Martin in Gatineau Park

Martin in Gatineau Park

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Wednesday 19 June 2013 - Pyrenees GR10 - Day 5 - Stage 3 - Ainhoa to Bidarray

Distance: 21 km (Cum: 66 km)      

Ascent: 900 metres (Cum: 2750 metres)
                     
Time taken: 8.0 hrs including 1.75 hrs stops                                     

Weather: forecast rain all day, and we started under light rain, but waterproofs were soon stashed. More rain for an hour or so after lunch dissolved into warm, sunny periods. Heavy rain returned at 5.15, soon after we arrived at gite Aire Zabal, but had abated by beer o'clock.

(The local news headlines seem to highlight a few local weather issues! )

As their gite didn't provide breakfast, David and John, still replete from last night's excellent meal, and smug now that they had been able to dry their wet clothes in the gite's industrial drier, joined us at Chambres d'Hote Ohantzea, where Jean prides himself in being multilingual. 

Breakfast was not exotic, more sort of 'continental', with good coffee. 

Suddenly the atmosphere changed. My companions had noticed yesterday's entry. "Bimbo!" exclaimed one; "It's all lies!" observed another. David came to my rescue as the lynch mob was about to descend, "Actually that pork belly really was the best I've ever had! "

Then Ron arrived and I was able to deflect the rabble into enjoying a 'mock the naive North American' session. 

We set off around 9am and strolled up to Col des Trois Croix, passing at least fourteen crosses and la Chapelle de l'Aubépine on the way.

The beautiful countryside reminded me slightly of mid Wales. Except that in mid Wales you don't usually see gatherings of Griffon Vultures. They are very common hereabouts and we enjoyed their soaring company all day.  When not soaring they perched in nearby trees drying their wings.  

By after 12 noon we'd reached the friendly gite at Ferme Esteben. Just in time for lunch - tasty omelettes all round, apart from Panos, our new Greek friend, who managed to consume an enormous baguette. 

It was here that David again produced a drenched shirt from underneath his waterproof jacket. 

"See how it leaks!" he exclaimed. 

"But it hasn't been raining" replied a chorus of voices.

David's jacket warranted closer inspection. 

"Nylon shell, 100% polyamide" reported Sue, adding "otherwise known as a 'Berghaus Mobile Sauna' jacket." 

Three sniggers emanated from a trio of nearby RAB Drillium jackets.

So David's jacket is waterproof but not breathable. He's wet but not unhappy, as his weight loss plan is clearly working, judging by the amount of fluid being produced from inside this non-breathable jacket. 

After a brief shower, we enjoyed a lovely afternoon on the fine path where the HRP and GR10 routes coincide before reaching Bidarray. 

We followed the border for a while. Sue is pictured above beside a border post, before the long descent to Bidarray that had some interesting steep rocky sections. The vultures were particularly attentive above this part of the walk, where they seemed to be paying particular attention to John.  But I think they we just visiting the area 'on spec' whilst waiting for Ron.

One gite is full; this one (Aire Zabal) is quite busy.  But we have a cosy room for the four of us and we'll no doubt find a suitable restaurant. 

If coming this way, bring some basics - tea bags, coffee, etc, as the gites don't tend to provide them.  Today we had to make do with some discarded cocoa. 

Later: the restaurant was indeed good, and miraculously Ron turned up with Bruno and Christof, the gentlemen from Tours, moreover they were able to reunite me with part of my rucksack lost near Biriatou! 

Sent from our GR10 trip - see here for our itinerary

7 comments:

wuxing said...

Drillium wearers may snigger, but their jackets also have a 100% polyamide (nylon) shell. That's not really the point. Most outdoor jackets are made from nylon. The difference is likely the eVENT membrane on the inside the Drilliums vs whatever coating or laminate is on David's jacket. Or, he might just sweat more. Anyway, hopefully they won't be needed too much in the coming weeks...

Sir Hugh said...

I arrived at Bidarray hot and sweaty after the steep climb to find everything full. The hotel chauffeured me down into the valley to a Logis hotel and I had to walk back up in the morning to rejoin the GR10. Looking at the dates I was there four days earlier than you on 15th June (2003).

Heather T-S said...

Has been lovely and sunny here in old blighty......hope you are having a great time!

Alan Sloman said...

Here in blighty, I have been to TWO pubs this evening. The leak test has been successful.
Thoroughly enjoying your stroll!
Onward!

Phreerunner said...

Thanks for all those comments. It's especially good to hear that Alan has succeeded in a post transplant pub crawl.
Trust a Textile Technologist to upset a trio of Drilliums, who are now in a huff.
Heather, it's greener than Yorkshire here, which is a bit of a give away when it comes to predicting the weather!
Conrad - pre-booking has given us peace of mind, albeit less flexibility, and we do have the prospect of a long hitch hike next week.

Jules said...

Pity the weather has been so dominant, but it looks reaaly good. I've enjoyed following your progress so far.

Booking in advance seems like a good idea - less flexibility, as you say, but at least you are reasonable sure that you have digs lined up at the end of a long, possibly wet, day!

Alan R said...

Its better to have a mixture of weather as i would hate to do a long walk just carrying my waterproofs. It makes for better scenery and increases the aroma of the area.
Sorry Drillium users, it is a nylon face material, probably Austrian too.