Posted on 29th January 2014.

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Happy New Year and best wishes for 2014
After festive season indulgences, thoughts often turn to activity holidays. Why not start 2014 with some great winter getaways?

Firstly: snowshoeing and here’s five good reasons to try it:
It’s easy. No special training is required; snowshoes are stable in the snow so walking in a variety of terrains is simple.
1. If you love walking, you can snowshoe too.
2. Being outdoors in winter. The fresh mountain air, stunning scenery, crisp sunny days and being away from crowds is both energising and uplifting.
3. It’s a great fitness option. If you’re training for cycling, a triathlons or marathon etc, snowshoeing is excellent conditioning for most types of athletes. The added resistance of snowshoes and use of poles improves cardiovascular and endurance fitness levels as well as upper body strength.
4. Burn a lot of calories. Snowshoeing can burn up to 1,000 calories per hour - twice as many as walking at the same speed.
5. Most importantly, it’s fun.

What are you waiting for? Book now for any of the following trips:
Long Weekend - Ax les Thermes, 19 - 23 February 2014 Only 3 places left
Ideal location for some fantastic snowshoeing in the French Pyrénées, with spectacular views of the Andorra and Spanish borders. There is a mix of valley and purpose-built trails plus other walks in rolling mountain terrain.

Other dates include a week-long trip, 23 February - 1 March, which allows for a greater variety of trails and a free day to discover more of the surrounding area. Plus another long weekend, 4 - 8 April.

Snowshoe Hut-to-Hut in the Spanish Pyrénées, 11 - 15 April 2014 Only 1 place left
This is a true wilderness snowshoe trip in the beautiful Parc Nacional d’Aiguestortes; its many lakes, frozen in winter, creating amazing landscapes amongst the surrounding granite summits. We stay in comfortable huts with good food and a convivial atmosphere with other snowshoers and ski-tourers. The last night is in the pretty French Pyrénean ski/spa town of Bagnères de Luchon to enjoy the thermal baths and the winter night-life in the cafes and bars.

Secondly: winter cycling in Languedoc-Roussillon, France
Enjoy a winter break by discovering this superb region by road bike. It’s a fantastic winter cycling location; usually cool but with clear, sunny days and little wind. Also, there’s longer daylight than in the UK, enabling some good distance rides on wonderfully smooth roads with little traffic in the mountains or along the Mediterranean. We can provide full back-up support if required. This is definitely a great place to get good training done before summer cycling trips.

Thirdly: book ahead for some great Spring walks in France:
Les Cévennes - unspoiled and largely undiscovered, this national park received UNESCO World Heritage status in 2011. An area of rugged mountains, deep valleys and open grassland steeped in ancient history. We walk parts of the Robert Louis Stevenson route, written about in
“Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes”, telling of his adventures 130 years ago with the obstreperous Modestine. Our guided walk (17 - 24 May) is amongst an array of wild spring flowers, 1000 year-old chestnut trees and little to disturb the peace but the distant sound of sheep bells.

Eastern Pyrénées (alpine spring flowers) - a great spring walk in the Pyrénean mountains taking in Mt Canigou and Carlit. This week of superb walking on the French/Spanish border also includes walks with breathtaking views of the Mediterranean coast and a chance to sample some superb Catalan cuisine.

Plus: self-guided cycling or walking - based in Gîte Magnolia
If you want to do your own cycling or walking, our two-bedroom, self-catering gîte sleeps up to four people. Safe, secure storage and good maintenance area for bikes. We can provide detailed routes, suggest places of interest, restaurants, café‘s, history etc, all of which can be discovered at your own pace. For more details and rates, please email us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).