One of the things I really enjoy is the sheer unadulterated pleasure of being almost completely isolated, planted firmly in the middle of fantastic scenery, the sound of nature all around me. Add to that a dose of perfect autumn weather and I am happy. It sounds selfish, but when I get moments like this I really get a wee bit grumpy if there are other people about. Fortunately I encountered only a handful of people on my travels in the truly beautiful Aspe Valley. This valley forms one of the through routes to and from Spain via the Col du Somport, but before that there are some historic and beautiful mountain villages.
One of the well-visited villages is Lescun, a typical village of the region, still very untouched by tourism, despite it being in one of the most celebrated positions in the area.
Sitting at about 900m it is in a cirque, a natural ampitheatre of mountains.
Cirque de Lescun
I had been told that I should take the dirt track a little way along from the village to Le Plateau Sanchèse, an easy hike and one offering the most spectacular views. I have to say it was one of the best bits of advice I was given. It was 26c, beautiful sunshine as you can see, and the plateau itself was just a total delight. Cascades, bubbling brooks, mountain streams, cow-bells clanging periodically in the distance, birds of prey sceeching from the peaks as they circled above. This was nearer to heaven than I could ever have felt when I visited Lourdes!
Le plateau Sanchèse
After all the fresh air I was, (as always), ready for lunch. It was only by chance that I came upon a superb little restaurant in the village of Etsaut. True to form, the daily meal on offer (no choice), was cheap, wholesome and with 3-courses, wine included for 12.50 Euros, what is there not to like?
Suitably stuffed, I continued my way through the valley and took the turn off to the Col du Somport. There is a route (toll) through the mountains via the Somport tunnel, but where’s the fun in that, especially with empty roads, the russets and bronzes of autumn, and scenery to die for?
At the summit of the Col du Somport. (1632m)