This blog describes my 24-day traverse of the Pyrenees from Atlantic to Mediterranean, July 2011.
The Pyrenean Haute Route is around 800km with 42,000 metres of ascent.

Map of the route | Schedule

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Day 24 - Refuge Tagnarede to Banyuls-sur-Mer

24th July 2011

HRP - Day 24

The final day! On the map this looked like a straightforward saunter down to Banyuls. But this morning I was greeted by a galeforce northerly wind as I stepped out from the shelter of Refuge de la Tagnarede. Being persistently battered by a freezing cold wind for the next few hours made the traverse to Pic Sailfort a bit of a battle.

However, as soon as I began the descent from Pic Sailfort the wind began to ease. It was strange bumping into a couple of French guys who'd just started that morning heading in the opposite direction along the GR10. They had a good month of adventures ahead of them, whereas in a few hours my journey would be over.

There is no great sense of satisfaction or pleasure at getting to the end of one of these big hikes, it's more a question of keeping focussed to the end to get the job done. When you arrive at Banyuls, nobody is interested that you've just hiked 800km from the Atlantic, so I just quietly sat by the beach for a few minutes before seeking out the train station to get away from the scorching heat and pink bodies frazzling themselves on the beach.

The biggest relief came when I arrived at the train station, bought my ticket to Girona and then slumped in the air-conditioned waiting room, knowing that I could finally relax.

View HRP - Day 24 in a larger map


Yak Hunter said...

Sounds like quite a harsh summer holiday! Hope your feet are better. And thanks for writing it up and posting your photos.

Chris said...

Hi Mary. Yes, I suppose it was quite gruelling in retrospect, but it was a challenge I'd had in the back of my mind for about 20 years, so quite pleased to have completed it.

Ken Scott said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ken Scott said...

Hi Chris
Glad you completed well, and you certainly kept up a challengling schedule. We completed in 50 days - 45 days walking and 5 days rest, which sounds pedestrian by comparison.

You commented that you thought you would catch us at Viados, and in fact we were in Salardu when you went through there on 15/7. Pity we missed each other.

best regards
... Ken

Storm said...

Too bad you didn't stop in Banyuls for a bit longer. Knowing that I was going to run and plunge into the sea with my boots still on kept me going for most of the HRP.
The next thing was to sit down with a pint, sip cold beer and try to sort out a maelstrom of emotions in my head. Only then was it time to leave.
The guy who took the photo of me laying on the beach certainly did show interest in my story and invited me to spend the night with his group of musicians, starting their own tour of the Pyrenees. It was a really nice finishing touch to this crazy adventure :)

Chris said...

It was scorchingly uncomfortable when I arrived in Banyuls, hence I didn't stop for long. I had thought about swimming in the sea, but when I arrived the beach was so packed, and I felt so out of place I preferred to keep moving and catch the nice air-conditioned train to Girona.

That said, I recently completed a 600km trek across the French Alps (GR5), and the first thing I did when I finished was to jump in the sea at Menton.