The Pyrenean Way (GR10)
Cet article est également disponible en: French
Hendaye to Banyuls: from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean
How long is the Pyrenean Way (GR10)? Estimates vary wildly: 700km (435 miles), like walking from London to Edinburgh? Or 866km (538 miles), London to Aberdeen? A few clicks on my computer and the answer is there in black and white: the official start, the casino on the seafront in Hendaye, is 412km 959m (256.6 miles) from the town hall in Banyuls, the official end as the vulture flies. Apart from this nothing is certain. Landslides, unhelpful landowners, and even the FFRP, the French Ramblers’ Association, create diversions, for worse or for better. In addition, in some areas there are several different official routes, never mind the unofficial ones. And walkers add their own flights of fancy …
Some people walk the path in 30 days but for most it will take about 55, walking for an average of 7 hours. For those used to walking in Britain, this will seem slow progress: less than 10 miles a day for 7 hours walking! But walking the Pyrenean Way is not like walking in Britain, unless you are in the habit of climbing from the sea to the summit of Scafell Pike, England’s highest peak, and back, once a day, every day.
There is only one series of guides worth taking with you on the Pyrenean Way. Published by the FFRP, the four books in the Traversée des Pyrénées series (in French) contain all the information you really need and nothing superfluous. They weigh next to nothing and, although I did meet one walker who was tearing out pages as he progressed, I think this was symbolic, rather than an attempt to lighten his load. The guides contain maps at a scale of 1:50,000, estimates of walking time, and particularly useful profiles of the path showing the gradients. Beware, however: they are not always very up-to-date, though some modifications are now noted on the FFRP site (see the catalogue of books for sale, at the bottom of the page relating to each guide).
On this site you will find short extracts from my book If you only walk long enough. For the whole story you can order a copy online from Amazon.