I found an orchid that I’d not seen before earlier this week – an Autumn Lady’s Tresses (Spiranthes Spiralis). It’s a short orchid (around 15 cm) with tiny flowers (only around 6mm) that spiral around the stem in a very attractive way.
Autumn Lady’s Tresses – Spiranthes Spiralis
It’s not in my Pyrenees flower books so took a bit of research to find out what it was. It likes calcareous soil and I think a more mediterranean climate than we get in most of the Pyrenees.
I ‘m hiking in Navarra with Javier for a few days checking routes for our Western Pyrenees holiday. Today we hiked up the peak of Ori which is the first 2000m peak of the Pyrenees.
Views across the Pyrenees
This weekend Biescas town hall is running a series of guided orchid and flora walks. They’re led by Jose Miguel who has written 7 books on Pyrenean flora.
The orchid on the advert is a woodcock orchid – one of the fascinationg Ophrys family of orchids. Each variety is highly specialised to attract only one certain type of insect – the flower mimics the look of the insect and even gives off a scent resembling the female insects pheremone in order to attract male insects who pollenate the flower.
They walks are free to join and really interesting (and make for great Spanish practise!).
I was hiking up Punta del Pacino at the weekend which is one of my favourite peaks in the valley – not high at 1965 metres but with a fantastic position right in the centre of the valley and you get superb views in all directions from the summit. The lower sunny slopes are covered in elder flowered orchids and spring gentians.
Summit views from Punta del Pacino
This is the view looking south west over Embalse de Escarra to the Sierra de Partacua. Still a lot of snow higher up but most peaks around 2000 metres have only patchy snow. Higher than this there is still a lot of snow – particularly along the route of the GR11.
The season is well underway here in the Pyrenees and we’ve had a couple of Lakes & Valleys guided walking holidays as well as lots of guests doing self guided walking holidays. We’ve been blessed with some fantastic early season weather with lots of warm sunny days and perfect views.
Punta del Pacino has – as always – been one of our most popular walks with it’s fantastic panoramic views from the summit.
Walking in the Valle La Ripera near Panticosa
Woodcock Orchid – Ophrys Scolopax
Ophyrs orchids attract male bees by imitating the shape, colour and scent of female bees. Each orchid is specialised to be pollinated by only one type of bee. Read an interesting article on the bbc today about bees cross pollinating different orchids creating hybrids. Continue reading
Walking under the cliffs of the Sierra de Partacua
Last week Jenny, Donna and Caroline joined us for a Lakes & Valleys guided walking holiday. We had superb weather particularly for the first half of the week and had great mountain views with clear blue skies overhead. Continue reading