Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Sunday 4 August 2013 - Pyrenees GR10 - Day 51 - Stage 40 (part)/41 (part) - just west of Coll de Coma d'Anyell to La Cabanasse

Distance: 31 km (Cum: 766 km)     

Ascent: 630 metres (Cum: 43,940 metres)
                     
Time taken: 9.25 hrs including 1.75 hrs stops                                     

Weather: sunny and hot

I was up early enough to see the man in the orange t-shirt go past, shortly before I left my idyllic spot soon after 8am. He's a nice chap. We lunched together later.  It's just a shame that his English is as bad as my French, so we more or less have to resort to sign language. 

I spent five years being taught French. Mostly learning lists of words. And soon forgetting them.  I seem to have absorbed very little of what I was taught. 

On my campsite wanderings I noticed a small cabin hidden away just below me. Unusually, it had solar panels and appeared to be occupied. I didn't approach more closely for fear of startling the residents. I didn't notice the cabin from the path. 

Anyway, by 8.30am I was up at the col admiring more splendid mountain views. Pic Carlit is dominant here, with seemingly no further barriers to the Mediterranean behind it. 

Snow patches added a bit of spice to the descent towards a large lake, Étang de Lanos, before an easy climb to the second col of the day, Porteille de la Grave (2426 metres). From here there was a long, gentle descent, much like a bouldery version of Glen Avon's route towards Ballater. The mountains to the east looked more distant and sparser than we've been used to. With low cloud on the eastern horizon, it seemed a bit like looking towards the north sea from the Lake District. 

It was hot again. I ate my last bar of Lindt Double Lait. It was either that or another chocolate melt dessert. 

Wild flowers were flourishing on the long descent to Bouillouses - Spring Gentians, Moss Campion and Common Monkshood were particularly abundant, as were increasing numbers of cattle, horses and tourists. 

Today's pictures were taken on this descent, both at the same bridge, the top one looking back and the bottom one looking forward. 

By the time Lac de Bouillouses was reached, the whole area seemed to be seething with people - day walkers, backpackers, picnickers,  etc. There were numerous family groups who looked as if they were carrying the kit for a night out - there is a multitude of camping spots up the long valley. 

I pitched up at Auberge du Carlit at 1pm and was pleased when 'Orange t-shirt man' beckoned me to his table, and the last remaining seat in the shade. My tinned fish can wait, the ham and cheese baguette went down well. 

He left before me, heading for Bolquère.  I followed, and soon found myself behind 'Hobo man', with his distinctive yellow cape. "Are you doing GR10?" he asked. "Sort of" I replied, and hastened past.

The paths to La Cabanasse were pleasant enough at the start (fine views across meadows to the Carlit peaks) and finish (rural scenes of haymaking etc), but two long forest sections in the middle were quite wearing. One was down a never ending bouldery chute. I was glad I wasn't on a mountain bike. Then a long undulating track passing below Pyrenees 2000 (a place) really did go on for ages. Moreover, it seemed mainly uphill! 

It was after 4pm when I reached Bolquère, where some sort of  fancy dress carnival was under way. It looked a nice place. I explored and found a shop with a supply of cold drinks that was most welcome as I'd forgotten to refill my water bottle at lunch time, and down here there aren't the springs that I've become used to. But the village lacked a vital component. I was running out of cash and no vendor of cash was to be seen. 

So I carried on for a good hour, enjoying watching the 'Train Jaune' potter up and down the narrow guage railway line that I thought I'd have to use tomorrow to seek out that cash.

It was nearly 5.30pm when I rolled up at the 'Camping Rural' site - Camping les Opilleres - 500 metres south east from the GR10 as it enters the village. By 6.30pm my washing was on the line and I set off in search of food, etc. 

The restaurant recommended in Cicerone's web supplement to its GR10 guide was curiously absent, so I strolled on up the hill to Mont-Louis, where I wish I'd had time to explore the old fort.

Oh joy!  A cash machine. A restaurant. All that I needed to round off another fine day on GR10. 

And I had a good chat with Sue, who would make a fine booking agent. Actually, she is a fine booking agent. 

Sent from our GR10 trip - see here for our itinerary

5 comments:

Alan R said...

What a fine day. Looks lovely. I wonder what nickname these other characters have christened you? Competition pending.

Humphrey said...

Magnificent accounts! I know the Carlit region well,cursed later in the season with intense electrical storms. I spent an extremeley night once camped at the NW corner of Lac des Bouillouses as the storm circled. And Mary and were snowed into Mont Louis for three days in January '04.

A terrific variant - tho' too late for you now - is to go from Mont Louis on the GR10 and then head S from just before the Refuge de l'Orri to climb into Spain and take the mighty Nuria switchback ridge to the Refuge Ull de Ter and so over the plateau NE to pick up again at Refuge de Marialles. And if you're taking the sporting route up Canigou, there's a cabane on yr left a couple of hours ENE from the refuge at 065434 615617 (2150m) with shade trees and good water.

Les Mines de Batère I camped at Arles-sur-Tech. Campsite is on your left after you make a steep descent through woods. Next day, after the cluster of houses at Montalba there's a long stretch climbing through forest with no water.

Humphrey said...

Meant to say after Les Mines de Batère! Shabby typing! Best of the Beasts, my brother. HMP3.

Phreerunner said...

Thanks HMP3
I've chosen GR36 from Planes to Eyne, then up Vallee d'Eyne to the border ridge and the Spanish refuge, where I'm booked in tomorrow. In fact today is probably the last camping day as I'm booked into gites etc from then on - apart from Amelie, which is proving a problem. Sue and I found wild camping less attractive from here when we did the HRP, and gites are more sociable than solo camping.
(Sent from Vallee d'Eyne)

Nallo Lady said...

When I spoke to Nick at the weekend on the phone, he asked, "is that the Pyrenees booking service?"
I have enjoyed speaking with the various English and French B&B owners and refuge guardians, except of course, for the refuge which demands a 15euro deposit. Unless paid by credit card, it costs me £25 to make such an overseas payment!!
Super photos as usual Martin.