I am sitting on the bus (which is spending most if its time going off on side trips to train stations and waiting at French tolls) wondering what I’m doing here. Maybe should have stayed a few extra days in Provence! Got caught up organising it all and before I knew it I was going. So I missed the chance for an afternoon climb with Lea from Annot, a day of getting organised with groceries and some Internet stuff I need to do (not to mention fixing my boots), and probably a nice evening flight before meeting up with Martin for some vol biv and/or having a look at the nearby British champs.
Anyway I’m hoping the momentum will start to build for this Pyrenees trip, which has some great potential. I’m going to work along from Latour de Carol on the French border along a valley system leading to the acro Mecca of Organya in Spain. The forecast is good so it just depends on the local conditions, and me! I’m kind of expecting a massive valley headwind, and I’m fearing lack of water, lack of food (our last experience of Spanish refuges is that they aren’t nearly as accommodating as the French), bad wind and rocky prickly launches. Hitching is also expected to be a far cry away from the convenient experience in France, however there should be a steady stream of pilots heading that way so it might just work.
While there’s plenty of mountains around to distract me, Organya should provide me the opportunity to hone my canopy skills and hopefully learn a few tricks, without going over the top. (Well, maybe just in a literal sense!!)
Other ideas in the pipeline are linking two other famous sites in the Pyrenees (Ager and Castellon) hopefully with some good cross country flying and a night or two on the mountain. We’ll see.
A few tips for next time – remember the supermarket / boulangerie siesta if you don’t want to miss out on a baguette with a tub of… Pistachio flavoured ice cream. Overpriced / undersized yoghurt drink and vending machines in the Gare de Aix doesn’t quite cut it. Maybe Toulouse will redeem itself with a late night kebab..?!
Postscript: The Catalonian mountains were dry and hilly looking, it was hot and stable, so I just hitched instead. Actually quite successfully. My 4th lift offered me to fly from his mountain village into Organya. While this was not possible that afternoon (strong winds, gorges, impossible glide, power lines etc) I did have a fantastic dinner with them and flew off the nearby mountain around midday the next day.
Brilliant. Not all the way to Organya but the first car stopped, and after a good lunch he chauffeured me around for the rest of the day, while I struggled to speak Spanish, and left me to fly a relaxing 3 hours in the evening over Organya. Not bad at all.