Posts Tagged ‘Senda Pirenaica’

Footprints on the mountains… the news from the Pyrenees

Monday, May 2nd, 2016
Footprints on the mountains... the news from the Pyrenees

Footprints on the mountains… the news from the Pyrenees

My new book on the Pyrenees and walking

From the back cover: The Pyrenees are by turns beautifully natural and bleakly austere; shaped by centuries of labour… and scarred by human suffering. In the valleys, Steve talks to locals and meets an eccentric cast of hikers. But on the heights he is alone with marmottes and sarrios. He listens to protagonists on both sides of the argument over the reintroduction of bears. And goes searching for ibex imported as part of a rewilding programme.

Sario (Spanish) or isard (French), a common sight in the Pyrenees

Sario (Spanish) or isard (French), a common sight in the Pyrenees

 

My new book on the Pyrenees is about to be published. This time I’ve been walking on the Senda Pirenaica, the GR11.

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GR10 and GR11: Joining up the dots

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016
Paths linking the GR10 and GR11

Paths linking the GR10 and GR11

In case of bad weather, for variety, to see if the grass is greener on the other side… the passes over the Pyrenees provide many opportunities for those who are looking for something different. See my page on Crossing the Pyrenees on laSenda.net.

Spanish GR11

Thursday, January 14th, 2016
Above Zuriza on the GR11

Above Zuriza on the GR11

Running about 30km to the south of the Pyrenean Way, the Spanish GR11 (Senda Pirenaica), is an alternative way of tackling the Pyrenees. I walked the route over three years and have just finished writing an account: Footprints in the Mountains: Nature and culture in the changing Pyrenees. For more information on the Senda and the book see lasenda.net.

Mountains of Freedom – a four-day circular trek in the Pyrenees (Ariège and Catalonia)

Sunday, August 23rd, 2015
Cascade-d'Ars near to Aulus-les-Bains

Cascade-d’Ars near to Aulus-les-Bains

 

Official site of the Mountains of Freedom walk.

This circular walk in the central Pyrenees takes in rugged high mountain passes, pristine lakes and peaceful farmland. But behind all the beauty lies another story, intimately linked to the history of the 20th century and its refugees. Just like those who cross the Mediterranean today, many failed to arrive at their destination. Today, climbing up to the passes is a pleasure but the interpretive panels tell a different story.

We took four days, staying in staffed hostels each night.

Aulus to Bidous (Gîte de l’Escolan) 5h30

There is a restaurant half way along this section at 1700m, the Chalet de Beauregard; at the end, the gîte d’étape “l’Escolan” run by Pauline and Jean-Charles provides a warm welcome.

 

Gîte de l’Escolan at Bidous

Gîte de l’Escolan at Bidous

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What are the restrictions on dogs in the Pyrenees?

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015
Walking and dogs in national and natural parks

What are the restrictions on dog walking in the Pyrenees?

In general there are few restrictions on dog walking in the Pyrenees, except in National Parks, Natural Parks and Reserves (see below for details). In some of these areas dogs must be kept on a lead; in others they are prohibited. Even when there are no specific rules, dog owners need to be aware that stray dogs are the second most important cause of death for sheep in the Pyrenees (after sickness). A shepherd has the right to kill any dog which menaces his flock.

The only dogs which are allowed to roam freely are the patous, specially trained sheep guard dogs. If your dog approaches a flock guarded by a patou it will attack.

Patou des Pyrénées

Patous are the only dogs which can be left alone with sheep

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Why are long-distance trail blazes in Europe red and white?

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014
A red-and-white waymark like this indicates that you are heading in the right direction. Photo taken on the French GR10, the Pyrenean Way, near to la Rhune

A red-and-white waymark like this indicates that you are heading in the right direction. Photo taken on the French GR10, the Pyrenean Way, near to la Rhune

 

The first explanation I heard was that the waymarks are based on symbols used on the Way of Saint James. The pilgrims used chalk for the white upper stripe and blood for the red lower one. In their minds this symbolised the clouds above – the heaven at the end of the pilgrimage – and the bloody feet – the suffering – involved in getting there.

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Walking the Pyrenees: the French GR 10 or the Spanish GR 11?

Friday, September 5th, 2014
GR11: flowering pastures above Estos; in the background the Maladeta massif

GR11: flowering pastures above Estos; in the background the Maladeta massifmassif de la Maladeta

 

I’ve now walked the Pyrenees from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean twice. First on the north side, then on the south. Having written about the first trek (If You Only Walk Long Enough: Exploring the Pyrenees), I’m trying to put my thoughts together for my book on the southern option, the GR 11. [Update 2016. Book now published as Footprints on the Mountains: The News from the Pyrenees]

So what are the differences for a walker between the GR10 and the GR11?

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map of GR10

 
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