Pyrenees flora and fauna book

New Pyrenees wildflower and fauna guidebook in English

A superb new book on Pyrenees wildlife in English has been published and is a must for any nature lover visiting the Pyrenees. This is very welcome as Pyrenees specific books on flora or fauna in English were nearly impossible to come by before.

Wildlife of the Pyrenees guidebook

What’s even better is that this a fantastic guide with 910 species illustrated. What I really like is that the guide covers a bit of everything with sections on flora, birds, snakes, lizards, insects, mammals, fish, trees, mushrooms and butterflies. There are even a couple of pages on the main livestock species found here so you can now identify the cows, sheep and horses that you see while out hiking too! It really is a great all round guide.

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Lady's slipper orchid - Cypripedium calceolus

Lakes and Valley’s flora specific week

We all know that the flowers here in the Pyrenees are spectacular, particularly during June. With this in mind along with knowing that many of our guests love combining hiking with the study of the all the beautiful flowers here, we decided a flower specific Lakes and valleys week would be ideal.

We were joined by 4 hiking flower enthusiasts and information was shared back and forth all week. Much time was spent on our knees studying and photographing the various flowers. Special ‘finds’ this week include the Woodcock Orchid, Birds Nest Orchid and Lady’s slipper Orchid. Thank you for a great week everyone, we hope to have another week like this next year.

Listed below each photo is the common and scientific name of many of the flowers studied this week…

 

 

Our first evening all together

Hike Pyrenees 10 year anniversary week

They say that time flies when you’re having fun. Well, Hike Pyrenees is now in it’s 10th season of running hiking holidays in the Spanish Pyrenees, and those 10 years have flown by very quickly! To celebrate this, we put on a special hiking holiday, based in the lovely medieval town of Ainsa, for those that had been with us before. The result was the Hike Pyrenees team being joined by 24 familiar faces for the week. Many of whom have been on multiple holidays over the years and all of whom we would definitely consider to be good friends.

Whilst we have often visited Ainsa with guests, normally for a meal out during our Discover Ordesa weeks, we hadn’t used it as a base for a whole week before, so Hannah and I (Ken) spent much of the week before researching suitable hikes with the aim of being able to offer either two or three different hikes each day. It’s a tough job researching hikes, but someone has to do it!

Our first evening all together

Our first evening all together

With hikes, restaurants and logistics all in place, there was nothing to do but to let the week unfold. It was great to see so many familiar faces around the dining table on the Sunday evening.

On Monday, we kicked off the hiking, with Phil and Javier taking one half of the group a little way south, to the Castillos de Samitier. This walk gave everyone fantastic views of the high mountains to the north, as well as passing two beautiful chapels and the ruins of ancient Moorish castle towers. Meanwhile, Hannah and I took the rest up to Plan, from where we hiked up to the stunning Ibon de Plan, nestled in amongst the high Pyrenean mountains. That evening, we were treated to a buffet dinner, with local wines, at the local delicatessen. Part the way though the evening, Joe, Madaline, Paul, Barbara, Cathy and Bob burst into song with their own version of ‘There’s no business like show business’, which they had been working on for some time. Their rendition was entitled ‘There’s no business like Phil’s business’!

The following day, Phil visited the Anisclo Canyon. The Anisclo Canyon is an impressive water-worn canyon that runs 22km south from the Collado de Anisclo. Hannah and her team visited a waterfall and swimming hole in the Valle de Sieste, south of Boltana, and I took our team to the eastern flanks of Cotiella, where we hiked up to Refugio Armena and back. We dined in Hotel Sanchez, in the new town that evening.

Wednesday saw us all hiking in the Valle de Pineta. Phil and his team headed up to the Cascadas de Lalarri, whilst Hannah and I took our team from Espierba, up onto the broad ridge above, where we eventually joined the GR11 and made our way to the Circo de Pineta. I took a small team up Comodoto 2361m en route. The vistas from the ridge were nothing short of spectacular, with the steep cliffs of the north face of Las Tres Marias and Tres Seroles dominating our views.

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Hiking stretches

5 Exercises you can do in your hotel room after a hike to avoid aches and pains

After a long day on the winding, demanding and beautiful hiking trail, returning to your hotel room can feel like stepping into paradise. However, before you soak your aching limbs in a hot bath or flop on the comfort of your hotel bed, stop and stretch those burning muscles. If you don’t, you’ll pay for it by either the inability to get out of bed the next day or, worse, sudden injury.

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Snowshoeing in Candanchu

Snowshoeing in Candanchu

What are you thinking about doing this weekend?

I wondered the same question last week and I decided to go snowshoeing. On the border with France, at the head of the Valle de Canfranc there are some fantastic snowshoeing routes.

Fresh tracks in the snow

Making fresh tracks in the snow – fantastic!

I decided to go to “El Bosque de las Hayas” or Beech Forest; between Candanchu and France. You can park at the ski resort and head out from there.
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Hiking, cycling, nature and life in the Pyrenees