A sneaky weekend in Sainte Foy

Luckily for us before the world succumbed to a pandemic and retreated into lockdown we had what turned out to be one of the most amazing powdery weekends of snowy fun when we went to visit friends who have a lovely spot in a village called La Masure just down the hill from the Sainte Foy station ski hill.

We had skied there once before for a weekend in 2019 when there was, at some points, very little snow. to be fair it was the last day of the season.

It’s a fantastic spot. The resort itself has only a handful of lifts but some amazing off-piste and touring adventure possibilities. We didn’t explore it much in 2019 due to the epic melt in progress but had a fun few days .. which included a 3 hour lunch in Sainte Foy and a race to catch the last lift, a more snowy blast in Tignes, which is about an hour drive up the valley and a day of fabulous views and tarte aux framboises in Les Arc, which is accessible via a series of chairs from Villaroger.

The run down from Les Arc back to Villaroger was a bit exciting as the piste was, in places, just a 2m wide strip of snow snaking down the mountain. The glass of Rose part way down helped a lot.

Anyway this year, last weekend of February 2020, was a whole other ballgame. We drove through the night with a couple of like minded friends and arrived to a fresh dump of snow and blues skies and a wonderful breakfast Thanks to our La Masure buddies.

We spend three incredible days in Sainte Foy station and despite the fact it only has 4 lifts we never ran out of entertainment.

Sainte Foy 2020

and here.

Sainte-Foy-1

Day 3 we decided to do a route our hosts think they might have done with a guide before but they didn’t seem entirely sure which involved a big loop round from the Col de l’Aiguille to the historic village of Le Monal without too much human powered up.

A little movie of the adventure is here

And a few of B&Ws with the trusty little Olympus EM5 of Le Monal which was all snow bound and gorgeous.

Great spot for lunch.

Three of us got dropped at GVA to fly home on Sunday, Our Hosts headed back to their UK base a little later that day and my other half headed to Chamonix to finish off what was to be a rather curtailed season.

The mountains are still there though so high hopes for some more adventures here in years to come.

A day of two hills and two cameras

And a major milestone reached

We were supposed to be spending a few days in the French Alps with my morning and evening view being the Dru but we are nothing if not adaptable these days so breakfast in bed then off to Browne’s Folly .. hill one .. then plans for socially isolated birthday party on Solsbury Hill via zoom with a bottle of the most amazing pink bubbles on the planet.

A lovely surprise of delivered flowers from my entire family, masterful organisation skills of sis number 2.

My new acquisition (pre birthday) of preloved Sony A7s mark II did a nice job of capturing these don’t you think.

Bacon and egg butties in bed courtesy of number one fella.

Then off for a wander to test the new toy and exercise the faithful D850 and my fav lens Nikon 135mm F2 Defocus loveliness. I bought it on a whim a couple of years ago and it always amazes me.

Bath is surrounded by hills and out the back window of our house we look across to Browne’s Folly. It’s perched on the hill above Bathford. Apparently was built as a marketing stunt for the stone they used to quarry there by Wade-Browne. There are some interesting remains of the old stone mine, some long buried ordinance casings, a gorgeous woodland and the pointless tower.

If you are feeling brave and have a head for heights you can climb up the unguarded steps inside.

The site is of special Scientific Interest and looked after by Avon wildlife trust https://www.avonwildlifetrust.org.uk/nature-reserves/brownes-folly

Aaah the lovely 135mm F2 ….. but my goodness it’s a heavy combination to lug about.

Made it home via the canal and these fluffy guys

#swanlings
#swanlings

We’ve been checking in on them on and off since these shots were taken. They are much bigger and still all 7 of them. Mum & Dad are doing a great job.

Home in time for a quick cup of tea and some socially distancing visitors armed with birthday gifts then off up hill number 2 for bubbles, Friday night Zoom and Sunset.

It was blowing a gale but the bubbles courtesy of Billecart-Salmon were so delicious and the sunset was a stunner.

Tomorrow we will hang the Dru. It was painted by my incredible niece https://www.instagram.com/shonainatimi_art_/ as it has been occupying the living room floor since December.

Count down to the big 50

Mysterious request from the other half for my top 20 pictures of the Dru.

I think I did well and got it down to 40 but I only went back to 2018.

Here are the top Digital Black & Whites. I think my fave B&W will always be the one taken with the OM20 and lovingly processed by Fez at https://back2blackandwhite.com/about-us

I’ll do a proper scan and share the wonder that it is very soon including the voodoo magic developing map that Fez also produced. He is a wonder.

In the mean time here are the digital lovelies .. 3 from the Olympus EM5 before it decided to have an on off hissy fit and the rest from the glorious Nikon D850. Honestly if it wasn’t such an exercise in fitness to lug the thing about the EM5 wouldn’t get a look in .. plus the D850 is not actually quite mine exactly.

Just sharing the love….

Local Pointy bits on VE Day

Not that pointy or that high but Little Solsbury hill of Peter Gabriel fame was looking lovely covered in buttercups, daisies, clover and dandelion clocks.

Got to stay round the edge at the moment as there are Skylarks nesting.

Fantastic views of Bath and a lovely sunset and a zoom with locked-down friends while we we out for some fresh air and exercise.

enjoying the portal to other worlds … she looks like me 45 years ago.

Some nice shots with the little Olympus EM5. It has decided to stop letting me turn it off or on for that matter. I have to take out the battery. A common bug apparently according to the interweb. I did a firmware update but no change.

Spurred me on to buy myself an early birthday present …. But that’s another story.