The Pyrenean chain stretches across the national boundary between France and Spain marking a natural geographic divide. However like many mountainous areas there are language compilations across the whole area with a mish mash of words and phrases borrowed from both countries. The Basque country (which we encounter in this area) retains its own mysterious language!
Across the whole range there is a wide range of walking opportunities with many established walking trails and a history of recreational walking much more advanced than in many other areas of Spain.
The Pyrenees West contains an area of rolling hills in the west which gently lead you into the more serious and high mountainous area nearer to the centre. Despite this there can be very lonely walking and navigation needs to be taken seriously.
Many of the hills have open grassy tops with bracken quite common. Where there is woodland then the majority of this is deciduous and not coniferous and so is still attractive walking. Most of the villages on the Spanish side range in size from tiny to substantial but almost all have some kind of accommodation. In the middle part of this area you will bump up against fellow travellers who are setting off on the Camino de Santiago, but you do not need to keep them company for long.
Access can be problematic without a car. There are almost no trains and buses seem only to radiate up the main valleys. Many of the others give up their tarmac in favour of gravel tracks to reach the highest parts, but it’s worth it!
Initially the only walks described here relate to a crossing of the GR11 – a long distance footpath running from the Atlantic coast across the Spanish side of the Pyrenees to the Mediterranean. Each of the stages is described in detail and include a gpx track. There are other descriptions of this trail – almost all in Spanish – which give limited details of accommodation and an English language guide book which is very good, but of course has no gpx tracks with it!
In the course of time it is hoped that other walks will be added here – watch this space.