Reserve Naturelle Du Neouvielle/Lac d’Oredon/Lac de Cap Long/Lac de l’Oule

Not really knowing the area, we have a loose plan of heading over towards Biarritz, but as that’s a good five-hour drive from our current location we wanted to break it up and find some spots in between. From the recent success of Puivert and its swimming lake we decided to pick out some lakes on the map and head there. Just picking random locations on a map can be fairly costly in petrol money if you get it wrong, but on this occasion, we lucked out.

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If you’re into hiking or areas of outstanding natural beauty this place is a must. It’s a road that will lead you, literally, to the top of a mountain. It’s pretty heavy going on the clutch, but I got a pikey Transit up there, so no excuses. Every turn is almost breath taking, and when you reach the first lake you will be in awe of what is in front of you. Keep going up to the very top and you will reach the Lac de Cap Long. To our amazement there was a bar/restaurant up there, so first things first I ordered a cold pint and while the owner sat on the wall outside and played her accordion, we paused to try and take in where we were sitting.

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There’s plenty of room for Campers up here, with a viewpoint parking area, and a designated camper park up surrounding the lake. Almost mid-summer and we’re parked next to Ice, filling up our water tanks direct from the fresh mountain supply and needing to dig out the trusty cable knit jumper. We spent the night up there, and awoke to another scorcher of a day. We had what can only be described as the snobbiest breakfast, Earl grey made with fresh glacial water, and Weetabix.

After breakfast, we planned a little hike around one of the lakes, so we dropped down to the first lake, only to find everyone cramming cars on to the narrow roads leading up to a large empty pay and display carpark. At the top of a mountain? I was a little outraged, and had a good old man grumble for the next 30 minutes as we drove off in protest. A little further down is a good parking area complete with a composting toilet, that you can share with a little green lizard. This was the starting point for a few hiking trails, which catered for all abilities. We opted for the three-hour round trip to the Lac de l’Oule. Without doubt this has to be one of the most stunning walks I’ve ever taken. Crystal clear waters and mountainous views, with a good work out on the legs.

 

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We met a young Ukrainian/Swiss family on the way back that were doing a similar trip to ourselves, they had just come back from driving around Spain, and were heading back along the south and up through Switzerland. It’s inspiring to meet people from a completely different background and upbringing that are on the same wavelength, that also needed to break free and live a simpler life for a bit. This gave me a little conformation that I’m not just having an early midlife crisis, and I’m on the right path.

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