This is a description of the route we took round the Pyrenees. Kath will cover what we did in her diary blog. I don’t want to ‘steal her thunder’ by giving too much detail here!
Heading to the Pyrenees from Carcassone, we drove over Col de Portet d’Aspect (1069m) and Col de Mente (1349m) to spend the night at St Béat.
More Tour de France classics Col de Peyresourde (1569m), Col de Val Louron-Azet (Col d’Azet) (1580m) and Col d’Aspin (1489m)
We spent the night at Lac de Payolle.
Next day we went to top of Hourquette d’Ancizan (1564m) and returned for second night at Lac de Payolle.
Drove over Col du Tourmalet (2115m) from the east (stopping for 5 hour walk up Pic du Midi). Stayed the night at Gavarnie (end of a cul de sac road).
Next day we walked to Cirque de Gavarnie (main picture) before tackling Col d’Aubisque (1709m) via Col du Soulor (1474m) in the van. Stopped over night at old spa town of Eaux-Bonnes.
Took the Col du Pourtalet (1794m) into Spain. Then a bit of a detour through Jaca to see the monastery at San Juan de la Pena. Over Puerto de Cotefablo (1423m) to spend the night in Sarvisé.
A lovely stop at Ainsa before tackling Coll de Fadas (1470m), Coll d’Espina (1407m) and
Port de la Bonalgua (2072m). Spent the night at Rialp.
A country hopping day next. El Canto (1720m) in Spain, Port D’Envalira (2408m) in Andorra (the highest mountain pass in the Pyrenees), and Col de Puymorens (1915m) in France before spending the night in Llivia, a Spanish enclave inside France.
Next day we left Spanish Llivia, drove less than 2km through France and into Spain ‘proper’. Our last section in the Pyrenees was the mountain road across Collada de Toses (1790m) from Puigcerdà to Ribes de Freser (apparently one of, if not THE favourite drive of Clarkson!!)
From Saint-Girons in France to Ribes de Freser in Spain we covered roughly a 1,000km c-shaped route through the heart of the Pyrenees. We went over 18 cols (mountain passes), climbed a total of almost 22,000 metres and averaged around 45km/hour. We spent 8 nights free camping in the mountains.