Backpacking photos: Pyrenees 2006 (Haute Route)

I’ve uploaded the pictures I took during my walk along the Pyrenean Haute Route (High Level Route) between Borce (near Lescun) and Gavarnie in August 2006. Anyone who’d like to take a look can find them here.

10 Responses to Backpacking photos: Pyrenees 2006 (Haute Route)

  1. Gayle says:

    Absolutely cracking photos! I think that the Pyrenees may have just leapfrogged the GR5 in my ‘I want to go right now’ list.

  2. peewiglet says:

    Thanks! I’m glad you liked 🙂

    You MUST go asap! I was amazed by it, and it’s so easy to get there. I’m v. much looking forward to going back.

  3. Ian Maitland says:

    I enjoyed your hike.

  4. peewiglet says:

    Many thanks for letting me know, Ian. I’m v. glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  5. Looking for photos of walks in the Pyrenees, I came across your blog. I walked the GR10 from 2004-7 so recognise many of the places, where your route and mine crossed. Nice pictures. I am particularly interested in your tent. One of the reasons I did the GR10 rather than the HRP was the weight of my tent, which I thought was one of the lightest (2kg). I am beginning to realise that I was wrong. Is the Terra Nova laser Competition (860g, I read) strong enough to stand wind without ripping? Does it let the wind through? The main question is, is it worth the price?
    You might be interested in my book “If you only walk long enough: Exploring the Pyrenees”, an account of my route, see lulu.com

    • peewiglet says:

      Hello Steve,

      I’m glad you liked the pics. Thanks!

      The tent! Well, I’m very impressed with the Laser Competition. I’ve used it in significant wind both in the UK (Scotland, Lakes, Yorkshire) and abroad (Corsica, Pyrenees), and I’ve had no problem at all. It doesn’t let the wind through in any way, and in my view, for my purposes, it is worth the price.

      The reason I got it is that Steve Perry used one on his winter round of the Munros a couple of years ago. A winter round is a fearsome thing (in fact, Steve’s was the first–I’m not sure whether anyone’s yet done another), and he absolutely loved it. I decided that if it was good enough for that then it was good enough for me.

      It’s expensive, but my experience has been that most well-made things are expensive. It’s so light and compressible that for me it’s been well worth the price. If I lost it/it was stolen/somehow damaged I’d buy another, because I’ve not yet seen anything on the market that I’d prefer to use. The natural comparison is with the Hilleberg Akto, which is another fabulous tent. I’ve had one of those too, and the Akto has a slightly larger porch, better ventilation on the door (my Laser only opens from the bottom up: the Akto opens both at the top and the bottom: could be that the Laser has been re-designed, though I suspect not) and 1 (maybe 2–can’t remember) little side pockets inside for putting things like head torches. However, the Akto weighs 1.5kg, so it’s over 50% heavier. These things are always a matter of personal compromise, but mine falls in favour of the lighter tent, which has everything I actually need and does a great job.

      You definitely don’t need a 2kg tent these days (although you may simply prefer to carry one; if weight wasn’t a consideration I’d always go for a semi-geodesic tent (I have one for car camping and very short trips)). What did you take? I love tent talk 🙂

      I’d love to see your book, and thanks for drawing my attention to it. I’ll go and take a look at the site.

      Best wishes,

      Shirl

  6. bethweevil says:

    Hello Peewiglet 🙂
    Excellent photos of your Pyrenees backpack!
    I’m hoping to walk the same Lescun to Gavarnie section of the Pyrenean Haute route this August – about 10 days worth. I’ve got the Cicerone guide.

    I did the GR20 last august – your blog on the gr20 was fab – a good read! and was great for tips on what gear to take, food, travel etc. any similar tips, advice for the haute route? I’m hoping to find out:

    How to get there – how did you travel? (i’m hoping to be flying from Liverpool or London, or train? where to?)

    What are buses/trains public transport like? Is it easy to get from whichever airport/train to Lescun, then Gavarnie back to the airport/train?

    What is the weather like? Day/night temperatures? (how do gr20 & pyrenees compare?

    which is more hardcore – pyrenees or gr20?

    how much food you need to carry? i did rely on the huts to buy like bags of pasta, sauce, dried sausage and chocolate bars etc on the gr20 – is this the case with pyrenees?

    i’m intending to wildcamp – what did you do? any tips? we camped next to the huts on the gr20, but are hoping to wildcamp this time as i’ve read you’re allowed to. we have a terra nova voyager so would think about taking that again unless bivvying is a good idea –

    what about water sources?

    Any advice much appreciated!!

    Bethweevil 🙂

    • peewiglet says:

      Hi Beth,

      Apologies for the delay in replying. Somehow I’ve only just spotted this.

      Many thanks for your kind words on my piccies, and I’m v. glad you enjoyed my GR20 write-up.

      To the Pyrenees I flew from Manchester to Toulouse. From there I got a train to Lourdes, and then a bus (or maybe a couple) to (I think) Borce. Bear in mind that there might be more flight options available now. I’d have gone for Livepool had I been able to, as it’s more convenient for me.

      There’s quite a good network of small buses connecting many of the villages on the GR10. I looked buses and trains up on this site by entering various destinations in order to see which ones would come up. I did find it pretty easy to get from Toulouse out to the start, and back again. In order to avoid faffing with timings I had a night in a Toulouse hotel in each direction, but from memory I think it might have been possible to avoid that.

      The weather was lovely. I think I found Corsica a little hotter, but it was rockier and perhaps that was part of the reason. Spain was noticeably hotter than France. I’m going from memory but I’d say it was in the mid to high 80s most of the time during the day. I can’t remember what the night time temperatures were but I know I wasn’t cold even though I had only a light sleeping bag in my Laser Competition tent.

      The GR20 was more hardcore than the Haute Route trips I’ve done, but doing the whole Haute Route (or even certain parts of it) would be more hardcore than the GR20. Really it depends on where, and when, you go. I found some really excellent guide books, which you’ll come across if you go to Amazon and look for ‘Haute Route’ and Pyrenees.

      I did a podcast with Andy Howell a couple of years ago, in which we discussed the various guidebooks and maps and things. You might find it helpful, in which case you can find it in the right hand column of this page under ‘My Podcasts’–it’s the Book Club (Pyrenees) one.

      I didn’t carry a great deal of food as I wanted to eat in the huts in order to meet people. I didn’t try to buy food there to cook in the tent so I’m not sure whether it’s available. Certainly evening meals and breakfast are available to both those who stay in the huts and those who camp outside, though.

      Wild camping is allowed in the Pyrenees, subject to certain restrictions that you’ll have come across if you’ve had a chance to do some research. I can’t remember them offhand (I think they’re about height, and time of pitch) but almost certainly Andy and I mentioned them in that podcast. I took my Laser Competition and found it perfect. You could bivvy if you prefer, but I’d rather have the additional shelter that comes with a tent.

      I don’t remember having a problem with water sources at any stage. I think I must have filled up at the Refuges. I used a 2L Platty, but many people would want to carry more than that.

      I hope you see this unless you’ve already found the info you needed. Don’t hesitate to ask if you think I might have more info that might assist. Have a great time! ♥

  7. Martin says:

    Hi!
    I enjoyed your photos. I am hiking the HRP this July and am definitely looking forward to it. From your photos, I noticed that you finished in Toulouse. How many weeks did it take you?

    • peewiglet says:

      Hi there,

      I just went for two weeks, as sadly I didn’t have time to try to do the whole thing. I’m glad you enjoyed my pictures, though, and wish you the very best of luck for later in the year 🙂 I wish I was going!

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