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  • Lyn Jack

Girlie trip to the Spanish Pyrenees

Frustrated by Covid-19’s interference with plans to paddle the Alps in Summer 2021, Jane Saunders and Lyn Jack signed up for a mammoth road trip to the town of Sort in the Spanish Pyrenees with Andy Holt of Escape to Adventure

We could hardly believe our escape from the UK as in the weeks leading up to the trip Spain was expected to be put on the UK Government’s ‘red list’ for travel restrictions. But finally, after booking tests for our return to the UK, we escaped Covid-ridden England and travelled 1,000 miles by road to the Noguera Pallaresa river.

I cannot say the drive was stress free, in spite of the ease of driving on France’s motorway system compared to the UK: we had to try super hard to get Google to direct us away from Paris to avoid their congestion regulations. Finally, however we located our accommodation in a Ski Chalet above the town of Sort, and met our paddle buddies Erwin and Paul from Netherlands and Bala respectively.

Paddling the Noguera Pallaresa is an interesting experience as the river is dam controlled, and at the end of summer, releases are reduced to three hours daily; between 11am and 2pm. This means that, depending on which section of the river you plan to paddle, you may need to be on the water by just after 11am, or you may need to wait until 3pm for the water to arrive in your chosen section.

Sunday shake down paddle was a short section of the ‘Classic’ run, terminating at the slalom course in the centre of the town of Sort. Unfortunately, we had this to negotiate first!

During the remaining five glorious days we completed all 4 major sections of the Noguera Pallaresa river with waters ranging from a scary grade four through to the calm beauty of the gorge section, vultures flying overhead.

Waiting for the water to arrive.

Due to new rules post Brexit, our leader Andy Holt was joined by local guide Eddu from LaRafting company

Follow the leader!

During the ‘down time’ waiting for water to reach the gorge, I got my first experience of Via Ferrata.

It was a long haul there and back again, but well worth it for stunning scenery, gorgeous weather and white water. On the way back, we failed the ‘avoid Paris’ challenge, but got home safe and sound none the less.

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