Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Pic Carlit Challenge July 2014

Steve recently completed the 4 day Pic Carlit Challenge with Pyrenees Mountain Adventure and had a great time summiting Pic Carlit on Day 4 (2921m/9583 feet).

Steve with the Twin Perics in the distance. Ascended both on Day 2.

In his own words:

What a fantastic week! 
Having walked mainly in England, I maybe underestimated the 'Challenge' part of the Pic Carlit Challenge. Four days walking and four nights wild camping (my choice). Wow! But it was worth each single drop of sweat and every aching muscle. 
Thanks Paul for your magnificent leadership. Your comprehensive knowledge of the area, not only in respect of the navigation but also the flora and fauna, was impressive. It was great that your itinerary was so flexible, even providing opportunities for some extra peak bagging. 
Your extraordinary patience, without being patronising, certainly inspired me to achieve more than I thought I was capable of.  It was really easy to get on with you. You were sociable but instinctively knew when I needed space to myself. It was an experience that will remain with me always. 
Good luck for future expeditions.


Summit of Grand Peric

Sunrise from campsite on morning of Day 3

Campsite the morning of Day 4

360 degree panorama from the summit of Pic Carlit

More information about completing the trek with Pyrenees Mountain Adventure can be found here:!pyrenees-summer-treks/c15px
Steve chose to complete the 4 day trek with wild camps (carrying all his food, stove and fuel, tent and sleeping bag) but the option exists to stay in mountain huts each night meaning a less heavy rucksack.

Pyrenees D of E Gold Expedition July 2014 with Simon Langton School, Canterbury.

Team Wizards

Team Fat Fingers
A group of 12 students from Simon Langton Boys School made the journey from Canterbury to the Eastern Pyrenees to complete their 4 day/3 night Gold D of E Expedition with Pyrenees Mountain Adventure.

The trip included a training day before and a rest and relaxation day (visiting the castle in Carcassonne) after the of the expedition. (2 - 8 July  2014)

In the the words of the assessor:

(*Insert name*) and (*his/her*) team successfully completed one of the most arduous Gold expeditions I have assessed. The expedition was centred around the Puig Peric, deep in the French Pyrenees mountains. The team averaged 10 hour mountain days, reaching a height of 2600m on their 3rd day. 
(*Insert name*) and (*his/her*) team demonstrated great personal determination, which was enhanced by a fantastic sense of teamwork and camaraderie. Despite very tough conditions, including torrential rain, thunder, lightning, snow patches, high temperatures and extremely difficult terrain at times, (*Insert name*) and (*his/her*) team remained in high spirits, keeping each other motivated through humour, encouragement and obvious great friendship. Small but important lessons were learnt in navigation and campsite selection, but all in all a brilliantly executed Gold expedition, which really embodied the ethos of the award. 
A huge note of thanks to the 1st class safety supervision team who made it possible.
Mo! ML
Fantastic scenery - Pic Carlit

Wildlife - Mouflon

Challenging Weather conditions on Day 4

Post expedition rest and relaxtion. Visting Carcassonne Castle

The staff Dream Team reunited again

Commemorative Chemin de la Liberté/Freedom Trail July 2014

This years Commemorative Freedom Trail (10 - 13 July 2014) saw over a 100 people walking along one of the World War 2 escape routes from France into Spain. Mainly from England and France but over 10 countries represented.

Snow conditions meant that walking into Spain across the border was not possible on Day 4. Instead walkers were bused to Esterri for the end of walk celebrations.

We walked in the footsteps of the escapees and evaders (among them shot down Allied airmen, Jews, and young French men called up for forced labour) attempting to escape Nazi oppression during World War 2 and the helpers that guided them across the Pyrenees.  We walked and we remembered.......

Photos copyright R. Eychenne

 Photos copyright E. Aromin

Facebook page for 2014 Commemorative Chemin/Freedom Trail

Thursday, March 6, 2014

World Book Day Today

Carved book landscape by Guy Laramee. More great book art at

Andorra: Top 10 Mountain Facts

New and exclusive to Pyrenees Mountain Adventure this summer - the Andorra 5 Peaks Challenge. The highest 5 peaks in Andorra in 5 days. Looking for a challenge in 2014? You just found it!
Contact me for more information at or find more information at

Andorra is the smallest country in Europe (468 square km/181 square miles) and situated between France and Spain in the Eastern Pyrenees. There is no airport or railway and no coastline.

There were 69,758 inhabitants in 2012 with a population density of 167 inhabitants per square kilometer. The geological center is near Encamp. Andorra was neutral during World War 2 with many crossing the border from France to escape Nazi persecution.

1. There are 72 peaks over 2 000 meters/ 6 561 feet            
2. The average height is 1 996 meters/ 6 549 feet
3. The highest point is the mountain Coma Pedrosa 2 942 m/ 9 652 feet and the lowest point is Riu Runer 840 metres/ 2 756 feet where the main road out of Andorra crosses into Spain.

Pic Coma Pedrosa
4. The country has the highest capital city in Europe - Andorra la Viella (1 023 metres / 3 356 feet)
5. The border with Spain and France is 120km/ 74 miles.
6. 75% of the border is over 1 829 metres/6 000 feet. Only 1.5km/1 mile is below  914 metres /3 000 feet. The border with France is not physically marked on the ground with border markers, unlike the border between France and Spain.
6. There are 72 lakes. The largest is the Estanys de Juclar 23 hectares/56.8 acres in the north east.

Juclar Lakes
7. There are 2 Nature Parks which equal 5% of the land area.
(Sorteny 1 080 hectares/ 2 669 acres and Coma Pedrosa 1 543 hectares/ 3 813 acres)
8. There is one Unesco World Heritage Site which equals 10% of the area.
(Madriu valley 4 247 hectares/ 10 494 acres.)

The Madriu Valley
9. The highest 5 peaks are Pic Coma Pedrosa, Roca Entravessada, Pic de l'Estanyo, Pic de la Serrera and Pic de la Medacorba.
10.Pic de la Medecorba is a tri point - the borders of  France, Spain and Andorra meet at the summit.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Edward Stourton Walking the Chemin de la Liberté/Freedom Trail
Click on the photo to open the article.
Edward Stourton made a BBC4 radio programme about the Chemin de la Liberté which included his experience of walking from France into Spain along the escape route. The material was later incorporated into his book Cruel Crossing (2013). At the end of the BBC article you will find a link to the Radio 4 programme.

Want to follow in Edward Stourton's footsteps and make the crossing from France into Spain on one of the hardest World War 2 escape routes? Contact me at

Friday, January 10, 2014

Simon Beck Snow Art

Interview with Simon Beck showing how he creates his large scale snow art 'pictures' while snowshoeing.(Click on picture. Interview opens in another window)

Simon Beck Snow Art Facebook page

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Bears - Myths and Realities

The exhibition at the Natural History Museum in Toulouse 'Bears - Myths and Realities' was interesting, enjoyable and at the same time thought provoking.

The 8 species of bear around the world were introduced using stuffed bears and then the exhibition went on to concentrate on the brown bear in the Pyrenees and the relation between bears and humankind from the stone age to the present. At one time revered and 'king' of the animals, the brown bear was demonised from the middle ages and hunted to near extinction. The population of brown bears in the Pyrenees was thought to be unsustainable so bears were introduced from Slovenia. Bear cubs are being born but the bear population remains too small at around 25.

Skeleton of  the Pyrenean brown bear Papillon.
I was surprised by the size of the brown bear skeletons.The skeleton of Papillon who lived to the age of 28, which is very old for a bear in the wild, was smaller than I had expected although the claws were enormous.

Scan of a young, healthy brown bear
Scan of brown bear Papillon's skull  who died aged 28.
The scan of a healthy brown bear skull was contrasted with the skull of the old male brown bear (Papillon). The difference in the state of the teeth was very clear.

This quote suggesting that how we have treated the brown bear, and continue to treat it is, reflects badly on ourselves summed up the pro bear bias. The anti bear arguments from hill farmers with animals to rear, one side of a continuing heated debate, were not touched on .

The exhibition Bears - Myths and Realities is at the Natural History Museum in Toulouse until 30th June 2014.

Happy New Year

The Pyrenees Mountain Adventure team wishes you a year full of  magic mountain moments.

Have a look at the new 'mobile device friendly' website for the new holidays that Pyrenees Mountain Adventure is running in 2014.