My Pyrenees HRP Diary - Introduction

This blog was begun in 2015, to record my walk along the Pyrenees HRP from Hendaye to Banyuls. If you want to read about that, I suggest you start here.

But that is all in the past now, and I have expanded the blog a little to cover more recent events.. such as:

Snowdonia Way
Hebden Bridge
Equipment Reviews
North Downs Way

and also, one day:

Pennine Way .. which I am due to walk for the third time in 2019, this time from N to S I think

I hope you will find something interesting. Please do provide a little feedback or comment, and if you are interested in something that I didn't say enough about, please let me know .. happy walking!


Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Thoughts on completing the HRP

It's nice when you finish!
During the walk, I lost just over 11kg in weight (80.4kg now, against 92kg before), and walked 568.4 miles according to my pedometer. I'm told there is about 30 miles of vertical ascent and descent, but haven't checked. 
I am confirmed in my view that the HRP is the hardest, but also the best and most rewarding of the three trans-Pyrenees routes. I think doing the walk in one go is also more rewarding, if you have the opportunity. I have never been away from home for so long, and probably never will be again. I'm very grateful to Sue for holding the fort, and to Charlie & Co for being there much of the time too. Also those who looked after the walks and the village hall in my absence, notably Peter McGillivray.
Some aspects of the walk, I was very pleased with:
- not one single blister or foot problem throughout.
- nothing lost or forgotten en route, (except one small item), most unusual for me!
- most of my equipment lasted the course very well, especially the Zpacks kit - rucksack, tent and sleeping bag. I will do a separate post about equipment, in due course.
- most of the hotels and gites d'etape that I stayed in were excellent, as were some of the refuges.
- the phone plan provided by 3, which treats calls, texts and data made in France and Spain the same as in the UK, is the bees knees,  and saved me a great deal of money. Pity about Andorra though. 
- I met lots of really nice people on the way. I daren't try to name them all, but you know who you are! Thanks for everything. Walkers are great. 
Above all, I think I picked the right mountain range! The Pyrenees are stunning throughout.
Some aspects of the walk I was less happy with:
- the refuges I stayed in were a very mixed bunch. Some were excellent,  some pretty dire. Their fixation with pasta was a constant irritation. I will do a separate post about accommodation, in due course. Of course running a refuge situated above 2000m is not an easy job, and we need to remember that refuges are not hotels. But some were so much better than others.
- physically, I think I did this walk in the nick of time. My knees only just lasted the course, and my sense of balance (or lack of it) was an impediment too. In future I should perhaps stick to easier, shorter walks, like the Pennine Way.
I have over 1100 photos to wade through and prune. When I've done that, I will provide a link to a slide show. 
what happens when you lose your balance! 

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