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!


Monday, 9 April 2018

Andorra ... still three months to go (almost!)

Time for an update on the great Andorra Circumnavigation.

Interior view of Refugi des Fonts. Four spaces, not palatial!

Inside Refugi de Rulhe - actually in France, by a kilometre or so. there is a stove left of centre, which is in the process of burning a hole in my walking socks!

Using the same headings as last time:

- a timetable. I leave for Andorra on the 4th July (Independence Day 😀) and expect to start walking on 6th. Returning to England on 24th July, so plenty of time, in theory. If I find I have days left over I will look for other challenges, it is not so very far from Andorra to Aneto, for example. I have also booked out a few days later this month for a walk here in the South East of England, and a week in May when I may go back to Snowdonia, or to the Cheviots.

- information. I now have a (digital) copy of the 2005 Cicerone guide "The Mountains of Andorra" by Robertson & Meadowcroft which I hope will be useful though it is rather old. In addition I have found some more up-to-date information online, especially about the huts and refuges - I was pleased to see that there are now five guarded huts where food can be bought, and 30 huts altogether.

- mapping. I have acquired two paper maps, rather expensive. The 1:50k Rando Editions 07, Haute Ariege is not especially useful as it covers only the Northern boundary of Andorra. The Editorial Alpina 1:40k map 40, Andorra, on the other hand is ideal as it is quite light and compact but covers the whole of Andorra. Like most Spanish maps it is probably not especially accurate but for route planning it should do the job. When I set off I intend to rely on digital mapping and following a tip from Eef Berns, I have installed OsmAnd on my trusty Samsung S8+ phone. OsmAnd in its basic form is free but I paid the princely sum of 99p to have contour lines added to the maps. I am still learning how to use it, but have been able to load Eef's route around Andorra onto it, which means that as far as navigation is concerned I am good to go. Fortunately the days of aligning map and compass and squinting at where the sun should be, and wondering if you are where you think you are have gone, for me, and I don't miss them much.

- route. Ha, this has been done for me, see link above! And almost certainly, better than I could do it myself. THANK YOU,  Eef! I still have plenty of work to do here, examining the route more closely and trying to decide which way to go round (anticlockwise, I'm thinking) and where to stop. My idea is to do it in two halves, and try to hitch or bus back from Arinsal or from La Farge de Moles for a zero day in the middle. Though both places do have some accommodation.

- accommodation. Something that still needs to be arranged. My basic plan is to stay in l'Hospitalet for my first night, last night, and in the middle too, perhaps.

- travel. After some thought, I have decided to drive to l'Hospitalet. The car can be left there in the care of the gite d'etape. It will give me more flexibility and allow me to take more clothing, provisions etc so that I can be pretty much self-sufficient. It is a long drive, especially solo, so I am planning to allow a full day and part of the next for the journey. The ferry is booked!

- equipment. I think I have everything I will need. I have bought a pair of trail shoes and will take them and my Berghaus Supalite boots. Because I am so dependent on my phone - maps, gps, guide book - I will take a spare phone with me. But I may leave it in the car, as if the S8 stops working it would be a nuisance but not quite the catastrophe it would be if I were half way along the HRP. I should be able to get back to a road, and hence to l'Hospitalet, within a day from most parts of Andorra

So that is it .. as you can see there are quite a lot of loose ends and vague areas, but that is OK, it is pretty much intentional.  It will allow me to be flexible, and adapt to conditions and to circumstances. I will do another post or two, shortly before I set off.

On the Col de Pluviometre (raingauge!) 2240m, between the two etangs, de Couart and de Pedourres
Looking far down towards l'Hospitalet-pres-l'Andorre. I will climb up here, on day 1!

In l'Hospitalet

The Gite d'Etape (hostel) in l'Hospitalet. I remember it as friendly and with decent food, but like everywhere around, not luxurious

My trip to Andorra continues (and finishes!) here...

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