You may be lucky and come across a splinter of Roland’s sword, “Durandal”, as you pass through this famous Breche. Legend has it that Charlemagne’s nephew and leader of the mighty army that crossed to Spain in 778 to invade Pamplona, was retreating when he found himself trapped behind the frontier mountains. Roland, bringing up the back of the troops was fatally wounded, and rather than have the Moors capture his magical sword he threw it at the cliff face in his last breath of life, hoping to break it. Instead, the mountain broke, cutting this giant cleft of 100m high and 40m wide…. quite a feat!! Perhaps the troops were then saved, being able to escape through the Breche and back into France?
The “Chanson de Roland” from the 12th Century records the mythical event thus:
“Count Roland smites upon the marble stone;
I cannot tell you how he hewed and smote;
Yet neither does it break nor splinter,
Though groans the sword,
And rebounds heavenwards”.
Sat 24th Aug: Collection in Lourdes early morning, either from plane (RyanAir flight) or night train. We drive straight up to the Col des Tentes to start our trek (with possible stop off in Luz for picnic supplies). We leave the van and walk down to Torla, where we spend our first night in a comfy local inn.
Sun 25th Aug: Leaving early from Torla we take the bus to the Ordesa carpark and start our climb towards one of the most amazing footpaths in the world, the Faja de la Flores. Continue on to Refuge Goriz for a night at the foot of Mont Perdu.
Mon 26th Aug: We traverse the Millaris plateau and head towards the Breche, passing on the way the entrance to the extraordinary ice cave. If the weather is good there is the possibility of bagging either the Taillon or the Casque, the peaks either side of the Breche. Descent to the Sarradets Refuge.
Wed 28th Aug: Bus to Lourdes to connect with transport.
Price: 570€ pp for four days trekking and four nights accommodation. 450€pp for three days trekking, three nights refuge accommodation (possibility to descend to Gavarnie on Monday night). Collection in Lourdes or Luz St Sauveur Saturday. Return to Lourdes via bus from Gavarnie. Contact and Book: Sian.