Wednesday, 17 June 2015
Tuesday 16 June 2015 - Pyrenees GR11 - Day 2 - Prologue, then Cabo de Higuer to Collado de Telleria
Ascent: 1040 metres (Prologue: 40 metres)
Time taken: 8.4 hrs including 1.4 hrs stops (Prologue: 1.4 hrs including 0.4 hrs stops)
Weather: light rain at first, deteriorating to monsoon like conditions; I noticed the temperature was 11C at one point, though it's a comfy 14C in the tent at 8pm, still raining but the blackbirds are singing
After yesterday's 22 hours of more or less constant travel, and the euphoria of arrival into a small but perfectly formed bedchamber and an excursion to a classy eatery, today was somewhat of a contrast. After two days of very little exercise, any shortfall on that score was certainly eliminated.
I took my time getting sorted out after a good sleep, then wandered down to a café for coffee and a croissant. My waterproof jacket was soon needed, but the trousers remained stashed until after I'd officially started GR11 from above the beach beyond the lighthouse. The lighthouse, pictured, is about as close as you get to an official start.
There were luscious strawberries and banks of a white flower with just three petals and dark green leaves. Dripping. (Perhaps a Trillium [a North American and Asian plant] escaped from former ornamental gardens?)
By the time I got back to Hondarribia I was also dripping. I sought refuge in another café for half an hour - enjoying one of the biggest and best chocolate croissants that I can recall.
That was after finding a hardware shop (Marinel) that sold me a large tub of camping gas, thus obviating the need for an excursion to Decathlon in Irun. Very handy - solving the only ongoing problem from yesterday's Eurostar delay. I had been planning to buy the gas after my original train had arrived in Irun, before going to the hotel.
It won't take long to relate my encounters after leaving the streets of Irun and lunching under a motorway bridge in view of the first GR11 information board I'd seen. One mountain biker passed me, and I passed a small tent near one of several totally deserted picnic grounds. That's it.
The camera was stashed in a waterproof bag fairly early on, so there are no photos between Hondarribia and Ermita de St Antón, where a covered seating area enabled me to sort my map etc out in the dry. Here I decided to fill my water bottles and walk up what appeared to be a stream bed but was possibly a path, to the col where I'm now camped in the shelter of some trees. I could have continued to Bera, but I'd have arrived late and maybe have struggled to find adequate lodgings. Anyway, I fancied camping despite the weather, and my food mountain could be reduced.
The views may have been good, had the cloud base been higher than 200 metres. When it did clear a little through the rain there were mainly steep sided hills clad with trees and a liberal daubing of mist. Quite atmospheric really...
Cattle cowered next to cow sheds, but on the way to this col I passed a group of goats and Shetland ponies who looked a bit more cheerful. They'll probably visit me tonight...
Unfortunately the Solar Competition tent pitches tent first, so whilst it was only subjected to the deluge for a minute or two, there was quite a lot of mopping up to be done once the flysheet was in place and the rucksack was inside.
Anyway, that's all done, it's now 8pm and I've succeeded in reducing the weight of my load a little. It seems to be getting dark so I feel a long sleep coming on.
Next Day - Day 3
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