Walking the GR10 in Summer 2000

Eventually I will fill this in properly but for now I suggest you look here for a good writeup.  They did at an impressive speed as well.

Vague notes on the GR10 written 5 years after doing the walk.  Most of these are notes to myself which will be merged in when Adrian FINALLY TYPES IN HIS NOTES!  Subtle hint there.

Day 1:

Henday - Olhette
The trickiest bit of navigation was getting out of Henday, we had lunch at Venta d'Inzola which is a cluster of shops along a roadside in the middle of nowhere.
I can't remember exactly where we stayed after the first day of walking but it was a bunkhouse off to the left of the route and towards the end of a wooded section. .

We split the next two sections into three, no point being too keen when there is another 2 months of walking ahead!

Day 2: Olhette - Ainhoa

A long ascent into low cloud and rain where we got totally lost, after much wandering around in the murk we found some locals who directed us in the right direction.  There was a vital left turn somewhere which we totally failed to find.  We had lunch in a town (Sare?) and then wimped out of the afternoon climb and just kept to the road for several miles in the torrential rain.  We arrived in Ainhoa dripping wet to find that it was in the middle of some festival and everyone was pointing their radios out into the street for a town wide party.  Sadly the Gite had closed years ago so we had to camp but it is a reasonable sized place and on a normal day you should be able to find somwhere to stay.

Day 3: Ainhoa - Ferme Esteben

Awoke to rain bashing against the tent, cooked some porridge and grimly headed off for a high level ridge day.  In general ridge walking is the best you can get but it does loose some of the appeal when visibility is 10-20m in fog and heavy rain.  The day starts with an easy ascent pass stations of the cross before heading out along a stream ( probably a path in better weather) sometimes along the French-Spanish border.  We found a farmhouse high up on the ridge who provided us with hot thick soup which was wonderfull!  Eventually the rain stopped and we descended down the right side of the ridge down a very steep slope to a road through the woods and eventually to a town.  It took us a while to find somewhere to stay here but after 2 sodden days camping was not out first choice, eventually we found ourselves in a place we called 'Faulty Towers' which was chaotic but at least we had the chance to abuse the towels to dry most of out kit.  We actually used some cord to set up a long clothes line across the hotel room and drip dried the worst stuff.

Day 4: Somewhere - St Etienne De Baigorry

Sunshine at last!
A tough ascent to an impressive ridge with vultures circling on the updraughts from a cliff on the left. Guide books state that the only water is below a large tree just after the Pic de Buztanzelhay which is true enough although the tree is so big that there is no danger of missing it.  Admire the vultures floating at the top of the cliff.
This was a fine days walking with superb views, easy navigation an no rain!

Day 5: St Etienne De Baigorry

St Etienne De Baigorry - Saint Jean Pied De Port

Saint Jean Pied De Port - Beherobie

Slight hickup here when I lost my camera but it did mean that we started a great section of the walk from a better base.  Zig zag road up a hill. Slight navigational oddity about turning left or right.  Highest peak so far.  Long descent through a forest with a widely dispersed school party slogging it up - we told them all that it is nearly the top even those miles down!  Food in a valley with some cows then up the far side to a high misty town.

Beherobie - Col Bagarguiac

Col Bagarguiac - Logibar

Logibar - Sainte Engrace

Deep limestone gorge with hanging bridge.  Poor quote : 'there is no more up for a while'

Pic d' Anie - detoured here, dumped packs and climbed it in the swirling mist.  The scenery changes dramatically into jagged mountains. Pic du Midi is visible from here as it gradually creeps closer - takes another week to get there though.

Man with horse on top of a ridge before Pic du Midi suddenly appears in closeup.

Rain prevented us climbing Pic du Midi.

Ariege - Scenic but empty.  Food and fuel for the stove got tricky here but there are some large detours that can be skipped to keep the load down to about 4 days food.

Luchon - Stock up on food here.  Beware little old ladies who drain your strength.

The food shops in Fos have closed!  Abandon hope all ye who enter the Ariege planning to stock up here.

Fos - Refuge manned by a clone of  Dave Routledge - heavy rain and expensive cheese.

Pic Carlitte

Only fools climb up the western scree especially with a full pack!  Good view from the top though and excellent wild camping by the lakes before you get to the big hotel.


The official route does not go over the top of  Canigou but I recommend doing it.  You start by passing a huge wooden head then up a valley to a steep scramble which comes out onto the top.  The descent down the far side is easy and about 10 miles on there is the best Cabane we found anywhere on the trip.

loads of ups and downs in stunning scenery with overly heavy packs
Creative cookery with gnarley sausage and random veg

Banyuls Sur Mer