Quite a damp start today and a few of our group were considering spending a bit of time looking around the local area before venturing forth, hoping that the weather would improve a little.
Not such a nice day but not wet enough to stop us enjoying driving with the top down.
We stopped to pick up some fuel and some oil, its not easy to find 20/50 semi-synthetic oil these days and so I had to settle for 15/40 which seemed to be ok. The car has used more oil than usual, it does drip oil a little but more likely it has just burnt a bit more during those long hard climbs in mostly 2nd and 3rd gears. After the high mountains of the last 2 days we kind of expected an easier day and for the first few miles it was, but then we hit the steep climbs combined with some scarily unprotected drops!
Coming up to the top of Col du Soulor, wondering if we maybe should have put the top up afterall.
Just crossing the Col du Solour at almost 5000 ft and grateful that we are passing through in our MGAs and not living up there looking after our sheep!
This YouTube clip shows just how exciting the roads are to drive. And we thought we were in for an easy-ish day!
Click on this link to see for yourself http://youtu.be/DyElSc0B5_Y
We called off at the pretty town of Argeles Gazost looking for a coffee and met up with Charles and Bill in a cafe overlooking the town square. It was still raining a little and we just used the coffee as an excuse to get out of it for a while, hoping it would stop. It appeared to have worked as the rain stopped and we were soon on our way again. I just had time to call in at a lovely little pattissierre across the square, I was heading towards the car when I was lured by the wonderful aromas wafting out of the open doorway. This would have unforeseen consequences a few miles along the road!
The start of the ascent of the Col du Aubisque, lovely greasy roads, poor visibility, no crash barriers and 1000ft drops. It was certainly exciting, especially for Chris who sat watching me driving the car one handed whilst filming with a camera in the other! And amazingly, she loved this trip!
Its a form of gambling I suppose, looking at the road going into the cloud bank and then taking a wild guess at whether the road turns right or left!
Richard, sensibly, following me at a safe distance! 🙂
Click on the link below to see a YouTube video of the next section of the climb. You will be amazed.
The link below is Tom and Roger Martins much longer video clip of the same section taken a little later, they are following Bob Cole and Linda in their TwinCam with Stuart & Irene Mumby up front in their 1600. Click on the link below to watch their video.
Nearing the summit of the Col du Aubisque 5600 ft.
Years ago, when I was doing a bit of mountaineering, finding a pub on the top of a mountain was always just an impossible dream!
Why is the car park full of horses?
Just a tantilising glimpse of the mountain scenery that the clouds were hiding.
This horse seems particularly attracted to my car!
Still making a beeline for my car!
Then I realise that the great attraction is the brown paper bag that you can see in my door pocket, it still has those cakes in it that I bought from the patissierie in Argeles Gazost!
I must admit that for some reason, I seem to be more concerned about my cars paintwork being damaged than Richard is! 🙂
So it`s time for me to take drastic action! I throw myself between the horse and my car in an act of supreme sacrifice! Am I willing to be trampled in order to protect the delicate aluminium panels on my MGA? Well, err, actually, No! But NOTHING EVER eats one of my cakes!!! 🙂
Me selflessly throwing myself between the wild horse and classic car ( well actually I just wanted to save my cake!!)
Selfie of me and the attacking horse. I`m the one on the right!
In the end I just had to do the sensible thing, move the car away from the horses (and eat the cakes of course! 🙂
The horse thinking”One more lick and I can probably get the rest of that paint off!” Richard looking on thinking “That horse is saving me a fortune in Nitromors!
Trying to eat our baguettes and buns before the horses see us!
The waiter made a special effort to create this heart shape on top of Janets latte, when he realised that it was Richard who wanted the coffee he said ” I make ze mistake, Je suis desole!”. I dont think he found Richard quite as attractive! 🙂
Driving through the gorge at Eaux Bonnes
Half expected to see Guy Gibson and a few of his Lancasters flying over this dam!
Very much more rugged country here.
The next challenge is the drive over the Spanish border, up the Col du Pourtalet at 6000ft and it crosses some quite bleak high open mountain countryside.
This is late July and so I would bet that it gets to be positively arctic here in the winter.
A few miles further on I noticed something strange going on in the grassland 50 yards off the road and then we came across quite a few cars parked just off the road with a couple of dozen people standing around peering intently through binoculars and telephoto camera lenses. I couldn`t really make out what they were looking at to begin with, but they they looked like big birds, really big birds.
I pulled out my mini binoculars and took a look, I couldnt believe it, they looked like vultures! Vultures? In Spain?
They were gigantic and there were lots of them! Apparently they are Griffon Vultures which have recently returned to Spain from Africa after many years of being extinct there.
At first I couldnt really work out what these were.
These are Griffon Vultures and they are feeding from what looked like a dead sheep and they are big, really big. With over a 9 foot wingspan! Although Im not a proper “twitcher” I quite like birds but to see these enormous birds just by the roadside was a.mazing
I managed to get this video clip of them with my tiny camera on full zoom and it has turned out surprisingly well. You can here the MGA ticking over in the background.
Listen to Chris asking why the vultures dont just share out the carcass, its brilliant! 🙂
Click on this YouTube link to see the video clip I managed to get of the vultures
Arriving at the top of the Col du Pourtalet at almost 6000 feet
Arriving at the Jaca Golf hotel, a really superb hotel with superb rooms and underground parking.
A superb suite with wonderful views
Superb view from the windows
An even more attractive view of the outdoor bar on the patio.
Wait a minute, who is that sitting at the table? Lets zoom in on it!
I should have known that Stuart, Roger, Pete, Heather and Tom would find the bar quicker than anyone else!