Day eight – Cirque de Gavarnie

Today was the day my parents starting driving back up north, so we said our goodbyes in the morning and finished up on the campsite. Having topped up the water tanks and given Ruby a bit of a wash, we headed back the way we had come. We turned off towards Viscos again where we had stayed the night previously, but this time continued past our previous camping spot and on towards Gavarnie. We wanted to do one of the walks around the famous Cirque de Gavarnie, very close to the Spanish border.

After around an hour we arrived and parked up in the small village.

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The walk started off on the main path towards the mountains, but soon heading uphill on small footpath, with views back down to the valley.

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The path climbed pretty relentlessly for just under an hour. Soon after the start we crossed over a waterfall. P1000284

The views back to the town getter better the more we climbed.

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The path continues to zig zag up the hillside.

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There’s still lots of spring flowers throughout the woodland on the way up. Taking close up photos is an excuse to get my breath back.

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Very nearly at the top of the climb.

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Pretty much the high point for the walk, the path splits here with one route continuing along the side of mountain and the other heading up to what we think is some kind of mountain refuge which you can just see in the mid left of the picture.

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We continue to the right, soon to pass a ski chalet and cross another river. The town is just visible through the trees in the valley below. P1000300

We continue on as the paths follows the hillside, dropping steadily. It passes under large cliff overhangs which are a bit wet.

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Soon we get a view all the way back down the valley, and you can just about make out Ruby with my camera on full zoom!

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As we near the farthest point of the walk the mountains come fully into view. Looking rather cold and very very high. It’s hard to get a sense of scale, especially when the top peak is covered in cloud, but they are an impressive sight.

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From here the path begins to follow the river back down the valley, we take this briefly but then soon take a more minor route to the right as the main path is quite busy, and a bit boring.

This path winds through the trees soon coming to the river from mountains and crossing it. P1000316

Continuing on the terrain is completely different. No more rugged cliff faces, instead we have almost a golf course perfect lawn, which a small stream cuts sedately through. P1000321

We spot some birds in the trees ahead, I think this is a Jay?

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Having followed this path down for a while, it then rejoins the more major route. This means there is a bar and it’s open, we stop for a much needed refreshment. Normally the most unprepared of hillwalkers, we had been better recently, we had started taking water with us on walks. Today we forgot, so a beer had to make do.

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Arriving back at the van.

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We then headed off up a small mountains dead end road out of the village to park up for the night.

We were going to go further down the road, but a large snow drift stopped us. So we ended up here.

Lee found a rather shabby firefit pit and that was that.

He busied himself with fire preparations, while I tried to blog with no real internet. we had a brief interlude which featured and emergency wine run to village, only to find a bottle magically fall out of the rock and roll bed. Still, you can’t have too much I suppose.

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