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25th January

Visible to anyone in the world

We set off from Trachere at about 10am; I was looking forward to a walk that had signposts, was indicated by a solid red line on the map and no life threatening bits at all. It was remarkably warm, we were walking in t-shirts and yet if you looked up the grassy slope to the ridge you could see the last pylon in the lift system for the ski resort of Saint Lary. The only snow on the pistes now must be machine made.

We passed a palomerie, near the path was a hide camouflaged with dead vegetation and then below it in the valley some of the trees had a system of pulleys and wires with huge weights attached. In September to November huge nets are tied to the wires and somehow used to intercept and trap flocks of pigeons which are eaten locally.

The village we walked to, Eget, had an interesting history. There are only 25 permanent inhabitants left, most of the houses are now second homes, probably belonging to rich Parisians, they were all beautifully restored with slate roofs and there were newly laid cobbled streets and a drainage system through the village. Yet 100 years ago there were 250 inhabitants, a village school, presbytery and remarkably a hot spring where the inhabitants bathed and did their washing. We found the spring just beyond the village, and the walled area where the women would do their washing but the water is no longer hot. maybe that's why the village depopulated.

We were walking along the side of a south facing slope, but because the higher peaks were further south they cast a shadow and  sun didn’t come up until after 10am,  and went down behind the mountains at about 3pm you could see that the villages on the other side of the valley had no sun all day. It must be quite depressing for the locals.

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