produce, along with the all too frequent and necessary telephone calls to distant administrators. There email address is and I'm sure they will be glad to hear from any old friends.