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Section Four – Complete

Tue 27 Jul 2010 07:17 » Jon

The weather has been a constant source of concern now for the forty-three days since I began walking at the Atlantic (I may have already mentioned it once or twice) but one thing we haven’t had to deal with too much so far is extreme temperatures. The last few days though have been grey, windy and unbelievably cold – we’ve been walking in fleeces, hats and gloves, and sleeping wearing socks and hats.

The temperature fell surprisingly as we arrived in Llorts on Friday, was even colder at Cabana Serrera (2200m) on Saturday, and coldest of all at Refugi de Juclà (2300m) on Sunday night. I don’t normally have anything hot for breakfast but the last few mornings I’ve been very grateful for the hot chocolate sachets that Sarah left me last week.

Waking up in a tent, the first question is almost always “Is there any condensation?” There doesn’t seem to be any consistency to the answer but it’s generally worse when it’s cold, unless there’s a decent wind, so we’ve been packing away wet tents the last few days.

The skies have been mainly overcast the last few days so the temperature has only risen very briefly when the sun has poked through the clouds, otherwise we’ve been keeping well wrapped up. We’re now at a campsite in l’Hospitalet-près-l’Andorre, and are still wearing almost everything we own. Somewhat surprisingly the other campers aren’t wearing as much, so we’re beginning to wonder if the reason we feel so cold is because we’ve got less fat to keep us warm!

We had a long day (by our standards) on Sunday, getting from the cabana to Refugi de Juclà, with three big climbs through the valleys opposite the ski-resort of Soldeu. Despite the cold, the tourist were out in force – we saw loads of families and some big groups too.

Yesterday was a shorter day but, after 10 days, we were both feeling a bit jaded so took it slowly and arrived in l’Hospitalet around 15:30. Both days were grey and threatening, but we’ve been quite lucky dodging the worst of the rain.

We’re now on a campsite, preparing for the final section of the trip, and dreaming of the sand on the beach at Banyuls-sur-Mer, which is hopefully only 10 days walk away. The other thing we’re preparing for is the break-up of the partnership, as Klaas is planning a different route to Banyuls and aiming to finish a few days later than me, so from here on we’re both going to be solo again.

The first photo is a small snowman I had to build to keep the blog’s youngest reader (three) happy. Unfortunately snow is getting harder to find and he was crafted in the middle of a boulder field at 2400m, so there weren’t any twigs to use for his arms. As a result the arms are made of stones and look a bit special, so I called him Joey.

The second and third photos are to satisfy further requests regarding my abilities with a needle. The priority with both the tent and the rucksack straps was function rather than form…

The fourth photo shows the mended hip belt, and also the bite the bear took out of my flip-flop!


  1. The bear must have been very hungry to take a chunk out of your flip flop ;-)
    Keep up the good work, sad to hear you and Klaas are splitting up :-(

    Comment by Chief Otter — July 27, 2010 @ 8:52 am

  2. I was interested to hear about the bear eating your food. I had a similar event except it was seagulls and they ate everything , cornflakes, bacon bread , butter and the beans(the tin had been opened previously).
    I hope you have a great walk on the final stretch to the sea.
    Cheers IanD.

    Comment by Ian Douglas — July 27, 2010 @ 11:41 am

  3. hello jon,
    i will thank you for supporting Klaas during les étappes, i hope he was not joking to much, have a good trip for the last days and enjoy Banyuls and the sand, very nice place,perhaps Klaas and i will see you in the future, thanks again, Hedwig

    Comment by hedwig — July 27, 2010 @ 12:36 pm

  4. Chief, no idea what the bear was thinking – wouldn’t have thought flip-flop was that tasty… Breaking up with Klaas is going to be traumatic but it’s mutual -we’ve agreed it’s best for both of us.

    Ian, I hope the seagulls near the Med aren’t that aggressive!

    Comment by Jon — July 27, 2010 @ 1:01 pm

  5. Hi Hedwig, it’s been great fun walking with Klaas – lots of joking, but very reassuring to be with someone with so much experience when things were tricky. It would be great to meet you sometime and see Klaas again!

    Comment by Jon — July 27, 2010 @ 1:07 pm

  6. Great sewing Jon – was that training from us or the Cub Scouts? HUGE THANKS to Klaas for keeping you company. Hope the young reader likes the mini snowman – not bad for late July.

    Comment by Mum — July 27, 2010 @ 4:21 pm

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