Distance: 22 km (Cum: 45 km)
Ascent: 730 metres (Cum: 1850 metres)
Time taken: 7.25 hrs including 1.5 hrs stops
Weather: rain, torrential at times, easing early afternoon before returning later.
Breakfast was at 7am. It had started to throw it down outside.
We left at 8 with John and David, and splodged our way along GR10, which we followed scrupulously all the way to Ainhoa.
As yesterday, the 900 metre summit of La Rhune was hidden from view under a thick tarpaulin of cloud.
David and John (pictured with a passing bimbo) tried to admire the views from below their dribbling visors.
"I'm wet" announced David from above his back to front overtrousers.
"I'm homesick" blurted John from his blood red anorak.
"And me" admitted his bedraggled companion, "but we've started so we'll finish this thing."
John said nothing, and failed to remove a chunk of rock from his boot, in a vain attempt to cripple himself and thereby extricate his worn out body from the clutches of his old friend, who then asserted "failure is not an option".
Later we encountered Ron, from north of Toronto, who has taken five days to get to the end of stage two of GR10. That made John and David feel like supermen and cheered them up no end. Ron is aiming for the Mediterranean. (I had a quiet word with him and suggested he really ought to purchase a map!)
Sue found a leech under the trees near our high point of the day beyond Col des Trois Fontaines. It seemed appropriately 'rain foresty'.
A dilapidated train rumbled past on its way to the summit of La Rhune, very much like the cog railway up Snowdon.
By mid morning we had reached the pretty village of Sare. We dripped for nearly an hour in a friendly café. Sue found some tasty croissants for us to share before stocked up at an epicerie ando headed off again past the usual avenues of plane trees and into the rain.
Lunch was under a farm awning, where a bedraggled group of French walkers seemingly clothed in umbrellas nonchalantly strolled past.
The afternoon passed uneventfully, apart from our encounter with Ron and a rather muddy episode next to a boiling river, and on the approach to Ainhoa we were even able to discard our waterproofs. David tried to jettison his into a nearby skip, but John restrained him, offering those immortal words - "Failure is not an Option."
Sue and I soon settled into our luxurious room at Maison Ohantzea, where Ron pinched the last 'chambre' before David could open his mouth. So he and John sloshed (it was raining again) off to share a crowded dormitory in the gite at Camping Harazpy, which contrary to the information in our guide book is open.
"Fantastic wine" enthused David - the Navarra Piedemonte Gamma 2010 stocked by La Maison Oppoca went down a treat when we reconvened at its Michelin rated restaurant. The wine was matched by the meal, which we all agreed was absolutely delicious. Certainly the best meal out that Sue and I have had since Juniper changed its name to 21212 and moved to Edinburgh.
The belly pork that David and I enjoyed for our mains was 'the best ever', matched by the rest of the meal. If you come this way you shouldn't be disappointed - www.oppoca.com. But if David's there you may have to put up with his bare feet, and sweaty socks drying over a radiator!
Sent from our GR10 trip - see here for our itinerary