The bordermarkers of the Pyrenees : all my trips
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- 1 september 2011 -
Bm359: questions remain

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Summary: part of a 3-weeks trip to the Pyrénées to 'do' the ± 60 remaining bordermarkers. All done as daytrips from campings.

Day 16: two trips. One to the mysterious bm359, the other one doing the bm509-submarkers.

Weather: sunny, warm
(click to open this trip in Google Earth or copy link to Google Maps; click right on this link to download gpx-version)

TRIP 1: to bm359, roundtrip from Col du Portillon
For explanation of the gps-coordinates and other cartographic backgrounds:
see my cartography page

En route: 9.30 - 14.30 (5h)

According to the gps-tripteller:
Distance:  11,3 km
Cum. elevation gain : 459m
Total elevation: 918m
Maximum height: 1623m
Time: 5.15h

According to visugpx

- distance : 9,8km
- cum. elevation gain : 571m
- cum. elevation loss : 571m
- total elevation:  1142m

- altitude maxi :1642 m
- altitude mini : 1283m
- altitude average : 1421m

From my 'basecamp' in Fos driving to the Col du Portillon. I descend a bit into Spain and then take the dirt-road to the right which climbs to Col de Barège.

This picture: this is where you can leave the dirtroad to follow a trail to bm360.
It's another signpost than on 13 september 2010

I climb on and at one of the lace-lets, I enter the forest. That was one or two lace-lets too early, I didn’t check that well.

Once in the forest I discover my mistake but decide to struggle on through the chaos of fallen trees in the gps-direction of bm359. The fallen trees seem especially to abound in the course of a stream.
When getting more close to bm359, the damage is less. I also spot divisoria-markers on the trees: double red stripes which mark the border, I suppose being maintained by foresters.

Then bm359 is close, ± 50 meters NW. Approach from above as documented by the Darrieu’s.
This set of pictures shows the boulder of "4 meters high and 10 meters long". Bm359 is situated  to the far left of this boulder and the dotted red line is the access route from the Darrieu's.
My own picture
The supposed bm359 is easily found. This marker has an atypical cross ( a  Christian cross instead of a Greek cross with equal lengths of the arms) and no number.

For more information on the history of bm359, see this page
Some questions occured to me:

1. why didn’t Jean Sermet let engrave a number if he was convinced that this was the original place of bm359? That doesn’t fit in his thoroughly way of working as we know it

2. in 1960 he found another cross 1 meter beneath it: but there’s no appropriate space beneath this marker and if there was, it would have been unlikely low.

3. the boulder / rock-wall itself is higher and longer than the 4x10 meters which Jean Sermet described. But that - admitted - could have been a rough estimation. And: I haven't seen a similar boulder around here. Remember: the Procès-Verbal only mentions a "rocher touchant le précipice", a rock on the steep hillside.
4.  the actual divisoria-markers are ± 50 meters SE. Jean Sermet tells that bm359 was on the divisoria-line. Furthermore: the divisoria-markers continue beyond (that is below) the height of bm359. That is contradictory to  what Jean Sermet wrote: the divisoria ending at bm359.

My conclusion: this marker seems to be another one than described by Jean Sermet. But - awaiting further evidence pro or contra - I'll assume for the time being that this is bm359.

I’ve taken a broom with me to brush the moss off here and there but that doesn’t  give any clue or revelation.
I'm on my way back and this is approximately 50 meters to the SE of bm359 where I spotted the divisoria-markers.
This is a zoom-in.
And this a deeper zoomin, showing that the divisoria-markers continue down the steep slope.

Struggling back to the dirt-road, now arriving too high. Perhaps a direct descend from bm358 is more easy as might be descending from bm359 (steeply, maybe too steep) to bm360
I return to Col du Portillon. This triangular marker is located at the point where the borderline coming from bm365, merges with the tarmac road.

I enter the forest here for a last search for bm364, unfindable until now.

Between bm363 and bm366, there's a difference between the actual borderline and the borderline on the French IGN-maps.

As a last try I search for bm364 at its spot on the IGN-map but to no result.

After three trips & gps-tracks in this area, I can draw the actual borderline and bm-waypoints on this IGN-map.

The actual borderline is easy to establish by its bordermarkers, divisoria-markers and a number of unnumbered markers between bm365 and bm366.

The difference with the borderline on the IGN-map is remarkable.

On my return to the tarmac road, I photograph and 'waypoint' the few unnumbered markers I spot.

Some of them may not have survived the Xynthia-storm of 2010. I find 4 of them.
The second one
The third one
The fourth one
This is the unnumbered  marker in the middle of the Col.
The same marker with bm366 in the background.

I drive to Les for a pleasant lunch and to buy cigars.
(click to open this trip in Google Earth or copy link to Google Maps; click right on this link to download gpx-version)

TRIP 2: doing the submarkers of bm409. Seven at the French bank of the Garonne, seven at the Spanish bank.
For explanation of the gps-coordinates and other cartographic backgrounds:
see my cartography page

En route: ± 16.30 - 20.00 (3.30h)
According to visugpx

- distance : 4,2km
- cum. elevation gain : 33m
- cum. elevation loss : 44m
- total elevation:  77m

- altitude maxi : 613m
- altitude mini : 586m
- altitude average : 597m

A trip from Pont de Rei in search for the submarkers of bm409, placed on either side of the Garonne around 1970.

See this page  for more background information.

The ones on the Spanish bank were mostly photographed in 2009 but no gps-waypoints taken.

In front of my car this hole where the border-stream - which descends from  approximately bm411 - disappears under the road.

And besides that hole, bm410 and bm409-7fr.



Bm410 and bm409-7fr

Then I first photograph the (unnumbered) markers at the bridge, that is to say the new bridge, built around 1970.

These ones are at the east side.

And these ones at the west-side.

The new bridge seen from the N.

Then the submarkers on the French side which all can be reached from the road. Some guidelines:

Bm409-5fr is well visible from the sidewalk of the road,
Bm409-4fr needed more searching but is (as all are) closer to the road then the river. Hint: nr.4 is on top of a small hill.
Bm409-3fr also needed more searching. It's hidden under a bush.
Bm409-2fr is still visible from the sidewalk of the road but might get overgrown.
Bm409-1fr is well visible from the road, 
as shown on this picture,
 while bm409-2fr is harder to spot from the road, it may get overgrown.
Bm409-2fr, zoom-in
Bm409-6fr was more difficult to find. It's hidden in the bush and not visible from the road.
But: ± 30m beyond (N) a memorial cross with plastic flowers on a tree along the road, you can descend to the bank and then it’s a little bit to the left
Then back to Pont de Rei where bm409-7es is visible from the new bridge 
but inaccessible from there.
A view from the bridge to the other side: the ravine which is the borderline from bm410 to bm411.
Zoom-in of bm409-7es.
But it can be reached easily from the path behind it, the path which leads from the road (further on, in front of the electricity plant) along the Spanish bank of the Garonne to bm409 and further.
This is where you have to descend from the path to bm409-7es.

Bm409-5es, can be seen down by the river from the path but you have to watch carefully.
Bm409-4es, along the path
This is the breach in a wall where you can descend to reach bm409-3es

Bm409-2es, along the path
And this is where I remember bm409-1es. It's  now completely overgrown.

From above, I flatten the blackberry with logs and rocks to gain access from under the bridge to uncover this submarker.

Bm409-1es, now visible
Some guidelines for finding bm409-1es to 7es, starting from bm409:
- bm409-1es ->might be hidden under dense blackberry bush. See pictures above.
- bm409-2es and -4es are along the path (which is orange waymarked by the way)
- bm409-3es cannot be seen from the path -> when a long sturdy wall starts at the left side of the path, you should pass through the second breach and descend SE to the river.
- bm409-5es can be seen (down by the river) but be attentive
- bm409-6es: ?
- bm409-7es -> see picture where to descend

And back where I started: bm410 and bm409-7fr.

I’m content, it was a pleasant and fruitful day.
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