Spain Vall de Núria, Easter 2001
|We went walking in Spain for our Easter holiday in 2001, to get away from the frustration of F&M. Sarah & Vikki joined us for the first week. Accommodation and hence the location was courtesy of Sarah’s Dad; Thanks again John.
Travelling to Queralbs
The flight was from Stanstead (booked through Go), so we stayed overnight with our friend Estelle to get an early start. We then got a train from Barcelona to Ribes de Freser and from there, a local funicular mountain railway up to Queralbs (altitude 1200m).
Day 1; Up to Núria
As an easy and very picturesque introduction, we walked up the GR-11 route from Queralbs up to Núria, an old monastery at 1960m, now converted into a Ski resort. It was sunny, hot and we saw lots of little lizards all the way up as well as the fantastic views. From there we continued further along the GR11 to a nonexistent lake at Jaça de Baix.
10km +1000m -200m
Day 2; GR-11.7 Traverse
We took the mountain railway up to Núria and from there continued along an alternative of the GR11 (GR11.7), a traverse of the most spectacular craggy mountainside. Along this route we met our first snow patches and an unexpected snake. The path took us to Refugi de Coma de Vaca, from where we descended back to Queralbs down the Gorges de Freser.
16km +350m -1100m
Day 3; Taga from Ribes de Freser
Heather & i required some shopping in Ribes and while there we nipped up a “small” mountain called Taga (2040m). While appearing small from our apartment in Queralbs, Taga’s grassy slopes were steeper than anticipated. Very hot and sunny but we somehow forgot to take any photos!
15km +1100m -1100m
Sarah & Vikki spent a restful day checking out the local waterfalls.
Day 4; Playing in the Snow
Sarah & Vikki’s last day with us. Vikki wanted to do Ice axe and crampon practice in the Coma de E’tina, a corrie above Núria. Good practice for our walk on Day 6.
4km +400m -400m
Day 5; GR-11 to Roc Malo
Waved goodbye to Sarah & Vikki and stocked up on provisions in Ribes. We spent the end of the afternoon pootling along the GR-11 the other way towards “Dead Man’s Spring”.
8km +400m -400m
Day 6; Puigmal
Ascended Puigmal (2910m – biggest thing we could find) from Núria. Weather was cold (-5ºC before wind-chill) with occasional snow showers and moderate wind. Amazing views and serious use of the Axes and crampons.
10km +1000m -1000m
Day 7; Blizzards
Plans for more serious walks were rather curtailed by an unexpected blizzard, however once we were back at Queralbs the weather improved dramatically and we checked out the local waterfall “Salts de Grill”.
8km +300m -300m
Day 8; Sicky
Further plans were curtailed by copious unusual non-alcohol induced vomiting from Heather, so more pootling ensued.
8km +500m -500m
Day 9; Traverse to Collada de Fontalba
Spent the morning cleaning our Queralbs apartment and moving up to a new apartment at Núria. In the Afternoon we traversed around the top side of the Val de Núria via de Fontalba to Cim del Pedró.
11km +320m -320m
Day 10; Gales
Last chance for a big walk, However after struggling up to the Pic de Pala (2469m) we were unable to stand up due to gale force winds. Views were great but the wind chill very bitter. A hasty retreat was made to the warmth and safety of the Coffee Shop and then we wandered further up the GR-11 in the afternoon.
8km +850m -850m
Day 11 & 12; Barcelona
42km! +200m -200m
We spent our last two days in Barcelona and discovered the architecture of Antoni Gaudí. Our first visit was to his Cathedral, Temple de la Sagrada Família which is still under construction.
the “other” cathedral
The final day was dedicated to searching for more Gaudí architecture, our first stop was the Park Güell;
And then to La Pedrera and Casa Bastlló.
Vall de Nuria the ski resort we stayed at and predominantly walked from
- Stanfords supplied us with a good 1:50000 of the area before we went from the Institut Cartografic de Catalunya (Mapa comarcal de Catalunya; Ripolles-31)
- and Nevis Sports supplied us with another 1:50000 (mapa excursionista; Puigmal-costabona)
- Once we arrived we acquired a 1:25000 of the area produced by Editorial Alpina this was by far the best of the three.
Author: Phil Newby