THE SETTING

I suppose I saw it when it was sunny - god knows what's it's like when it's pissing down!

Arbas sits in the mouth of a valley at the bottom of steep wooded hillsides, rising from the village at 450m to the Cap de Teches at 1580m. That's equivalent to a Scafell Pike covered in trees. Get the picture!

Arbas itself is a pleasant little village with a couple of rambling open 'squares', a few bars and the odd shop, some quanit old barns and some posher houses and holiday apartments. It's also got a paragliding centre with a landing pad in a field just outside the village (Chris, note!)

In the second square the obvious road on continues to the hamlet ofFourgaron, while a turn to the right goes out past the landing pad and starts to rise through the forest. After a few kilometres a junction is reached. Left is the little hamlet of Herran where the local caving club has its hut (no one in when I called). Right at the junction twists around some sharp bends, through an open pasture and up to another hamlet, Laberderque.

Two important routes diverge here, the single track metalled road to the left of the war memorial winding up for five kilometres to a large parking area at the Fontaine de l'Ours. This is the take off point for many of the upper entrances to the system.

To the right of the war memorial in Laberderque and then immediately left gains a half metalled, half rough track which traverses the hillside for a couple of kilometres to a parking place - the take off for walks to Pene Blanque and Pont de Gerbaut.

ACCOMODATION

There is no accomodation or official camping sites in or near Arbas or the other hamlets.
There is a 'Gite de Groupe' in Laberderque which can take up to 40 people but we thought it unsuitable for our needs.
If you're hard and daft enough to spend a fortnight in a forest you can camp wild at the Fontaine de l'Ours.
The preferable option is a good and well facilitated campsite about 15 kilometres from the caves at Mauvezin de Prat on the main road to St.Girons. This is only a half hours drive from the Fontaine de l'Ours and at 60FF a night for two, with hot showers, washing machine and electricity seems an ideal spot. Campsite details are as follows: You will need to write or phone in Frenchas he does not speak much english. Mons Bulf Camping L'Estelas Mauvezin de Prat St Girons Haute Garonne France Tel: 0561 96 65 80 Campsite details are as follows: You will need to write or phone in French as he does not speak much english. Mons Bulf Camping L'Estelas Mauvezin de Prat St Girons Haute Garonne France Tel: 0561 96 65 80Nearby are towns with hotels, hostels and gites for those wanting their creature comforts.

Campsite details are as follows: You will need to write or phone in French

as he does not speak much english.

Mons Bulf

Camping L'Estelas, Mauvezin de Prat

St Girons

Haute Garonne, France

Tel: 0561 96 65 80

The Setting

The Terrain

The Caves

Arbas village, the first 'square'


Looking from Arbas towards Pene Blanque

The Gite Paloumere in Laberderque

Overview | The Setting | The Terrain | The Caves