Tour Details

Dates:13th of Jul - 20th of Jul 2024
Availability:7Guaranteed departure
Group Size:Minimum 2, maximum 10
Grading:Moderate to hard
PricesFull price: £1,495.00 / person Single room supplement: £175.00 / person Deposit: £150.00 / person
Price includes: Accommodation, all meals, ground transportation, services of your guides, and a holiday report
Not included: International travel, drinks and other personal items, holiday insurance

Tour Highlights

  • A feast of rare, range-restricted Erebia ringlet species
  • Exploring a UNESCO Heritage recognised wild, montane environment
  • A donation will be made to the European Butterfly Group, supporting proactive research and conservation.

Tour Description

The Hautes Pyrénées, as the name suggests, includes the highest peaks of this entire range, with several exceeding 3,000m. It is undoubtedly one of the most dramatic and beautiful mountain environments in the whole of Europe with breathtaking scenery and an enviable array of flora and fauna which live in this montane paradise.

This tour will be aimed at seeking out the most notable butterflies that call this environment home, with a particular emphasis on five of the Erebia mountain ringlets, namely the endemic False Dewy Ringlet Erebia sthennyo, Gavarnie Ringlet Erebia gorgone, and Pyrenean Brassy Ringlet Erebia rondoui. In addition, further targets are Lefebvre’s Ringlet Erebia lefebvrei, and the constans form of Yellow-Spotted Ringlet Erebia manto.

Of course, there will be other desirable butterflies on the wing. We will search for Gavarnie Blue Agriades pyrenaicus, Large Chequered Skipper Heteropterus morpheus, Apollo Parnassius apollo, Glandon Blue Agriades glandon, Shepherd’s Fritillary Boloria pales, and, if the season is sufficiently early, Water Ringlet Erebia pronoe.

To maximise the potential for seeing the above species, this tour will be a two-centred one, with the first part spent in the Vallée de la Neste, taking in the surrounding mountain massif.

The second part will be based in the town of Argèles Gazost, to give the opportunity to visit rich areas nearby such as Col des Tentes, the Vallé d’Ossoue and the Cirque de Troumouse, a World Heritage site.

The nature of the main target butterflies essentially means that much of the tour will be spent at altitude, although there will be opportunities to explore lower elevation sites to acquaint ourselves with the wide variety of additional species that can be found there.

As a consequence, we recommend this tour for those with good mobility and a fair degree of stamina, as there will be occasions where distances of up to two miles will be covered, with a fair degree of gradient and rocky terrain. The group size will be a maximum of ten with two guides.

Tour Leaders

In the past decade David has devoted his life to butterflies - sharing them with guests, but also working proactively on the committee of the European Butterfly Group, and (until recently) as an identification consultant on the UK Butterflies website.

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Jon is a natural history writer, photographer and experienced wildlife tour leader based in the Shetland Isles, but with strong links in Europe and the Americas that see him travelling widely in search of memorable wildlife encounters.

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Tour Location


Tour Itinerary

  • DAY 1

Meet at Toulouse airport*, and transfer to Bielsa.

Stop en route to Bielsa near Lannemezan for Map and possible Large Chequered Skipper.

  • DAY 2

Area around Néouvielle

For False Dewy, Lefebvre’s, Bright-eyed, Mountain and Pyrenean Brassy Ringlets.

  • DAY 3

Spanish side of the range, near Boltana

Searching for species not seen on the French side, such as Spanish Gatekeeper, Spanish Purple Hairstreak, Cleopatra and possible Catalonian Furry Blue

  • DAY 4

Transit Day via Col du Tourmalet

For Gavarnie and Pyrenean Brassy Ringlet, possible Lefebvre’s Ringlet and Shepherd’s Fritillary. Arrive in Argeles-sur-Gazost

  • DAY 5

Vallé d’Ossoue

For Apollo, Yellow-spotted Ringlet, Glandon Blue, and possible Gavarnie Blue

  • DAY 6

Barrage des Gloriettes

For Gavarnie Blue, Apollo, Scarce Copper, and possible Lefebvre’s Ringlet

  • DAY 7

Lower Tourmalet Valley

For Yellow-spotted Ringlet, possible Water Ringlet and Camberwell Beauty

  • DAY 8

Return to Toulouse airport

where the tour concludes.

As with all of our tours, we want our guests to enjoy the very best views of the very best wildlife and, as such, we think it’s important to retain a little flexibility in the holiday itinerary. This means that we may choose to swap days around to take into account local weather conditions, or the timing of the flight or flowering season we find upon arrival at our holiday destination. Rest assured, we will ensure you visit all the best sites, and we have your best interests and comfort at heart!

*We’ll meet at the airport as this is a convenient travel hub for many. However, we appreciate that some guests may have chosen to come overland via rail to Toulouse. The main railway station in town is Toulouse-Matabiau, and there is a regular (departing every 20 minutes) bus service linking the station with the airport.

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