Trip 1: a reconnaissance from Las Illas of a direct route between bm559 (Col de Manrell) and bm560.
the gps-coordinates and other cartographic backgrounds:
see my cartography page
Time en route: 3.15 (10 - 13.15)
- distance : 9.95 km
- cum. elevation gain : 341 m
- cum. elevation loss : 350 m
- total elevation: 691 m
- altitude maxi : 815 m
- altitude mini : 535 m
- altitude average : 694 m
Someone has to do the dish-washing.
The previous day we drove from Holland to Las Illas, arriving there around 9 pm.
The landlady of the Gîte d'Étappe slept already and had to be persuaded to give us access to the Gîte.
Later on she was very friendly and hospitable. The gîte is speckless.
She wants to stop next year with the care-taking of the gîte and fears
that the young people in the village are too lazy to take her job over.
(photo by Jan-Willem)
Las Illas, we walk to the roundabout with the busstop and the monument,
climb uphill along the road, later on joining the GR10-trail.
We try a shortcut to Col de Manrell but the tarmac road becomes a
private road. That sign however, doesn't look very official. On Google
Earth I saw later that it indeed seems to end at a private property. We return and take the winding detour, following the GR10.
Good to know: a fountain at the beginning of the long straight dirtroad to Col de Manrel. We have just left the GR10.
At the Col with its monument,
the dirtroad becomes a perfect tarmac road on Spanish soil. Note that
there's a territorial dispute between France and Spain about the
monument. Spain claims that it is on Spanish soil.
At he Col before the monument, we take the path to the left.
It leads you along this bunker-like dungeon at your left hand.
A bit further (± 25 m.), just beyond a large stone, there's a trail going into the bush at your left.
It will bring you after 25-30 m. at a rocky outcrop with - at its western side - bm559
return to the path and continue untill it bends to the right. At that
point, there's a shortcut northwards through the forest to another
trail which has just started from the dirtroad.
That's the one trail we're looking for: it follows roughly the
borderline to bm560. We find back the blue waymarks which - I
discovered on 25 march 2011 - guided me from bm560 to bm562.
There's also another waymarking: "La Suada") and - after some googling
- it turns out to be a trail-running parcours which partly follows our
route of today. See this link
(photo by Jan-Willem
Following the blue waymarkings is easy
but at one point you may miss a bending and end up here with a large
rock formation in view.
We return and find that point, JW is willingly showing where to go.
Then we pass
a terrific viewpoint (see next picture). The panorama shows
the border to the west.
Back to the cave, the nothern entrance in close-up.
Xarly tells us that in former days, - ± 10 years ago - you could still
sail through the cave. Smugglers loved that. Apparently, part of the ceiling
has fallen down.
(photo by Jan-Willem)
Then returning to Portbou, sailing around the cliff.
Move the mouse over the picture to see that ridge, mentioned above.
A last view of the Cova Forada.
I'm very, very content. In Portbou we eat paella to celebrate this victory and drive back to Las Illas.
Xarly Sol is willing to sail other people to bm602. A round-trip takes
about one hour and we payed 50 euros. You'll probably need to do a
little rockclimbing as I did. Sailing is always dependant on the
Xarly is on Facebook but is more accesible by telephone: +34 647 054 868