hink of a mountain refuge and I'm sure the last thing to spring to mind is exceptional gastronomy. However, in one exceptional refuge in the mountains of the Ariege Pyrenees in SW France, gastronomy goes hand in hand with adventure.
The Pyrenees mountains which form the natural border between France and Spain are a hiker's dream. The terrain is rugged and wild and the hiking is challenging. But the reward for your efforts are farreaching vistas of a pristine landscape that remains blissfully unspoilt by mankind. The fact that over 40 brown bears as well as ibex, chamois, bearded vultures and Egyptian vultures have settled in the central Pyrenees is testament to the wildness of this breathtaking area. There are numerous catered refuges dotted throughout the mountains. From June to October, once the snows have receded, the dedicated guardians welcome weary hikers and mountaineers with food and a bed for the night. Staying in a mountain refuge is always a hugely sociable affair. Thereâ€™s one set meal in the evening which is taken at a communal table where you can share tales and discuss your love of the mountains with fellow outdoor enthusiasts. Refuge accommodation is always bunk-room basic and showering facilities may be limited. But when it comes to feeding his hungry hikers, Anoura, the guardian at the refuge dâ€™Araing (Right) in the Ariege Pyrenees, offsets this no frills accommodation with a hospitality and a passion for food and his environment that is quite frankly extraordinary.
Summer Adventures to inspire you to get outside