on the GR10 above St Étienne de Baïgorry

Five days’ walking from the Atlantic

If you are looking for a walking guide to the GR10 trail in the French Pyrenees, I recommend the FFRP series. Even if you struggle with French, the terms are repeated so often that you’ll soon learn them. More importantly, the guides have 1:50,000 scale IGN maps, and profiles and times for each day. On the other hand, if you want to get a feel for the GR10 before committing yourself, or if you want to discover the Pyrenees in the comfort of your armchair, then If you only walk long enough: exploring the Pyrenees will be of interest. Let’s be clear, it is not a guide book to the GR10 walk. It is my personal experience of trekking from Hendaye to Banyuls. It took me 63 days.

Changing valleys once or even twice a day, the GR10 snakes up minor passes but shuns the highest peaks of the range, passing through countryside which is sometimes rugged, sometimes bucolic, but rarely banal. At the end of the day it makes a detour to sniff out a meal and a bed. -- Steve Cracknell

Second edition of If you only walk long enough: exploring the Pyrenees

A updated edition was published in 2012, now with 30 photos. This edition is avaliable at lulu.com and Amazon. There is also a Kindle version and an ebook.

Les Pyrénées tout en marchant sur le GR10

The French edition was published by Éditions Cairn in March 2012.

Running with the pack

Dog sledding in the Pyrenees

Dog sledding on the plateau de Beille

An extract from my book If You Only Walk Long Enough was featured in the January 2011 edition of theFrenchPaper.

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“Imagine sitting on the comfortable seat of a fairy-tale Christmas sleigh. The nodding reindeer glide across the gentle hills, only the quiet swish of the parting snow disturbing the winter calm. A red-and-white fur coat keeps out the chill.

No. It’s not like that.

Imagine, instead, a top of the range Harley Davidson motorbike. Imagine also – I know that this is will be difficult – that this machine, for which you have paid thousands of pounds, has two major faults. The throttle is permanently stuck down; and the handlebars won’t turn. Oh, and there is no seat either...”

More extracts -- Details and reviews. Buy the book at Amazon.co.uk.

Map of the GR10 walk GR10 Hendaye-Gabas GR10 Gabas-Luchon GR10 Luchon-Mérens GR10 Mérens-Banyuls

Vignemale, glacier d'Ossoue

The Pyrenean Way?

The Pyrenean Way is a footpath running the length of the Pyrenees from Hendaye on the Atlantic coast to Banyuls on the Mediterranean.

In French it is called the GR10 or the Traversée des Pyrenées. The former sounds like some kind of motorway and the latter translates as the ‘Pyrenean Crossing’, suggesting a much shorter walk. Liking neither of them, I call it the Pyrenean Way.

rambling in the French Pyrenees -  a guide

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