The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Day 15 - Orri de Baix to Refuge d'Ull de Ter (or Ulldeter)

Tuesday 26 July
10 Miles; 1400m ascent
Wall-to-wall sunshine to start, clouding in by lunchtime

Neither the cows nor the horses came down the valley to clang their bells outside of our tent last night. As such, the only disturbance was at 1am when I leapt out of bed, squealing like a girl, rather alarming Mick in the process. After a search of the tent, the cause of my alarm was found - a huge moth had decided to get into bed with me!

Unfortunately, even though I slept very well for the rest of the night, today has been dominated, and to an extent spoilt, by an excess of tiredness on my part.

An easy hour after setting off we reached Pla de la Berguda, where Martin ( had camped on his GR10 walk, and to where we had contemplated continuing last night.

To where we should have headed last night

Our opinion on getting there this morning was that it would have been worth the effort of the extra distance and ascent yesterday. We paused for a prolonged aquafaff there. It was the first of no fewer than 8 pack-off breaks today.

From there we completed our nearly- 700m ascent onto the ridge, with quite a pull up. That gave the first real indication that my legs and head did not want to play ball today. That was a shame as even through my fog of weariness I could appreciate that the ridge walk from there, which topped out at 2861m and stayed within a couple of hundred of metres of that altitude for its duration, was spectacular.

Moreover, under this morning's clear blue skies:

selfie at the day's highpoint (Mick was off somewhere inspecting (or watering) some grass

Looking back to our high point, from where the 200m descent down which we'd just come looked bigger than it had felt

Looking north from the ridge, just before Pic de la Vaca

Dropping down off the ridge into Spain, I really was ready for the day to be over, so it was a blow to find we still had another ascent. The profile in the Cicerone guide had made it look like it was all downhill from the Coll de Tirapits, although if I'd bothered looking at the paper map it would have been obvious that there was another climb - and that it really was a lot smaller than it looked.

Lunch was had just before that climb and it took great willpower not to insist on pitching the tent right there. We didn't have far to go though, so on I plodded.

We nearly stopped for the day about five or ten minutes short of the refuge, where there was a flat spot and running water, but peeking over the edge of the step in the hillside it looked like there was campable land down by the refuge, so on we went.

Refreshments were had in the refuge but they confirmed that they have no Aire de Bivouac. "You can camp" they said "as long as we can't see you." A spot had been spied by the stream just slightly back up the hill, so that's where we now are (in fact I'd nearly stopped here on our first pass, before deciding that the refuge was so close that I could manage the short out-and-back - a good decision as the cup of tea I was served there was excellent).

Here’s hoping that the energy levels have returned by tomorrow.


  1. It's a shame about your lack of energy as that's a superb walk - and you have another one tomorrow...
    Have fun!

  2. I'm still with you, but attending to other bloggers whilst backpacking oneself isn't always a priority with the vagaries of Internet etc. I just got home yesterday. I would also have shrieked at the large moth, and even more so if it had been a frog. I would have thought your photos would be showing signs of the Mediterranean influence by now - I remeber the heat and the breathless air as I drew nearer. Bonne continuation.