Walking in the Foret de Saou
Our recent mini break wasn't all about glamping it up in a posh tent for the weekend....we were keen to get out every day and enjoy what the spectacular Dromoise countryside has to offer.
On day one it was decided that Rudy and Tim would cycle to a pre-arranged meeting point, and I would follow on with the younger boys in the van for a picnic and a walk in the Foret de Saou. The village of Saou is outstanding not just for its location amidst towering rock formations, but also for its traditional architecture, houses are built typically from the local limestone. It has always been a favourite place for us to visit, if only to sit with an ice cream and marvel at its beauty and charm.
The forest that surrounds the village is popular for hiking tourism; the geography of the land, flora and fauna is an interesting and stunning mix of Provence- meets- the- Alps. Keen bird watchers also flock (!) to the area for a glimpse of the Golden Eagle.
Family reunited, and bikes put back on the van, we thought we'd head off into the forest with our picnic, on one of the many network of trails that lead off into the distant hills. We still use our amazing Mountain Buggy when setting off for longer walks - not only is the Littlest Trekker still more than happy to ride in it when his legs tire, it also makes a great picnic carrier!
We always find that the more the boys are informed about a walk we are embarking on - the more interested they become. They love maps as much as we do - teaching a child to map read is valuable in so many ways, not least because it gives them a sense of purpose rather than just trailing along behind the adults.
Likewise, getting your child to prepare his or her own backpack before you set off is a great idea. a pair of binoculars, a book on wild beasties or bugs, a jar for collecting and identifying said beasties or bugs..... A friend of ours recently introduced us to the 'i-spy' books, of which there are many titles to choose from, our first being 'i-spy In the Country'. The book has dozens of pictures of things to find, with a tick box next to each. They are of course brilliant on a walk to keep children motivated - anything to get them up a hill!
We've recently allowed the older boys to have their first penknives, after much consideration they used their pocket money to buy a simplified Swiss Army -style knife with all the gadgets needed both for fishing and hiking trips. They both sit happily whittling away sticks or cutting down stray brambles.
Our hike through the forest took us through varying terrain; past rivers, steep rock faces, limestone cliffs and lavender fields. About halfway we noticed the wind had picked up considerably than when we had set off from the village. We picnicked in a clearing to the side of the trail when legs and stomachs couldn't go on, and was possibly one of the windiest picnics we've ever had. Quickly, (and not without a struggle!), we all had to pull on windproof and waterproofs, hanging on for dear life to our baguettes such was the force of the wind. It was also possibly the quickest picnic we've ever eaten; an endurance test more than anything!
Hastily we packed up and headed back down the valley to escape the wind and called it a day on that hike. Littlest Trekker fell asleep in his buggy with his binoculars still in hand, and the older boys happily collapsed into the van. Then back to our safari tent for hot tea and the important business of planning day two....
About the Author
About Me & Mine
Nikki and Tim Siggs, and the three 'Sigglets'; Rudy (11), Jensen (8), Theodor (2.5) and a Jack Russell called Tofu. Four years ago we swapped the rolling fields of Hampshire for the dramatic peaks of the French Alps to pursue a long held dream .... so far the adventure has exceeded all these dreams.
Favourite place in the world:
So hard to choose an all time favourite! As a family we have been holidaying in 'La Drome', (the bit of France sandwiched between the Alps and Provence) for ten years now; a beautiful, less well known and consequently unspoilt region, we have come back year after year to set up camp amidst the truffle oaks and rivers. But we are still busy discovering our adopted home in the Oisans Valley. A definite favourite is hiking up through the Sarenne Gorge to the plateau where the boys can paddle in the (icy cold!) river and we can picnic on the grassy tufts, keeping an eye out for the elusive Marmottes!
Favourite things to do outdoors:
The older boys belong to the local ski club so the winters are all about being on the mountain ... in the summer you can find us biking, hiking, picnicking and walking - until it gets too hot (and it does get REALLY hot here) where we seek out the blissfully cool waters of the Veneon river for hours of dam building and feet paddling.