HRP/GR 11 Day 12

The HRP / GR11 blog series

HRP day 1

HRP day 2

HRP day 3

HRP day 4

HRP day 5

HRP day 6

HRP day 7

HRP / GR11 day 8

HRP / GR11 day 9

HRP / GR11 day 10

HRP / GR11 day 11

HRP / GR11 day 12

Leaving the trail

I woke up still feeling sick, so I made an immediate decision to leave the trail. As soon as I had made the decision I knew it was the right one. Although it’s never fun to cut a trip short, it’s the right thing to do when faced with a long and serious stretch of hiking with illness as a real possibility.

So I planned out an escape route. My flight departs from Lourdes. Although Vielha has road links with France, the trick is stringing together a route with public transport; Google informed me of a bus through the tunnel to Vielha itself, and buses/trains galore once over the border, but actually getting to France looked tricky.

As it happened, the bus drove straight past me at the south side of the Vielha tunnel. I gave a weary sigh and resigned myself to hitchhiking, but the very first car to pass after I stuck out my thumb stopped to give me a lift. Bingo!

I ended up getting a taxi from Vielha to Bagnères-de-Luchon, the nearest town over the border in France. My original plan was to stay here overnight then travel home the next morning, but I couldn’t arrange the flight. I’m flying home on Friday instead and have a couple of days to chill out and hopefully recover in Luchon.

It’s been a great trip, and I’m not too disappointed at coming home early. I’ll be writing up a summary and gear review of the trip in due course, when I return home and have had a chance to reflect on it. Thanks for following these live trail journals with me!

By Alex Roddie

Award-winning outdoor and nature writer, editor, author, and photographer.


I’ve enjoyed reading your posts. A good decision not to continue when you are ill. Hiking isn’t a competition. Greetings from the Coast to Coast.

Thanks! To be honest, I’m not too disappointed. I completed the best bit, and I’ll be back to do the rest another year…

Enjoy the Coast to Coast!

First of all a speedy recovery for you! Actually walked from Luchon to l’Hospitalet pre Andorre just a few weeks ago and I tell you it was stunning so you missed something but the Pyrenees will be there next year and you will have something to look forward to. I’m looking forward to your gear report!

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