The bordermarkers of the Pyrenees : all my trips
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- 7 may 2009 -
Followed by a dog

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(click to open in Google Earth or copy link to Google Maps;
click right on this link to download gpx-version

A full moon at night, sometimes a very strong wind, then calm and silent. Soft temperature.

I expected a tough journey: following the straight borderline over the hills with few orientation-points. But with compass, gps and close map-reading, it wasn't that difficult. I found it more challenging than following a distinct ridge. Also more strengthening.

Weather: warm and sunny, in the evening rainy and finally foggy. A beautiful day.

For explanation of the gps-coordinates and other cartographic backgrounds:
see my cartography page

En route: 08.30 - 18.00 (9.23h), break 13.15-14.25.
Elevation according to my watch: up 990m, down 1276m. in total 2366m.
Heighest point 996m, lowest 487m

According to visugpx
- distance : 16.7 km
- cum. elevation gain : 767 m
- cum. elevation loss : 1079 m
- total elevation:  1846

- altitude maxi : 986 m
- altitude mini : 470 m
- altitude average : 643 m
I start at bm130, at the other side of the fence. With compass and gps-tripteller I easily find


I keep following the compass (I think I can see the summit of Ichterbegui where the straight borderline is directed at).

It's a steep descent to a stream, with a farm and meadow visible on the French side.

In between - it's very quiet here - I spot this deer.

After crossing the stream, I walk E and SW along the forest to bm132. You have to climb a fence and don't confuse the forest with another small forest to the S. Probably, this route is easier then going straight through the forest.


A view of this mysterious Basque landscape.
Following my compass, I find


It's location is not well recognizable.  The Procès-Verbal mentions an "escarpement" (=escarpment) and a "carrière" (=quarry) but I can't remember those features.

Then a steep descent towards a stream, first there's a meadow with a barn. From the west-side of the barn, a little while on the dirtroad to the W, crossing a branch of the stream and a bit further taking a path to the left to the stream itself. Crossing the stream.

Then on compass-reading a steep climb into the forest. When the forest gets moren open, there's a lot of blackberry.

I climb to the left to a fence which I then follow to the right until a dirtroad. After a bit of searching and good map-reading, I find

bm134, above the dirtroad on a slope.

After all this difficult straight traversing of hills and valleys, I have arrived at a more accessible part, more suited for a part of the GRPdesBf.

On compass-reading I climb uphill and on the hilltop I find:

bm135, near some hunter's shelters.

Then an easy descent to


A bit lower I encounter a fence with a view of the bordercrossing and the venta.

I spot two concrete pillars (no engraving or painting on it) in the meadow in the direction of the venta, perhaps indicating the borderline.

This picture: I'm traversing along the fence and along a stream to the tarmac road.

Today I won't find bm137 but later on I will learn from others where its location is.

Move the cursor over the picture to see where bm137 really stands.
Underneath the venta, I search in vain for bm137. The Procès-Verbal is clear: 40m south of the bordercrossing but I can't find anything except this concrete pillar without a number.

I stop searching and enjoy a lunch in the venta.

After the lunch, I descend on the tarmac road. Taking an overgrown path as a shortcut, I reach the dirtroad which brings me to


Back on the dirtroad and directly - passing a house - to the tarmac road. From there this dog kept following me until bm139.

On the tarmac road, I descend to the river and then follow the D158 towards the border. It's very beautiful, very quiet, very pastoral and an easy walk on the tarmac makes a nice change.

I could probably have descended from bm138 directly to bm139 but  I wanted  to do this reconnaissance for the GRPdesBF.

Close to the border, I take branch to the right to  Chaliechenborde where two old men and their young nephew are dealing with a horse and ponies. The border divides their farm, the farmhouse and barn located on eitherside of the borderline.

Meanwhile, I 'do' bm139 with a chained dog nearby.

The three men are very nice, give me a short lift, tell where bm140 is and how to reach the summit of Ichterbegui via Spain. I'm very content.

Through a meadow, I descend to the river with bm140, visible on the other side.

In my underpants, I wade through the stream and reach:


Back to the tarmac road - meeting one of the old men again - and going SW on the road to find the route to Ichterbegui.
First I walk too far into Spain until a farm where the tarmac road becomes a dirtroad and I realize where I went wrong.

I go back and find out the right route:

after the first house beyond the border, the road crosses a stream in a bend of the road. Just before that bend, go left on a dirtroad which crosses the river further on and starts climbing. If there's a bifork -> keep left. You will cross some fences and pass a barn.

That's where I stop and pitch my tent. The barn can be an emergency shelter for the threatening thunderstorm

Coordinates: N43 02 41.4 W1 26 56.9 H 674m.
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