Two hundred and fifty metres from the house, and thirty three metres below, is the small river, Le Peyrencou. Looking up its valley on a clear day we can see La Montagne Noire above Revel. Is it called the ‘Black Mountain’ because when seen, at least from the north, its silhouette always seems black, or is there some other reason?
Julie and I found La Selve after a walking holiday in the Pyrénées, and we had visions of regular trips to the Pyrénées, but La Montagne Noire is much closer, and dogs are not permitted in the Parc national des Pyrénées.
St Ferréol is just a few minutes’ drive above Revel. We often go there with students for a walk around the lake, which includes a most informative talk by Julie about the history of the lake, which is a reservoir for the Canal du Midi. In the summer it also may include a picnic at a carefully chosen site; there is a good view of the lake, but it is well away from other visitors who may be speaking French, which would spoil the ‘immersion’. Unfortunately, we cannot go there in spring; the lake is surrounded by pine trees, and if you look up, you will see the nests of Chenille Processionnaire, deadly for dogs and people alike.
Higher up the mountain, not far from Saissac, is the Bassin du Lampy Neuf, and we go here perhaps more than St Ferréol. Occasionally we walk around the lake, but more often it is the start point for a walk. Sometimes we walk along the Rigole de La Montagne Noire, along which water flows down to St Ferréol.
More often we walk away from the lake, through the beautiful woods which surround the area. It is a popular area, and even in winter there are usually other people at the lake, but in August it is very popular, too popular, and we avoid it, but there are plenty of other, quieter places to go.