Pyrenees 2009

 

STA_0175abc

The mountain landscape of the Pyrenees is the place to be for cloud inversions.

 

STA_0173ab

This view and the previous image were taken on the ascent and summit of Pic du Midi.

 

IMG_6291

Pic du Midi is the location of the Astronomical Observatory of France.

 

IMG_0207

Our accommodation for 10-days was Les Ruisseaux, a few minutes drive from Cauterets, and is to be recommended for the friendly relaxed atmosphere and great food!

 

Cauterets is an excellent centre for a walking holiday. The area has many trails of great variety, and all levels of fitness. There is also an absolute gem of a walk called the Circuit of the Lakes (Pont du Cayan Loop): I personally rank this walk second only to the high circuit at Lake O’Hara, Yoho National Park, Canada.

 

Clipboard01

It is very rare for Julie and I to put walking route maps on our blog, but this walk is such gem (the big French secret) that we have included it here. It is a walk for reasonably fit people, being a little more than 16km in distance and 1000+m of ascent. Guidebooks vary as to whether to do the route clockwise or, as we did, anticlockwise. After completing the walk we felt that anticlockwise was the right way to do the walk: the steepest climbing is then done at the beginning (with fresh legs) taking you to the stunning Lac de l’Embarrat. Allow 8-hours for the walk, this will afford you plenty of rest and photo opportunities.

 

STA_0109ab

A view from the climb to Lac de l’Embarrat.

 

IMG_6241

You climb through meadows filled with flowers,

 

IMG_0114ab

And in to hidden high valleys.

 

IMG_0116

Around every corner there are magnificent views.

 

STA_0118ab

Lac de l’Embarrat.

 

IMG_0120

The path continues on the north side of the lake.

 

IMG_6246

Looking down on to Lac de l’Embarrat.

 

IMG_0123

The path continues higher into more rugged country,

 

IMG_6250

And reaches the highest part of the route at Lac du Pourtet.

 

IMG_0132

On the undulating decent past Lac Nere.

 

IMG_0134

The route descends to more flower covered meadows.

 

IMG_0133

Lac Nere.

 

IMG_6254b

You occasionally see one of the locals…

 

IMG_0137

The return stretch of the walk follows an ancient trail used by traders to pass between France and Spain. This section is very gentle walking through beautiful meadows, and it passes Refuge Wallon where, if you have time to spare, you can get refreshments. But remember it’s still 2-hours to the car park!

 

For my birthday walk we used the chairlift to bypass the stiff climb from Pont d’Espagne, past the waterfalls and on to Vallee de Gaube. Our route took us past Lac de Gaube and on towards the high mountains forming the French / Spain border.

 

IMG_0146

Lac de Gaube.

 

IMG_0150

Further up the valley towards the border ridge.

 

IMG_0158

Our furthest point up the valley gave us grand views of the border ridge.

 

IMG_0160

IMG_0162

IMG_0163

 

 

STA_0164ab

 

IMG_6280

A birthday would not be complete without a beer!

 

We walked every day of the holiday – this part of the Pyrenees is just paradise for the hiker – and on our last day we discovered yet another gem of a walk:

 

IMG_0185

Walking into Vallee de Lutour.

 

IMG_6296

Walking this valley is very easy, and the views are marvellous at every turn.

 

IMG_0188

A classic glaciated valley.

 

IMG_0193

As with most of the Pyrenees, mountains and water combine beautifully.

 

IMG_6306

Clear, pure water…

 

IMG_6300

IMG_0201

It was a great holiday!

 

 

Return to Home Page