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Saturday, July 30th, 2011 at 3:57 pm - - Canyon 2 Comments »

Cap de Pount is a long walk up from the carpark up a valley and through a long cow meadow. We found the exit of the gorge and got changed, then walked up the slope and around it into another meadow after only a few hundred metres. Is that it? Becka said.

Yes, that is the lot.

You could see into part of it from above.


Thursday, July 21st, 2011 at 8:43 pm - - Canyon

Once again my camera stayed safely in several layers of dry containers for the entire trip, which is why it still works.

I’d been staring at the egress of Bitet Inferieur canyon on the road up to Portalet since first day we passed it on bikes and saw five people coming out of it grinning ear to ear.

There was no way I was going to persuade Becka I was competent enough to take us through it. She knows me too well. And we didn’t have a guidebook (the internet has de-listed it as illegal).

What we needed was someone competent to take us there.

I wonder if the Tourist Information could sort this out.


Thursday, July 21st, 2011 at 7:07 am - - Canyon 1 Comment »

Subject to climbing a fence and getting round a difficult landslide, you can walk to Canyon du Canceigt from our door.

Becka saw busloads of small children getting changed into wetsuits down by the river, so we decided that maybe we were up to it.

It’s a very pretty canyon with overhanging cave-like walls and flowstone and light everywhere. At one point there is a mat of ivy dangling down in free space by about 20 metres almost to the floor.


Saturday, July 16th, 2011 at 8:57 pm - - Canyon

Somehow this pair of numpties got themselves into, through, and out of two canyons today.

It was a sunny Saturday in July and Canyon du Soussoueou touts le monde was there: spaniards, french, plenty of children in guided groups.

We were probably the only persons to bother to check out the sign printed out and pinned up daily on the notice board of the hydro-electric power station. Hey, ever heard of a web-page?

Well, at least the numbers forced us to stop wibbling and try to look competent. This included pretending to know which were the toboggans and where you were supposed to jump. Nothing looks so stupid as spending 5 minutes setting up an abseil rope down a waterfall as 30 kids streaming up behind you and jumping over the ledge into the pool. Except, maybe, jumping off and breaking your legs on a rock that you couldn’t see because of the white foam.


Monday, September 27th, 2010 at 6:16 am - - Canyon

On Monday 30 August everyone else was too tired to go canyoning, which meant I had an opportunity to go on my own with Becka with all the kit and ropes and bags. It felt like being allowed to drive off with your first girlfriend in your parent’s car for the first time, alone. One way or another there would be tears. We rarely go caving on our own, unless we know the cave very well, because neither of us has faith in the other’s competence.


Tuesday, September 21st, 2010 at 6:42 pm - - Canyon

Deferred posting. [28 Aug] Long drive up the SS549 with five in the car up to Mondelli canyon. (Three of us had done the lower section a few days before where it had too much out of the water and ended with an annoying prussic to reach the road bridge). We headed for the top two sections on the wrong path which took us on a two hour walk up the steep hill.


Tuesday, September 14th, 2010 at 9:44 pm - - Canyon

Deferred posting. The plan was to get a long canyon out of the way before Becka arrived and bumped our team up to an unmanageable three numpties and two guys who knew what they were doing. Ogliana di Quarata was a very long steep walk straight up the hill in a forest that had everyone soggy with sweat. The skin sweat response, having evolved on animals that don’t wear clothes, seems to put out more liquid in the areas where it isn’t working, like all over your shoulders and back where your wetsuit is draped, to the extent that it eventually slips off.


Sunday, September 12th, 2010 at 8:50 am - - Canyon 1 Comment »

Deferred posting Ju skipped the day leaving me to be the slow guy at the back of the party picking up the pieces and holding everything up while Si and Andrew scooted on ahead to do the complicated rigging on slippery canyon walls out in the sunshine. It wasn’t the greatest of canyons. (Mondelli Inferior) The belays were far away from the water and took you across the grass. In my thick black wetsuit I experienced a boil in a bag situation. One jump was scarily high. I wore my mask not only to protect my nasal passages, but also because it was peril-sensitive and steamed up so I couldn’t see what I was about to do. Gravity is just too much. In an eyeblink you can plummet ten metres as though a catapult has you hurled downwards into a ravine, so that if you were a ball hitting the floor you would rebound off the walls a couple of times before flying high into the sky.


Tuesday, September 7th, 2010 at 6:20 pm - - Canyon

Deferred posting. Halfway down the first canyon — Rosiga — I began to feel I was getting too much of a good thing. The jumps and toboggans forced water up my nose so hard my eyes were squeezed. My eardrums were swollen. I could tell it was a good canyon, but I wasn’t quite ready for it. My nose started actually bleeding at the halfway point. My arms ached two days later from all the swimming.


Monday, September 6th, 2010 at 8:49 am - - Canyon

Deferred Posting. The podcast player was found in Becka’s computer case. Now I’ll have some noises to listen to on the long drive across Europe. Clive lent me his phone for the rest of the holiday to enable me to find out where I was going. We sat around for one last beer in the newly cleaned potato hut with its natural wooden tables and no longer linoleum covered floor.

The night was disturbed by the small brown mouse that had made its nest in our food box earlier in the week. This time it was in the tent, though the fact took some time to establish because it froze and stopped rustling every time we woke up. We cornered it under our old clothes, unzipped the inner and watched it catapulte out like a flying furball. Then it spent the rest of the night trying to get back in. I could see the it running up and down on top of the inner tent.