It was cold as we left the Gite this morning. Said our farewells to the Canadians and set off wearing rain/wind jackets which is the first time we've done this. Initially we climbed through lovely open farmland and saw farmers and dogs herding sheep, presumably for milking as there is a lot of sheep cheese in this area.
We went through a lot of varied countryside today and climbed through open windswept grassland to the highest point so far (Occabe) 1466 metres !! Yet again, feeling we were standing on top of the world, we had wonderful views down on sharp craggy lower peaks and mountains near and far. It seemed incredible to think that we had traversed the mountains going north/ northwest, as far as the eye could see. A few days ago when up high we could still see the Atlantic Coast but now when up high we just see mountains after mountains in that direction.
Up high today it was very windy and quite cold. Fog was forming in the forest below at one point and then drifting up the mountain looking like smoke.
We also passed intersections with other GR routes at various points along our route today. We had to remain vigilant to make sure we remained on track. At one stage we had to rely on compass bearings. After reaching the highest point we descended quite quickly into a magnificent ancient forest of oaks, draped with moss and incredible lichens and fungi -we called it elf land!
We found a sunny spot for a picnic lunch then called in at 'chalet pedro' for a hot chocolate before continuing.
The last hour and a half was mostly climbing until we reached chalet d'Iraty. This is normally a ski resort in winter but this weekend there will be a car rally and we passed many parts of the forest that have been cordoned off for the competition. Luckily we booked our accommodation well in advance... Unlike some of the other walkers who have nowhere to stay for the weekend !
We bought some supplies at a tiny store and decided to make our own dinner at the Gite. We made a fire in the fireplace and sat in front of it whilst we dried our washing.
Overcast all day. Good for walking but very cold at times. Especially in the wind.
Walkers Gite at chalet d'Iraty
Vegetable soup/ stew
Gite: €14 pp
Food from store (including dinner breakfast and lunch tomorrow) €42 for 3 people
Extraordinary lichens and fungi along the way
The hot chocolate at chalet pedro