Photos from July

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Natural bonsai: a cotoneaster at 2200m, hugging a south-facing boulder. 28 July 07

fields of gold

Looking out on the Champsaur, meaning fields of gold, so true at harvest time. 28 July 07


At 2900m, a bouquetin nibbles at scant vegetation. 28 July 07

senecio incanus

Senecio Incanus: little grows up here, but what does is often brightly coloured. 28 July 07

no glacier

All that remains of the glacier of the Vieux Chaillol, a lake of startling blue. 28 July 07

view ecrins

View of the high mountains of the Ecrins from the summit of the Vieux Chaillol. 28 July 07


A Nummulus fossil, embedded in the sedimentary rock. 28 July 07

weird rock shapes

Weird rock shapes and pinnacles. 27 July 07


At last, the colour of shot silk, I've tried so many times to photograph this butterfly. 27 July 07

guano cave

Inside the cave, and close to the resurgence of the torrent. 27 July 07


Inside the refuge, about to sink a slice of blueberry pie - mmmm! 27 July 07

no fishing

Sign forbidding fishing - in the loo. 27 July 07

demi deuil butterfly

The French call this butterfly 'demi deuil' or half in mourning, a reference to its black patches. 27 July 07

sheep herd

There are no shepherds in this area, and the sheep are seeking independence. Here is their leader ... 27 July 07

no war

... 'No God, No war, No bosses' - always a mistake teaching sheep to read and write. 27 July 07

champoleon valley

The river Drac, just a trickle in high Summer, leads the eye down the valley of Champoleon. 26 July 07

wheres the path

Somehow, somewhere, the path threads a route through this forbidding rock wall. 26 July 07

linaria alpina

A little splash of colour in the scree: linaria alpina. 26 July 07

over the col

A wild mountain landscape, just over the col. The GR54 'Tour des Ecrins' passes in front of the higher mountains. 26 July 07

saut du laire

The gorge supposedly jumped by the thief Hilaire to evade the customs men in the days of the salt tax. 25 July 07

shepherds huts

Shepherds huts instinctively placed in response to the landscape. 25 July 07

on guard

Marmot on guard next to the path. The yellow strip facilitates studies of their behaviour. 25 July 07


Pastures were cleared of stones by hand at great effort: here right the way up to the base of scree slopes. 25 July 07


Each house in Prapic had its own fountain, used for drinking and washing. Often the mouths were in the form of dolphins, wolves and bears. 25 July 07

veg garden

This house tucked below the cliff has a thriving vegetable garden. 25 July 07

reine des alpes

The 'reine des alpes' used to be so widespread that some hillsides were spread with patches of blue. Unfortunately, when dried, its blue colour remains, so it has been picked almost to extinction. 25 July 07


Traditional features remain in this house, including a first floor barn, with access by cart. 25 July 07


Below the Aiguille, the river Drac wends its way past fields. 23 July 07

bad hair day plant

Having a bad hair day ? Well, it could be worse; look at this! 23 July 07

money spider

The legs of this beautiful money spider span the width of my palm. 23 July 07


Peasants lined their clogs with Verbascum leaves in Winter to keep their feet warm, and the thick stems, when dried and soaked in pork fat or other grease were used as tapers. 23 July 07

gite dormitory

Bunk beds in a gite; a nice thick foam mattress is very welcome after camping. 21 July 07

up to souliers

The pretty little valley of Souliers. 21 July 07

ingenious sundial

The round window in the gable wall of this chapel is a sundial. 21 July 07

lac de souliers

The little lac de Souliers. 21 July 07


The civilised way to wander around mountains ! 21 July 07

casse deserte

The Casse Deserte, a huge scree slope, crossed by a road, and also by a hundred or so Tour de France cyclists. 21 July 07

rattlesnake gulch

Below the Casse Deserte, it felt like rattlesnake gulch; harsh and mineral, heat vibrating from the cliffs. 21 July 07

converted barn

Families lived in 3 storey houses in the Queyras, the gable ends of the top two storeys open to the winds to dry grain and hay. This house has been carefully converted using the original framework. 20 July 07

with friends

With friends Ivan and Sue Godfrey, and Pete, walking the GR5 for charity: My stuff, including sleeping bag, thermarest and tent outer fits in the 30L grey daypack with room to spare. 20 July 07

little girl with donkey

This family are on holiday with a donkey carrying their belongings. The children enjoy caring for the donkey. 20 July 07

chateau queyras

Chateau Queyras, perched on a rock outcrop, guards the entrance to the Queyras. 20 July 07

raft and via ferrata

White water rafting on the river Guil, and via ferrata above the gorge. 20 July 07

toothy ridge

Strange toothy limestone pinnacles on the ridge above Arvieux. 19 July 07

sheep tracks

Sheep tracks in the scree form a pleasing abstract. 19 July 07

Crete de Croseras

The impressive crete de Croseras reminded me of the Dolomites. 19 July 07

snow cave

The inside of a snow cave, cool on a hot day, and wet, standing in a stream, and with rivulets falling from the ceiling. 17 July 07

wee beasty

This beasty is as long as my index finger. Concentrating on laying eggs with her black ovipositor, she was quite oblivious of my camera. 17 July 07

cascade de confolens

The spectacular cascade de Confolens leaps into the gorge. 17 July 07


An old butterfly killed by recent snows, still hanging onto a flower head, desperate for nectar and warmth. 16 July 07

Lac Gary and the Olan

I liked the symmetry of this view, showing the Lac Gary and the Olan; the sky rapidly covering as a depression moves in. 16 July 07


These little butterflies have a patch of clear cyan blue on the top of their wings ... 15 July 07


... and this one opens and closes its wings gently while sipping nectar. 15 July 07

mares with foals

A fine group of mares with foals. Seeing horses roaming free reminded me of the Pyrenees. 15 July 07


The Grand Taillefer, centre and Petit Taillefer, right. 14 July 07

little lakes

The little lakes near the lac Fourchu, in beautifully clear conditions. 14 July 07


These dudes breezed past me on the climb, despite my having six months walking in my legs. Oh well, at least they didn't run past! 14 July 07

mont blanc

The great white snow dome of Mont Blanc, 75 miles away. On the left, the chaine de Belledonne. 14 July 07


Mountains of the Ecrins, from the summit of the Taillefer. 14 July 07

view from the col

The lakes, seen from the col. This gives some idea of the steepness. 14 July 07

the four communale and les siauds

With friendly walkers from Lyons. This is the communal bread oven at Les Siauds, where villagers would bake their loaves. 13 July 07

aliens have landed

Help, Aliens are stealing my hat! Grasshoppers warming themselves on its dark surface. 13 July 07


Young 'Patou' or Pyrennean sheepdog, who protects the herd from wolves. The electric fence in foreground keeps sheep in, but wouldn't keep wolves out, as they have a triple coat. 13 July 07

la chalp

French mountain villages, such as La Chalp, here, are tightly packed to use as little precious pasture as possible. 13 July 07

view up valley

A day of water, usually falling steeply ! 12 July 07

sommet des clottous

Astonishing twisting of the slate strata on the Sommet des Clottous. 12 July 07

cabane du pre de la vache

I met the shepherd who stays in this hut. He sleeps on the floor which is cooler, while his dog sleeps on the bed. 12 July 07

The outflow of the lac du vallon

The outflow of the lac du vallon pours over a rocky sill. 12 July 07

the lac du vallon

The lac du Vallon often carries ice late into July. 12 July 07

waterfall closeup

More water tumbling down the long rock terraces. 12 July 07


Butterflies float over the path, and are a constant delight. 11 July 07

towards the snow

A long and joyful day ahead, climbing to the snowline. 11 July 07


Beautiful orchids, with intricate little flowers. 11 July 07


These chamois had been licking mineral salts lower down. They were still here a few days later. 11 July 07

long waterfall

Water courses down rock strata tilted to the angle of the slope, falling 180m. Kayaks anyone ?! 11 July 07

snow on the pass

Last nights snow on the pass. 11 July 07

lac de plan Vianney

The lake de plan Vianney on the other side, deep, dark and green. 11 July 07

col du paletas

The Col du Paletas is, err, airy. 11 July 07

sommet des clottous

Twisted, tortured slate below the Sommet des Clottous. 11 July 07

pic des souffles

Pic des Souffles emerges from cloud above the narrow glacial valley. 10 July 07

ice spaghetti

Trail magic! frozen spray forms shapes like spaghetti. 10 July 07

first col

Navigating by altimeter and compass, I had to wait for a break in the cloud to find the first col. 10 July 07

Aiguilles des Arias

High on the ridge above, the Aiguilles des Arias (3402m) briefly show their faces. 10 July 07

ex glacier

The imprint (bottom right) of the tongue of the glacier of Font Turbat, sadly all melted away. 10 July 07

fresh snow

Fresh snow in July, from inside the refuge! 10 July 07

olan north face

The north face of the Olan (3564m). 10 July 07


Aiguilles emerge from the gloom, on the ridge below Pointe Swan (3294m). 10 July 07

cross in memory

In memory of Charles Buisson, a local guide who fell from Pic des Souffles in 1929. Mountains do not pardon. 10 July 07

clouds dispersing

Clouds dispersing on the wind, like a scene from a Chinese painting. 9 July 07


Legend has it that a monk, sleeping off a bottle or two in a meadow of campanulas, heard celestial music issuing from their trumpets, giving him the idea of casting bells in the shape of a campanula ... Hmm !. 9 July 07

caged rock

Some rocks have to be fenced in to stop them from moving around. 9 July 07

pink flower

How beautiful flowers are covered with raindrops. 9 July 07


Pinnacles emerge from cloud above the second terrace. 9 July 07


Downwind and uphill of a chamois that hadn't noticed me. 9 July 07

tete de rame

A fine view of cloud from the summit ... 9 July 07


As long as my index finger, this grasshopper is warming himself on a car bonnet. 9 July 07

head of the valley

Big view up towards the head of the Valjouffrey. 8 July 07


A splash of colour: surely and escapee from a garden?. 8 July 07


Looking south west over the Lac du Sautet to the cliffs of the Devoluy. 8 July 07


Sometimes four dramatically cloured Zygaena crowd on a bloom. 8 July 07

stable door

Farmers are experts at "making do". Leaving us such treasures as this much mended stable door. 8 July 07


A refreshing waterfall on the way up to the refuge, with the Olan on the skyline. 7 July 07

pic de mal

A long view up the valley opposite to the Pic de Mal Cros (3116m). 7 July 07


The path leaves the cirque below the Olan via the "pas de L'Olan', a col in the side ridge.... 7 July 07


...and continues below Pic Turbat (3028m). The col is visible in the centre. 7 July 07

pic des souffles

The Lac Lautier is a popular destination, tucked away beneath the col. 7 July 07

cirque des souffles

The huge south cirque of teh Pic des Souffles. 7 July 07


Mt Globerney (3352m) towers above the valley. For scale, a tiny red dot on the zigzag is a walker. 6 July 07


The Martagon lily grows in awkward places. For this picture I jammed my leg in a cleft and leaned out.... 6 July 07


The Sirac (3441m) is visible from many of the higher mountains of the Southern Ecrins. 6 July 07

wild flowers

The Aupillous (3505m) looks down on a wild flower meadow. 6 July 07


Like a postcard, a balcony covered in azaleas at the end of the valley contrast with the Sirac (3441m). 6 July 07

glacial grooving

The glacier here ground away at it's side walls, leaving distinctive horizontal grooves. It must have been at least 20m deep. 6 July 07

le voile

The "veil of the bride" owes it's name to the spray blowing in plumes below the outfall. 6 July 07

see neighbours

For the sports shop, pleased see the newsagent... 6 July 07

see nextdoor

..and for the newsagent, please see the sports shop!. 6 July 07

ants nest

Enormous wood ants nest: walking poles for size!. 5 July 07

lac petarel

Clouds clear from Lake Petarel. 5 July 07


Weasel hunting for birds eggs in the scree, angrily pursued by birds. 5 July 07

lac de sebeyras

Pic Petarel towers above the Sebeyras lakes. 5 July 07

birds nest

A bird chose to build it's nest bang next to the path. 5 July 07

gaze butterflies

More than 40 "Gaze" butterflies at a salt lick. 5 July 07

pic de L'Homme

The Pic de L'Homme and the Crete des Cuches, seen from the Tete du Luazarot. 4 July 07


Butterfly resting, waiting for some warmth. 4 July 07

shepherds cabin

Spartan accomodation in the shepherds cabin. 4 July 07

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