Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sunny Eastern Pyrenees

Pyrenees Mountain Adventure operates in the Catalan Pyrenees Regional Nature Park which is a great destination for walkers. There is  the stunning mountain scenery -  shimmering mountain lakes, flower strewn valleys, peaks with 360° views and a huge range of walks available to suit all abilities and interests.

There is also the climate - another huge plus for the area. Mont Louis, where the Regional Nature Park has its office, has one of the best sunshine records in France with 2,875 sunshine hours per year. This can be seen in the graphic below. Mont Louis (2875) is marked at the bottom extreme of the map.

By comparison here are the yearly sunshine hours for Great Britain: England 1,457 hours; Wales 1,359 hours; Scotland 1,160 hours. (All figures from the Met Office 1971 - 2000 averages)

Holiday with Pyrenees Mountain Adventure and discover the hidden gems of the beautiful, 
sun kissed Eastern Pyrenees near Mont Louis. The Pic Carlit Challenge (4 day hut to hut trek) starts from Mont Louis.

"There is no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather." John Ruskin

Monday, May 30, 2011

Record Breaking High Altitude Plant

A flowering plant has recently been discovered at 4,505m (14,776 feet) in Switzerland. No flowering plant has ever been found at a higher altitude in Europe, announced the University of Bale.

The flower, Purple Saxifrage (Saxifraga oppositifolia) was found 40m below the summit Dom in the Valais Canton. Scientists believe that seeds from the plant were transported to this altitude by birds.

Last week while ascending the Puig de la Portella Gran in the Pyrenees, I found the same plant near the summit at 2,765m (9,069 feet). It was growing in a steep gully from the arrete leading to the summit. There were several specimins of the plant but little else in flower at this altitude.

Purple Saxifrage (Saxifraga oppositifolia) Eastern Pyrennes 24/04/2011

Back in 2008 I found Purple Saxifrage in the Devil's Kitchen, Cwm Idwal, Snowdonia.

Purple Saxifrage (Saxifraga oppositifolia) Snowdonia April 2008

Friday, May 27, 2011

Breathing Before Bleeding Before Bones.........

There are many advantages of hiring an International Mountain Leader (IML) when walking abroad. They can choose a suitable area based on your interests and plan a route based on your fitness level. Knowing the area well, the IML will be able to shorten or lengthen the route based on how you feel during the day. You will not have to worry about route finding and map reading and can relax and enjoy the scenery. The IML will also look after you and keep you safe. If there is an accident, all IML's are first aid trained. They can give first aid on the spot and will have the language skills to organise a helicopter rescue if necessary.

Helicopter of the Peloton de Gendarmerie de Haute Montagne (PGHM)

First Aid certificates must be renewed every 3 years. I spent a  hot, sunny weekend  in London earlier this month renewing my First Aid certificate. The course was run by Muir - Walker Medics and based at the Holland Park Youth Hostel. It was a wilderness first aid course with an emphasis on outdoor emergencey care for remote locations -  ideal for walkers, climbers or paddlers.

The course was well run and good fun, with lots of relevant scenarios and 'hands on' practice of skills.Thanks to all those present who helped make it so enjoyable. I still have fond memories of having my neck and head immobolised and the emergencey stretcher evacuation race which happily did not lead to a real first aid incident!

Helicopter Photo: http://www.ladepeche.fr/article/2010/02/06/771261-Aston-Le-patissier-retrouve-mort-en-montagne.html 

Muir - Walker Medics Coop: Wilderness First Aid Courses

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Alternative Royal Wedding Weekend

How did you spend the Royal Wedding Weekend? Myself and some friends, many old work colleagues from my previous life as a secondary school teacher, spent the time in the Snowdonia mountains, far from the crowds and fuss in London, far even from a television set. Even if there had been a television, there was no electricity in the accommodation to power it. There wasn't even any running water! A special, memorable weekend in so many ways. Thanks to everyone there.

Unusually for North Wales, after a grey, windy start on day 1, the sun shone! My guiding business, Pyrenees Mountain Adventure,  operates in the Eastern Pyrenees near Mont Louis which has one of the best sunshine records in France. This weekend North Wales was trying to compete.

The group chose quieter areas and/or peaks and to a large extent missed the crowds who had also decided to spend the weekend in the mountains. For us, no Snowdon or Tryfan but some great walking and beautiful views. Y Garn and Moelwyn Mawr are two of the best peaks for the views from the summit.

Bristley Ridge with Tryfan and the Crowds Behind

Great Views From the Summit of Y Garn. L to R: Pen yr Ole Wen, Lyn Ogwen, Lyn Idwal, Tryfan, Glyder Fach.

Alternative Descent from Y Garn. Two Hidden Lakes with Tryfan,  Bristley Ridge and the Glyers in the Distance.
Nantley Ridge from the Summit of Moelwyn Mawr

Price Reductions

Pyrenees Mountain Adventure offers guided summer walking and winter snowshoeing holidays in the Catalan Pyrenees Regional Nature Park. The price for the 7 night Summer Walking holiday, which is based at en eco-friendly trailside lodge and has guided walks on 5 of the 6 full days, has been reduced to £600.

Follow the link for more information about the summer walking holiday run by Pyrenees Mountain Adventure.

Come and explore the sun kissed Eastern Pyrenees with me this summer.

Stunning Scenery
Fun and Friendship
A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world.- Paul Dudley White