Today we entered the Pyrenees National Park and if I thought the scenery was good before this was on a whole new level. I must have taken 25 pictures but could have taken many many more but sadly there doest appear to be enough WiFi to upload them to the blog.
Today was always going to be special as there were 2 big highlights of the trip. The Chemin de Mature and the pic de Midi Ossau. The Chemin de Mature is a cutting in the rock which runs for about 5 Km around the valley side. In some places it is less than 4 feet wide. That means it was less than the length of my walking poles and it had a 150-200 Meter drop at the side of it. So I ask my friends from the transport industry, would you stand on a pallet 200 meters in the air. I expect the answer is Non Monsuir. The path was created so the French Navy could gather timber from the Forest in the upper Valley. It is truly truly spectacular. If only I could upload the pictures.
It’s funny what goes through your mind when you are on your own and you don’t have much to do. After the Chemin de Mature I reached a really steep section and as I had my head down climbing I though about a French family who.had stayed in the Gite last night. The ruc-sacs they had were massive. It’s an exaggeration to say I could have fit in but it’s no exaggeration to say my daughter Vicky would. Also they had more gear on the outside than on the inside. why do they need all that gear? Pointless I thought. It’s like that bloke that runs the Great North Run carrying a Fridge. At least he is raising money for a charity. That lead me to think about Rob. Rob is the guy I met a few days ago in Lescun from Ashbourne. Rob is a type one diabetic. We got talking about diabetes and how it is a massive problem for the NHS. He told me he had to carrying all his medication and keep it cool. I thought he could do with the bloke with fridge. Just then I heard a noise on the path ahead and look up just Un time to see a mule train coming down quickly A lady hearding 3 donkeys down the path laden with gear. She had a small day pack and I thought you can pack light if you have got a big Ass!. It was priceless moment.
It is really strange how the mind works as seeing the lady remained me of my father in law Jim Howley. Jim is a lovely man who would not hurt a fly and in saying that I a reminded of the time my mother in law, Maureen found a rat in one of the kitchen draws. Obviously the pest control people were called but Jim was feeding it until they arrived. The connection was that the lady with the mules was wearing wellies. There was I worrying about my feet in my expensive walking shows and she was walking up and down the same mountains in Wellies. By all accounts Jim was not a bad footballer but he tells me he had to play in cut down wellies because they couldn’t afford proper boots. Our generation don’t know how lucky we are.
I was certainly lucky. I saw more interesting things on this day alone than some people will see in a life time. Pictures will be uploaded eventually.
I was lucky enough to meet 4 people from Bristol later in the day at the refuge D’ayous. Two of the group now live out here and they were showing their friends the sights. I can only take my visitors up Hope Hill. One of them kindly gave me the blister plasters from his first aid kit. Thank you. He told that the weather forecast for tomorrow is good and the scenery will be better than today…I can’t wait.