Fly to Toulouse; transfer to Ax-les-Thermes.
We start our week by exploring the stunning limestone 'plateau' of the Sept Case. Our aim is the Roc of Scaramus (1868m) which offers us outstanding views of the main Pyrenean ridge and down over the plain towards Carcassonne.
We head high today with a drive to the Col of Puymorens (1930m) for some stunning views of the Andorran, French and Spanish mountains. Our walk will be on the high meadows with magnificent panoramic scenery. We may have the opportunityto spot some Mouflon (curly horned sheep), which roam in herds up here.
The Chapel of St Barthelemy was built on its rocky outcrop overlooking the valley of Ax to protect the inhabitants of the village from a plague of cholera. It has since become an important place of pilgrimage and there is a beautiful circular walk from the village of Larnat. The walk has constant views of the Quie de Sinsat, a 1000m high rocky outcrop, where a pair of Lamaguires nest and are often seen.
: Today is a free day to relax or enjoy some optional activities (see below for options).
The Refuge de Rhule is situated on a shelf of rock overlooking the rugged granite peaks that make up the Andorran border. We drive into the heart of the mountains up the Aston valley and walk through the summer grazing pastures to the refuge for a welcome drink.
A fantastic last day is spent around Tarbesou (2364m) and the Etang Noir. This pyramidal shaped peak towers up to the East of Ax and commands outstanding views down towards the Mediterranean over the deeply gorged Cathar country. Starting at the Col de Pailheres (2001m) the peak is in easy reach. Once over the other side we continue along the ridge before dropping down to a series of picture postcard lakes fringed by a carpet of 'mountain rose' and sun baked boulders just begging to be laid on!
Transfer to Toulouse; fly to London.