He Who Would Valiant Be…

Day 1. St Jean Pied de Port to Orisson

Some folks would possibly have taken a day or two to rest from two weeks of travelling before walking up a very big hill… but that’s not my style.

Yesterday I was driving home from four amazing days in Barcelona, singing vintage songs for the poshest of posh tea parties on the poshest of posh yachts… and today I managed to bag a top bunk at Orisson Refuge… half way up a mountain in the Pyrenees.

Jaqui and Sarah arrived at our house promptly at 7.30 am… and whilst the girls bounced around with excitement, my wonderful Gerry loaded the rucksacks in the boot of the car… we scraped the ice off the windscreen ( it might be spring in SW France but it was -1) and then drove us down to St Jean Pied de Port … and for the 4th time hugged me and made me promise to stay safe.

I’ve not spent 24 hours at home since the 14 April and I have no idea what keeps pulling me back here… but no matter… I am back… walking through these majestic mountains, rucksack on my back, camera in hand, looking for yellow arrows.


The walk was still tough but not as much as last time.  The sun was shining too and you could see for miles and miles and miles across to the snowy peaks. That clear sky however comes at a price… it’s really cold.  I warmed up on my top bunk seriously debating forgoing the shower… it might be hot water but the walk from bed to shower involves going outside and I just couldnt face it… but with a the communal dinner looming I decided I should just go and be Valiant.

Once clean-ish we moved to the bar and warmed our hands on hot drinks.  Slowly the room filled and dinner arrived.  We sat chatting to Canadians and Californians… there are lots on this trip.  One guy from Somerset… a few from Oz and a sprinkling of Dutch.  There are a family from South Korea travelling with 2 small boys… indeed there were perhaps a dozen people from South Korea.  Anyway… a different mix from the last supper at Orrison.

We shared a few wines with the Canadians… and tentatively agreed to find a meadow in the morning and run across it, Julie Andrews style singing the Hills are Alive… obviously that was not really going to happen!! but we laughed a lot over the idea.

And so to bed… there’s an even bigger hill to climb tomorrow.

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