Anti-bear group softens its stance on reintroductions

September 14th, 2017
 
European brown bear

European brown bear (photo: © Francis C. Franklin, Wikipedia)

 

The ASPAP* is no longer demanding that bears be removed from the Pyrenees. The association, set up in January 2006 to protest at the second wave of reintroductions of bears from Slovenia, had been unwavering in its stance. But despite the recent loss of 209 sheep following an attack in the high Ariège it has now has officially changed its stance.

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A new way of walking in the Pyrenees. On the Senda de Camille

August 20th, 2017
 
Lescun with Pic d'Ansabère in the background

Lescun with Pic d’Ansabère in the background

 

Do you prefer walking in a straight line or going round in circles? Until recently most of the long-distance treks in the Pyrenees were linear. The big three, the Pyrenean Way (GR10), the Spanish Senda Pirenaica (GR11) and the Pyrenean Haute Route (HRP), which have been around for over 30 years, all stretch from coast to coast. Then came other trails like the Cathar Trail and the Chemin des Bonshommes. All linear trails, at least in principle.

But if you wanted to walk in circles, ending up where you started, you more-or-less had to plan it yourself. In recent years this has changed. The FFRP (French Ramblers Association) has brought out a guide to circular cross-frontier walks in the eastern Pyrenees (Ariège, Pyrénées-Orientales). And Brian Johnson is working on a guide to circular walks for Cicerone.

But perhaps the most interesting initiatives have come from Spain.

They are all circular walks with nights in staffed hostels. Most importantly they offer central booking facilities. You also get a dedicated map (1:25,000) and a souvenir tee-shirt.

I’ve just come back from walking the Senda de Camille with two friends. It was great!

 

My Senda de Camille. Click to see on Wikiloc

My Senda de Camille. Click to see on Wikiloc

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Zimmer frame takes flight

June 28th, 2017
 
Sportiva Akyra banana boots

Sportiva Akyra banana boots and Black Diamond walking poles

 

For years I disdained walking sticks: they were for pensioners. But with the passing years my attitude has changed. When my knees started clicking and then collapsed under me, something had to be done. I first tried injecting them with Go-On hyaluronic acid which was quite effective. Then I tried losing weight which was even better, though more painful. But finally I had to resign myself to walking sticks. Not just one but two. So there I was, shuffling around on four pins: two shaky legs and two walking sticks. I felt like a Zimmer frame. Soon it would be the real thing. Read the rest of this entry »

Baked Alaska

June 10th, 2017
 
Etang d'Astou

Etang d’Astou

 

7/8 June 2017. A good Baked Alaska should have a frozen centre which melts in the mouth. I’ve just discovered how appropriate this recipe is for a hot day in the Pyrenees.

 

Valier seen from the Cabane de Turguilla

Valier seen from the Cabane de Turguilla

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21 May: Canigou now accessible without crampons

May 21st, 2017
 
Canigou as seen from above Ria, where I was walking today. The snow on the western face is clearly visible, as is the ridge which runs from the Porteille to the summit.

Canigou as seen from above Ria, where I was walking today. The snow on the western face is clearly visible, as is the ridge which runs from the Porteille to the summit.

Information from the Facebook page of the Cortalets Refuge updated by Thomas Dulac, the manager of the refuge, who climbed up to the summit today Sunday 21 May 2017.

From the Cortalets, no snow until you get to the fontaine de la Perdrix but the west side of the peak (Vernet)  is covered in snow. It is possible to climb the ridge which goes  directly from the Porteille to the summit (easy rock climbing) with classic mountain walking boots.

It is also appears to be possible to climb to the summit from the Cortalets via the Barbet, Porteille de Valmanya and the Cheminée, without crampons (not checked).

From Mariailles, no need for crampons (no snow on the Cheminéee).

Pic des Sept Hommes (Canigou massif)

April 20th, 2017
 
Unmanned hut (refuge forestier) at Mariailles

Unmanned hut (refuge forestier) at Mariailles

 

When I stayed at the unmanned Pla Guilhem hostel last year, I said to myself I would come back when the vast plateau was covered in snow. Yesterday I was there again. Read the rest of this entry »

Dog and lamb

April 11th, 2017
 
Jazz, patou by trade, and a very young lamb

Jazz, patou by trade, and a very young lamb

Normally dogs need to be kept away from lambs. But here guard dogs, known as patous, are brought up with the flock. They think of themselves as sheep and will defend the flock from intruders.

Bears and the Pyrenees, the official report for 2016

April 4th, 2017
 
Goiat, released in Catalonia in 2016

Goiat, released in Catalonia in 2016

The DREAL, the government agency responsible for sustainable development, has just published its annual report on the reintroduction of bears in the Pyrenees. As in previous years the main problems are concentrated in Ariège, Haute-Garonne and Hautes-Pyrénées, principally in Ariège. Read the rest of this entry »

GR10 still snowbound

April 3rd, 2017
 

If you are thinking of walking the GR10 at the end of Spring, beware! Yesterday (2 April) 40cm of snow fell on the La-Pierre-St-Martin ski resort and Gourette was only accessible for those with snow chains. This is unusually late so snow will probably persist on the high passes well into June.

Circular walk on Cap Béar

January 8th, 2017
 
Topo de randonnée du Cap Béar

The circuit – 14km, 650m ascent

Port Vendres is at the very end of the Pyrenees. Walkers on the GR10 normally dip their feet in the Mediterranean at Banyuls but Cap Béar just to the north is worth a visit. Read the rest of this entry »

map of GR10

 
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