Wednesday, 31 October 2012

The Spanish Pyrenees

In September, Steve and I headed off for a lovely week to the Spanish Pyrenees. It was surprisingly easy to get to; Liverpool to Barcelona, and then hire car to Benasque on wide, quiet Spanish roads.

The top end of the Ordesa gorge
The initial heat was a shock to the system after Britain's lack of summer but it didn't last long! The snow came down on the third day.

We spent a few days exploring the Benasque region and climbing some of the lower peaks. The first day we had a gentle break in walking up to the beautiful little tarns of Ibonets des Batisielles.

The next day saw us heading out for the Pico de Alba but with the weather closing in, we settled for the Pico de Paderna above the Refugio de la Reclusa which had several friendly cats, dogs and mules hanging around (and not many people now the main season is over).

 Another mountain we climbed was the Pic de Sauvergarde; a lovely moutain with stunning views into France and some exposure and chained sections.

After several days we headed across to the Ordesa National Park; Europe's own limestone Grand Canyon. The classsic walk here is the Faja de Pelay. From the heady heights, you can see across to the famous Breche de Roland.

The wildlife was not too easy to photograph, but we did see vultures, black squirrels, lizards and marmots to name a few.

Steve on the summit of Tuc de Sauvergarde
Steve on the Clavijas de Carriata
The Spanish Pyrenees are a stunning area with challenging walks (although there are some walks in the park, many paths have some degree of exposure and scrambling). I would definitely recomend this area to others looking for an alternative to the Alps. Steve and I certainly plan on a return visit.