Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Saturday 13 July 2013 - Pyrenees GR10 - Day 29 - Stage 23 - Lac d'Oô to Bagnères-de-Luchon

Distance: 20 km (Cum: 437 km)      

Ascent: 1070 metres (Cum: 24,200 metres)
                      
Time taken: 8.5 hrs including 2.0 hrs stops                                      

Weather: high cloud, then sunny, before late afternoon rain

A 7am breakfast gave us a prompt start on what promised to be a longish day.  It was a quick breakfast. Two pieces of stale bread with a bit of butter and jam, plus a cup of coffee. A far cry from last night's repast. 

Woods shaded us from the early sun as we made our way up towards Lac Espingo, with ever improving views down to Lac d'Oô.

Two walkers with axes and crampons passed purposefully by on their way to a more demanding target than ours. 

The weather had a rather sullen look, with high cloud from France eclipsing the sunshine from Spain. 

Soon our path doubled back to provide good views down to Lac d'Oô. 

We overtook yesterday's sandal clad pair, who would actually have managed fine today, as any difficulties were minimal and had perhaps been exaggerated in yesterday's conversations. The 'snow' situation is no doubt improving by the day. 

Our first of the day's three cols was reached at around 9.25.

The route then contoured around to another minor col, crossing difficult snowfields on the way. 

See carefully composed image. 

Well, perhaps they weren't too difficult. Not as hard as the final barrier that we negotiated a few minutes later, after some kindly Dutch backpackers showed us the 
way. 

Once this little impasse had been negotiated we romped down to Superbagnères for a lunch of chips and coke (how did that happen?) in the company of the four jolly Dutchmen.

Then it was all downhill, through the woods to Luchon, arriving at 4pm at Mike and Annette Jones' s splendid B&B, Villa Portillon, where we are happily installed for the next three nights. 

Celebratory drinks and meal have put paid to anything more lucid tonight, but I'll add some more about today on our day off tomorrow. 

Goodnight from the end of a successful 'Phase 1' of this trip. 

Sent from our GR10 trip - see here for our itinerary

Friday, 12 July 2013

Friday 12 July 2013 - Pyrenees GR10 - Day 28 - Stage 22 - Germ to Lac d'Oô

Distance: 17 km (Cum: 417 km)      

Ascent: 1300 metres (Cum: 23,130 metres)
                     
Time taken: 7.0 hrs including 1.5 hrs stops                                     

Weather: sunny, clear and hot, with cloud and rain developing later

Christophe's breakfast at the Auberge de Germ was excellent, setting us up for a fine mountain day. His dinner last night was also one of the best of the trip - cheese and ham salad, confit of duck with veg and sautéed potatoes, and chocolate tart. Delicious! 

It was much clearer than yesterday, and the views back to previous days' perambulations steadily improved as we gained height along a gently rising path lined by a variety of orchids.

After this relatively gentle section we rose to Cabane d'Ourtiga, a bothy in the middle of a herd of cows, with horse flies in attendance. 

Sue is pictured here, with the mountains that abut the border with Spain to the south. (A rare picture in this direction as the lighting is always better looking towards the east.) 

It took us a while to find the ongoing path, which was after crossing many rivulets. Thousands of small bronze beetles were fluttering around. It's important to follow the waymarks here - keep to the left to find them. 

The path then rose steeply - as relentlessly thrutchy as at any time on our trip. Beyond a large toad, the Pas de Couret d'Esquierry (2131 metres) marked a return to well trodden paths. Until now we had seen just two backpackers, but a couple lounged on the col and day walkers were a common sight from this point. 

We glanced back to the snow clad slopes of the Néouvielle for one last time, then headed down past whistling marmots to the fleshpots of the Val d'Astau. 

Asphodel adorned the hillside in vast quantities, replaced later by Cypress Spurge. At around 1700 metres we passed an idyllic place to camp. My map indicates that I once did exactly that - on 18 July 1988. Lower down, large swathes of Great Yellow Gentians were getting ready to flower. 

Beyond a spot near to the valley floor where the path squeezed behind a huge chunk of snow, a lone French backpacker passed on his way from Banyuls to Hendaye. "Good luck" was exchanged. Sue wasn't that happy with that exchange as this was her penultimate day on the trail. He proudly showed us his new socks - purchased in Luchon - exactly what Sue would be doing if she was continuing from there. 

She was however pleased to find some fine specimens of Ramonda, which we hadn't previously seen on this trip. 

The Auberge d'Astau offered welcome cokes before our final 400 metre ascent to Lac d'Oô. The path up here rises very gently, so just as much energy seemed to be used in saying "bonjour" to the hundreds of people descending from their day out to the scenic lake and its spectacular waterfall. 

A friendly reception from Muriel at the small refuge, where we arrived at 4pm,  and a welcome beer (see the last posting) were followed by the usual rain that seems to arrive just as we finish our walk. Tomorrow may well be different - our luck can't last...

We are sharing the refuge with a party of six grandparents and nine children, who are all very well behaved and are having a great time.  It's lovely to see. With whom we also share the single toilet and shower, which once you get access to it is brilliant. Our washing can wait.

We endured an agonising half hour (or was it an hour, it seemed like it) listening to advice being given to an ill equipped couple who propose to continue along the GR10 route to Luchon despite some snow slopes that require proper footwear, ie boots rather than sandals. They ignored the advice. Eventually they set off along the route, planning on camping a little further on.  I hope we don't have to pick up the pieces tomorrow. 

The discussion took place in English, which Muriel also understands. There was a certain raising of eyebrows, but we weren't going to interfere as they had a guide with them to this point. 

A lovely meal was served single handedly by Muriel. Well done to her.

Sent from our GR10 trip - see here for our itinerary

Hoegaarden - Fresh as a Mountain Stream

Occasional Pyrenean Flowers (10)

We saw quite a few of these yesterday, and orchid lovers may have started to feel deprived.

It's the appropriately named Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalis).

Sent from our GR10 trip - see here for our itinerary

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Thursday 11 July 2013 - Pyrenees GR10 - Day 27 - Stage 21 - Saint-Lary-Soulan to Germ

Distance: 15 km (Cum: 400 km)     

Ascent: 1130 metres (Cum: 21,830 metres)
                     
Time taken: 5.75 hrs including 1.25 hrs stops                                     

Weather: sunny periods, rain showers after 4pm

After the excitement of the snow laden Néouvielle area (see yesterday's image), today was a short, pastoral, outing.

Breakfast was taken in a nearby boulangerie. Not having seen anyone English for a couple of days, we invited JJ to join us. Sadly he declined, blaming the lack of a shaving incident. 

Whilst it appeared cloudy when we looked skyward, we spent almost the entire day under a burning sun. It was very humid. Drippy weather. And it dripped from above during a refreshment break in Loudenvielle, and after we had arrived here at the Auberge de Germ at 3.30pm. So we were lucky with the weather today. 

We'd stocked up before leaving, so after the long ascent through ancient sunken byways - one of which sported a large and very stationary flock of sheep that blocked our way for some time - and overgrown woodland paths, with good views back to yesterday afternoon's descent (pictured, top), we were able to enjoy a baguette with sheep's cheese and tomato just beyond our high point of the day, Couret de Latuhe (1586 metres).

Eagles and red kites competed with paragliders for airspace above Loudenvielle. Luckily the airport at the resort above Germ didn't seem to be in use today. You can just about make it out on the lower image, taken at our lunch stop. To the left of the airstrip a dip on the horizon above Sue's head is the Col de Peyresourde, a Tour de France favourite and a pass that I once cycled over with a saddlebag and two panniers (all Karrimor) and half a Sturmey Archer four speed gear system. Memories!  My tent was a Karrimor Marathon - used on several 'Alpine' trips.

Anyway, our lunch spot would be a fine place from which to view the Tour, but this year we were just a few days too late. 

Today also featured more scenes of devastation - in the Aure valley, as we passed debris strewn meadows and inundated homes. 

The path down to Loudenvielle was teeming with scurrying lizards, and a rather shy large bright green specimen - about 8 inches long. 

A lad passed us on the fine path up to Germ. Then, about half way along it, we met him coming hurriedly down.  "I've seen a snake" he exclaimed, explaining that it had scared him so he had turned back. 

The Auberge de Germ is fine. Very quiet. Nobody else seems to be walking GR10, though it's possible that some folk may be at the nearby gite. 

Sent from our GR10 trip - see here for our itinerary

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Wednesday 10 July 2013 - Pyrenees GR10 - Day 26 - Stage 19/20 - Chalet-Hôtel Orédon to Saint Lary Soulan

Distance: 21 km (Cum: 385 km)      

Ascent: 780 metres (Cum: 20,700 metres)
                     
Time taken: 7.5 hrs including 1.5 hrs stops                                     

Weather: sunny periods with threatening cloud that came to nought

Christof was an excellent host at Orédon. It's a good place to visit. Last year he completed the Tourmalet stage of the Tour de France at an average speed of 28 kph. Fit guy!

The 350 metre climb back up to GR10, through lovely woodland, didn't take long. For the second day running the smell of pine assaulted our nostrils. 

Sue is pictured at Col d'Estoudou, with the Néouvielle behind her. 

Then it was down to Lac de l'Oule, where there was no need to visit the Refuge that is being rebuilt, so we turned left to the inflow of the reservoir. The lake was full, so the huge amounts of water draining into it must have been entering a hydro pipe. Strangely there were no 'no swimming' warnings. Try that at your peril!

Our first specimens of Sempervivium of the trip were spotted here. 

A brisk ascent past the torrent's collapsed walls and a concerned salamander, was followed by a superb and well visited belvedere path to Col de Portet (2215 metres).

Here cows languished in the heat, and we stopped for lunch high above our 1400 metre descent to Vielle-Aure.

Eagles soared and lesser birds of prey hovered, whilst snow finches bathed in a stream below us. A chatty bird that wasn't either a Stonechat or a Wheatear kept his beady eye on us.

The air had lost its clarity today. Yesterday's clearly defined peaks are today's ill defined ridges stretching into the distance. 

Sheep clustered together with their heads down in order to avoid what few brain cells they have from frying, and cows seemed to be trying to bury themselves in mud. A muck spreader slowly meandered down the access road, watering it?!

A long, open ridge with a vast zone of Great Yellow Gentians that were just about to flower, was the precursor to a lovely woodland descent to the village of Vielle-Aure.

Since I'd managed to book a hotel in Saint-Lary-Soulan, we had an extra couple of km at the end of the day, but we finished soon after 4pm and were able to admire Chris Froome cementing his lead in the Tour de France by way of a successful time trial. 

It's a good hotel with very fluffy towels and a nice adjacent village with good pizzerias. 

So everyone is happy. 

Sent from our GR10 trip - see here for our itinerary

Occasional Pyrenean Flowers (9)

We've seen lots of this 'Red Helleborine' - Cephalanthera longifolia - a white variety! 

Sent from our GR10 trip - see here for our itinerary

Tuesday 9 July 2013 - Pyrenees GR10 - Day 25 - Stage 19 - Barèges to Chalet-Hôtel d'Orédon

Distance: 21 km (Cum: 364 km)      

Ascent: 1380 metres (Cum: 19,920 metres)
                     
Time taken: 8.25 hrs including 1.5 hrs stops                                      

Weather: sunny, slowly clouding over, with spots of rain as we finished at 4.30, and a thunderstorm thereafter (but did we care? - not really, but we felt for the drowned rat contingent).

Another lovely sunny morning after a night interrupted at times by the roar of the torrent. 

Hervé and Patricia looked after us well at the gite, though it was sad that in this peak of the season (the French  school holidays have started) we were the only guests at a time when the place would normally be vibrant with an assortment of cyclists and walkers. 

We started at 8.15, up the Col du Tourmalet road that would usually be teeming with cyclists. The demolition of the hotel was continuing and its remains were being dumped in the large car park beyond Auberge Couquelle. Our slide show will in due course provide a further reminder of the devastation caused by exceptional weather in this area three weeks ago. 

We took the GR10 path past the deserted botanical gardens at Pont de la Gaubie. I recall visiting these on a trip to Gavarnie with the XXL (Aberdeen Hillwalking) Club a few years ago. Today the only visitors were marmots (and Sue). I also have a vivid memory of falling out of an inflatable canoe with Ian, near Luz.

Sue hopped over the fence into the gardens and spent some time with the exotic plants. This was to be a day when I would spend quite a while waiting. 

We had entered one of the most beautiful parts of the Pyrenees, the Néouvielle area, but as we made our way up to Col de Madamète we saw just two other people - a couple of exhausted looking backpackers. The terrain - we skirted a huge boulder field - reminded me of our HRP route nine years ago. 

The rivers were in spate. We could see the two ahead struggling up a boulder field after being unable to cross the torrent. So we tried to be clever and took a different route. That was fine, and we congratulated ourselves on regaining the path. ..
... which very soon re-crossed the river. There was no way we could get across, it was intense and fast flowing. 

The next hour or so was spent fumbling our way along the pathless river bank, over boulder fields and across gullies and side streams, most of the time in view of the good path across the torrent.  It has hardly rained for a week, but the massive amount of snow, a lot of it in the storm three weeks ago (but they also had some huge dumps earlier in the year) means that there is a vast amount of melt water in this hot weather. 

We eventually managed to cross the river and soon afterwards passed the exhausted pair and made our way through meadows laden with Butterwort to Cabane d'Aygues-Cluses. It was surrounded by horses and looked as if it had seen better days. 

From there it was a supposedly easy climb to Col de Madamète, at 2509 metres the highest point of this trip (probably). But it was very hot and we were tired from our earlier exertions. 

Lunch was taken in the shade of a lonely but very welcome pine tree, then we donned our gaiters to negotiate some easy but extensive snow fields either side of the col. Alpine Snowbells and an assortment of Primroses kept us company. 

The view from the top was as predicted - stunning, with snow streaked slopes sandwiched between high peaks and blue lakes.

As we made our way down to Lac d'Aumar we realised that the devastation of Barèges was behind us. There were lots of holiday makers about, and we passed hordes of folk on our final hurried descent to Chalet-Hôtel Orédon. This is a little off the GR10 route, but Chalet-Hôtel de l'Oule, which is on the route, is closed for renovations. 

A few navigation errors were made at this late stage of the day. We should have stayed next to Lac d'Aumar, and descended from there.  As it was we went down to the car park at Lac d'Aubert and then returned up the road to briefly rejoin GR10 at Lac d'Aumar before descending as suggested above. But having got to the car park, we had completely missed a path that would have taken us directly to our destination! 

Ah well. We made it down just in time to avoid the storm, so all was well. The Chalet-Hôtel turns out to be an excellent place. Very friendly, with a good number (27) staying tonight. That's too many to make new friends very easily. There's a group of six English here but they are self contained. Not a GR10er in sight. 

The meal was brilliant.  A huge bowl of meat and veg soup, followed by copious quantities of lasagne and salad, with cake and crême caramel for dessert. 

Today's picture looks back to the west, from the path above Pont de la Gaubie. Note the smart new trousers, the old Rohans having given up in Cauterets. 

Whilst I have a few minutes (and this won't transmit until tomorrow as there's no signal here), I'll relate the story of yesterday's twenty minute phone call.

Sitting in the Oasis gite, listening to the demolition of the hotel in which we had paid a deposit for a room, I decided to call the Snowcard Insurance number and ask for a claim form:

"Hello, the hotel I'm booked in to tonight is being demolished, could you send me a claim form, please."

Sharon: "How much have you lost?"

"My €28 deposit."

Sharon: "Oh dear, you have a £50 excess."

"Oh dear.  What about my sleeping bag that was destroyed by a drug crazed lunatic whilst in a B&B and would cost £280 to replace?"

Sharon:  "Pardon!" "What's that noise in the background?"

"I told you.  They are knocking the hotel down."

Sharon: "Tell me about the drug crazed lunatic incident, and why should a sleeping bag cost more than £50?"

I did.

Sharon: "I'm looking at the small print.  You aren't covered for fragile items."

"The sleeping bag wouldn't have broken if it had been dropped."

Sharon: "How old was it, we'll have to deduct a sum for wear and tear? And how much did it cost?"

"5-6 years, and no idea, the receipt is at home. All I wanted was to notify you and get a claim form."

Sharon: "There's no time limit on submitting claims. If anything else happens you may find it cheaper to call when you get home. After taking account wear and tear/depreciation and the £50 excess, would you be prepared to accept £160?  If so, what are your bank account details?"

"Yes - the details are..."

Sharon: "Ok (pause) yes, that seems to have gone through."

Conclusion:
All I wanted was a claim form, but I finished up with money in the bank - probably not much short of what I paid for the RAB 400 bag a few years ago.  I've lost out overall as I will want to replace the bag with something warmer than the one Graham is bringing for me. But I'm actually quite impressed by the way the matter was handled. Snowcard's annual cover, with a supplement for being away for more than sixty days, seemed to get me through all the hoops that Sharon tossed at me and the matter has been dealt with, with just twenty minutes of fuss. File closed.

Time now to read a book.  Oops, my Kindle seems to have broken! 

Sent from our GR10 trip - see here for our itinerary

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Occasional Pyrenean Flowers (8)

Spring Squill (Scilla verna), is usually found in spring, which this year seems to have extended well into July in the Pyrenees. 

Sent from our GR10 trip - see here for our itinerary

Monday, 8 July 2013

Monday 8 July 2013 - Pyrenees GR10 - Day 24 - Stage 18 - Luz-St-Sauveur to Barèges

Distance: 13 km (Cum: 343 km)      

Ascent: 870 metres (Cum: 18,540 metres)
                     
Time taken: 4.75 hrs including 1.0 hrs stops                                     

Weather: sunny and hot, with cloud developing in the afternoon

A delightful morning's walk to a village that is slowly recovering from a devastating flood.

After replenishing our provisions and perusing Luz's market stalls, we ambled off up a 600 metre ascent until we were high above the town. 

The path was a little dewy and overgrown in places, so dock leaves were in high demand. 

Leopardsbane and Black Vanilla Orchids made a welcome appearance beside the ongoing belvedere path to the Gué de Bolou, our high point at 1460 metres. 

This path was an absolute delight, with long flat sections both before and after the Gué, where the torrent was crossed without difficulty a little upstream. 

We expected to see scenes of devastation before reaching Barèges, and heavy machinery down in the valley could be seen.  But lovely woodland, with noisy Nutcrackers and Tree Creepers,  shielded us right until the point at which we entered the village. We'd met a couple of day walkers and a couple of runners - probably just residents getting a bit of respite from the disaster below. 

We soon found Gîte d'etape l'Oasis. It's pictured above on the right. To the left can be seen the crane that is demolishing the Hotel du Tourmalet,  where we were booked in for tonight.  We are now staying in the gite. We have been listening to the demolition all afternoon. It's very close by. A more explicit photo is shown below. We should have been occupying a luxury room. Painful to watch. 

It's nearly three weeks since the floods hit.  We wandered around the village and came across Rachel Williamson outside the B&B she runs with her husband Rob. They had already been evacuated once this year - in February, due to avalanche risk. But three weeks ago, after a period of hot weather that had melted lots of snow, a 24 hour rainstorm hit the area. Some snow bridges initially restricted the flow of the river, but they acted as dams. And they gave way.

Rachel and Rob's place - Les Sorbiers - just escaped the torrent.  They were on the right side of the street and it went within a few feet of their front door. 

They are now open for business, as is much of the village and indeed the whole area. But sadly some houses have been washed away, as has the campsite that has been here for many years. What will the owners do? Their land has simply gone.

A few kilometres of road have also disappeared into the river. That'll take a while to fix. Apparently you can now walk to Luz, so when Susan and Roy are there they could walk GR10 as we did today, and return by the valley paths.

Rachel gave the impression that insurers have shown little compassion and are treating the claims with their usual tactics. Their B&B was full when I tried to book a month ago, but cancellations mean they probably have no customers tonight. 

The Hotel du Tourmalet seems to be putting up quite a fight, though it will slowly be razed to the ground.  I imagine it was the insurers decision.  It looks immensely solid and perfectly capable of being rescued, though I am no engineer. 

We are the only people staying here tonight. The gang of 14 at Pierre-St-Martin has now fragmented, though we do hope to see some of the others again. We've been well looked after by our hosts at Oasis, with an excellent and very filling meal, featuring, cream of soup, duck with luxurious veg and bacon, sheep's cheese, and giant profiteroles.

Re last night's accommodation, an apologetic message has been received from Le Regain gite, blaming their closure on a new phone which didn't notify them that we'd left a message. I know the feeling - this phone has a similar problem - text messages get through better. 

We start to move away from the focus of the flood damage tomorrow, finishing in a remote spot where a phone signal is unlikely. So bear with us - we also have to contend with our highest pass yet, and its attendant snow. 

News from some of our GR10 friends:

Tour Aventure (Paul and John) have been holed up in a nice hotel with fluffy towels to console them from the fact that theirs is not a continuous walk due to access and high snow issues. 

Roland and Marie appear to have survived the shock of seeing a bear and are a day ahead of us.

Pierre and Yolaine headed up towards Vignemale from Cauterets, on a longer GR10 variant, so will fall behind for a while. 

There's no news from HRP contender, Simon Harper, but we imagine he will be in the vicinity of Luchon by now and going well. Good luck Simon. 

David and John will both now be at home enjoying their swimming pools.  David, anyway. 

Sent from our GR10 trip - see here for our itinerary

Occasional Pyrenean Tractors (2)

We've been searching for the elusive Lamborghini, but all we could find was this. I'm sure Alan R will be able to identify it, seen yesterday in Grust. 

Sent from our GR10 trip - see here for our itinerary

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Sunday 7 July 2013 - Pyrenees GR10 - Day 23 - Stage 17 - Cauterets to Luz-St-Sauveur

Distance: 22 km (Cum: 330 km)      

Ascent: 1220 metres (Cum: 17,670 metres)
                     
Time taken: 8.25 hrs including 1.75 hrs stops                                     

Weather: sunny and hot

A truly beautiful day on which to continue our journey.  It was a fairly standard 'up and down' day on GR10, with a few day walkers and folk in training for something more serious seen. But trekkers are absent from today's list of encounters.

After a tasty breakfast straight from the boulangerie, we settled our bill and left the drowsy town sometime after 9 am. An excellent path took us up through sun dappled woods for an hour or so, when we reached the sunlit haven of Hotellerie de la Reine Hortense. Coffee was in order, but my real purpose for stopping, stimulated by the book I read yesterday, was to chat to the hundred year old man sitting outside with his binoculars trained on Cauterets far below. 

Oops! I should apologise. It was John Howarth, from near Clitheroe, on holiday with his wife Alice, and John is a mere 88 interesting years old. His daughter married a Frenchman, so they spend quite a bit of time in this lovely spot, which I gathered was part of the family's property empire. Alice had been thrilled to be given a quad bike ride to Col de Riou by her grandson. 

We dragged ourselves away from this most pleasant of encounters,  too climb steadily up to the same spot - the 1949 metre Col de Riou. A lovely climb through shady woods and then up a lazily switchbacked path over open ground with Alpenrose finally coming into flower.

Lunch on the summit (pictured) - a delicious home made goats cheese and tomato baguette, was savoured in the summer heat that will no doubt bring storms in the days to come. But currently it just feels like a regular heatwave. 

The east side of the col was scarred with ski debris, but we soon got past that and onto delightful paths, mainly through woodland, for the rest of the day. 

Grust was a smart little village whose residents were enjoying their Sunday lunches outside in the sun. We savoured some yogurts on a bench by the fountain that spurts water that flows from nearby springs under the church that dates from 1731.

After the village of Sazos the path rose to contour through woodland to the south of Luz. A magical path that eventually led down to Pont Napoleon, where a 90 metre bungee jump was in full flow. We stopped nearby for a coke break, which was punctuated by regular screams as the bungee victims were chucked off the bridge.

From the bridge, near where I recall getting a lift in a delivery van last time I was there, as I was too early in the season for a bus to Gavarnie, it was a pleasant stroll into Luz, where we were booked in to the Le Piolet gite.  We had passed nice looking gites in Grust and Sazos, but had decided to honour our Le Piolet booking.

The gite was shut. They might have told us!  Next door was a Youth Hostel. We booked in and we have our own room. There's no sign of anyone else staying here. 

Since Susan and Roy (TGO Challenge friends from the USA) are staying at the Hotel des Templiers next week, we thought we'd better carry out a survey for them. It's very 'french'. The staff wear berets and the €25 menu features snails or salad (with courgette shavings and dotted balsamic vinegar), then a choice of gallettes (crêpes made from fancy flour), with courgette shavings and dotted balsamic, then a choice of crêpes for dessert. 

Quite tasty but a bit expensive and repetitive. Round the corner, pizzas were about €10.

Walking around town, it was clear to see the devastation caused by the mid June storms.  As with Cauterets, access has been limited due to destroyed roads, and businesses here are no doubt suffering badly.

I was pleased to hear that Andy Murray has won at Wimbledon. 

Sent from our GR10 trip - see here for our itinerary

Occasional Pyrenean Flowers (7)

Trumpet Gentians - Gentiana acaulis - a frequent pleasure above about 1400 metres,  throughout the Pyrenees. 

Sent from our GR10 trip - see here for our itinerary