Saturday, 11 October 2008


Well, I am well and truly back in Newcastle and desperately trying to get all of my photos on to my flickr site, so please keep popping back to look. There are well over 2,000 images so I am going to edit them to the top 50 and then do a flickr souvenir book with an unlimted edition for whoever wants one (no elitism from me my friends!)

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

After the GR11...

I am heading down to Barcelona for a few days for some r&r.

I fly back to Newcastle on Wednesday 23rd July.

After encountering snow, ice, hail, fog, mist, wind and rain we now have blue skies and temperatures in the 30s - which is nice but not with 12kg on your back climbing up 1000m! Anyone considering walking in Catalunya during August will have to look at how to keep cool. We were getting up at 5.30 to start walking by 6 as the sun came up. Walking after 2pm is difficult and the storms start around 3pm. By storms I mean BIG STORMS - thunder, lightening and heavy rain. Not the ideal weather for camping!

Anyway. I will put more detailed info on the site when I get some time in the near future.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Cap de Creus! Monday 14th July

We made it! Apologies for the lack of news between Andorra and the Mediterranean but the internet is few and far between in the mountains.

BUT WE HAVE FINISHED THE WALK. On Monday we finished the last stretch between Port de la Selva and Cap de Creus. A quiet and remote part of the coast with clear blue skies and a nice sea breeze. A day of mixed emotions and not actually believing that we have walked from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean through the mountains....

Friends of Sara and Sandy´s - Cecile and Lorenzo - drove down from Perpinya to give us a great welcome (complete with tape and a Welcome sign) and Sandy´s parents arrived just as we were crossing the line!

We celebrated by washing our clothes and drinking quite a bit of cava.

Monday, 30 June 2008

Somewhere in Andorra, Monday 30th June

We have made it across the border from the Vall de Ferrera into Andorra. The walk was fantastic and we climbed to about 2,740m through water meadows, forests, over rocks, past floating ice in the lakes, snow fields and fording rivers. The weather was kind to us and we had perfect conditions.

The views were amazing so watch out for our photos soon!

This is my first time in Andorra. Beautiful mountains, shame about the towns. Its a pity what commercialism does. It´s the first time we have seen traffic jams for over 500kms! Good GR11 path markings though - and plenty of bridges across rivers which keeps our feet dry!

Tomorrow we head back across the border into Catalunya... hurrah.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Tuesday 24th June, La Guingueta

We are back on course and back on the GR11! We came back over to the south side of the Pyrenees and had a couple of days up in the Aiguestortes (´Twisted Waters´) National Park staying in the Refugi Amitges (a really good Pyrenean mountain refuge) surrounded by glacial lakes - some of which are still frozen - snow capped peaks, rocks and waterfalls.

Here is a photo to give you some idea of how beautiful this place is and makes all the hard work, bad weather and early mornings worthwhile! Fantastic place, good food and HOT SHOWERS. As it is quite a popular tourist site they even had BRIDGES over the rivers which is a bit of a novelty for us having dry boots. Luxury. As the mid day temperatures are hitting 30 degrees C the snow is melting fast (high river levels).

Our friends Manel and Maria came up for the weekend from Barcelona and have kindly returned with about a third of the baggage we were carrying that we did not need. Now my bag weighs about 10kgs... BIG ´THANK YOU´to Manel and Maria!!

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Sunday 22nd June, Vihela, Vall d¨Aran

Due to snow (actually avalanches) we have made a slight detour to the Vall d Aran on the north side of the range (but still in Spain).

Yesterday we walked from Aneto pueblo up a valley only to find the remnants of an avalanche (ie snow mixed with rock and surrounded by scree) blocking our way. The snow was melting and the rocks rolling down... so again we had to retrace our steps.

There is still quite a lot of snow around above 2200m, with snow in gullies below this (most of which we can negotiate around). So yesterday we did 9 hours walking with an ascent of 1100m only to end up back in Ainso pueblo. Therefore we are having a bit of a break in Viehla.

However, the views are spectacular and the spring flowers amazing. In the past few days we have gone from torrential rain, mist, hail and cold temperatures to mid day temperatures of 30degrees C. In spring we have problems with snow but in summer it must be so hot to walk.

Anyway, on eastwards. We are now in Catalunya...

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Wednesday 18th June, Escalona, Aragon

Hello! Today is the first day since Elisondo that we have had access to the internet, so we can update you on our progress.

After three weeks on the path we finally have a very warm, sunny day! We have been up in the high mountains (up to about 2,500m) and there is still a lot of snow around and the weather has been very changable (with more than enough rain). We made it through the Ordessa canyon and up to the Goriz refugio overnight and then accross to the Collado de Anisclo. However, despite traversing quite a few tricky snowfields, fording rivers, climbing a few crags and getting hit by a heavy hail shower, we could not get past a large snow cornice on the top of the pass - so we retracked our steps and headed down the Anisclo canyon. The canyon is absolutely amazing - waterfalls and rapids and a very precipitous track along the cliff edge! This went on for quite a while and involved hanging on to steel chains above long, long drops to the river below. This was the easy part... then we had to climb over a few rock falls, damaged bridges, ford more streams that didnt have bridges (you get the idea). By this time it was getting dark and we were still in the canyon - we didnt fancy walking along precipitous cliffs with rockfalls in the dark so we set up camp on the only piece of flat ground between some large boulders and cooked some pasta and went to sleep. We were so wet, exhausted and tired that we all slept in the same tent to keep warm. Pictures will be posted asap!

The next day we were up early (as camping is not allowed in the National Park) and set off walking again... more canyons, landslides, waterfalls, water, mud, rocks etc, etc. for a few more kms until we reached Puyarruego - a lovely small hill top village which has a CAMPSITE!!! We quickly made ourselves at home in their outdoor restaurant - drying our boots and eating their menu del dia. We also found that they have BUNGALOWS so we booked ourselves in and did our LAUNDRY and lay down!