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FFRP Advice for Col du Somport

cete46

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
1st Camino 2003. Parts walked in 2007,2010,2012
#1
The FFRP guide says that one should catch a bus from Accous to the top of the Col du Somport. Is this REALLY necessary or can one WALK if one is careful? Also is the route from Oloron Ste Marie to Jaca walkable in October as we haven't managed to get away earlier as planned?
 

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falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#2
The bus was not necessary even in light snow. Use it if you want; it goes through the tunnel instead of over the mountain. I don't think you can walk through the tunnel.

Estacion Canfranc to Jaca should be OK for walking (I was there in October). If the weather is bad, the road is not very busy, so stick to it instead of following the waymarks that take you away from it. All roads and paths will get you to Jaca!
 

cete46

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
1st Camino 2003. Parts walked in 2007,2010,2012
#3
Thanks Falcon, we were at Urdos on a car trip with a friend at end of March and saw a walker on the road near Portalet so assumed it must be OK if one is careful.
 

sulu

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Ronces-SdC (03-04/10);Oporto-SdC (10/2011); VdlP via Portugal 03/04 2012/2013;Part Invierno 2012; Toulouse to Sarrance 2012; Ingles to Muxia June 2013 Cami Catala and Aragones 2014; El Salvador & Primitivo 2014; Camino de Madrid 2016; Levante 2015,2017
#4
The FFRP has now cancelled the GR status of the route from Ecous to Somport, this is not because of off road conditions but because some stretches are on the road. It is considered too dangerous to walk along the road as it is narrow, there is no where to walk and the road is used by heavy lorries, the most dangerous bit is reckoned to be the bit by Fort de Portalet.
Locals recommend that those who risk walking should try and do so on Sunday when there is less heavy traffic.
 

Alan Pearce

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones 2008, del Norte 2009, VdlP 2011, Ingles 2014, Camino de Madri 2015, Frances 2017
#5
Please excuse my ignorance, but could someone tell me what route Accous to Somport is on?

Alan

Be brave. Life is joyous.
 

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sulu

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Ronces-SdC (03-04/10);Oporto-SdC (10/2011); VdlP via Portugal 03/04 2012/2013;Part Invierno 2012; Toulouse to Sarrance 2012; Ingles to Muxia June 2013 Cami Catala and Aragones 2014; El Salvador & Primitivo 2014; Camino de Madrid 2016; Levante 2015,2017
#6
Please excuse my ignorance, but could someone tell me what route Accous to Somport is on?

Alan
Technically it was on the GR653, Via de Arles, this GR status has now been withdrawn. This may just be a thecnicality but if a problem arose it could affect insurance cover I think.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Frances (x4), Finisterre, Aragon, Via de la Plata, Portuguese 2011 -2015. Hospitalero 2015
#7
Accous to Somport is on the last part of the Arles route, after Oloron. After Col de Somport the route is generally known as the Camino Arragones
 

Alan Pearce

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones 2008, del Norte 2009, VdlP 2011, Ingles 2014, Camino de Madri 2015, Frances 2017
#8
Thank goodness the legs are still okay, as it is obvious that the memory has gone! After Oloron on my way to Somport I remember Sarrance, I remember Borse, but no Accous! As for the width of the road I spent 6th April 2008 walking from Sarrance to Somport via the road. I did not think it especially narrow, and I never felt in danger from traffic. It is also not especially steep, or I would not have been able to manage 4o km, mostly uphill. It was still ski season at Somport, and I was lucky to get a bed for the night.

Alan

Be brave. Life is joyous.
 

sulu

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Ronces-SdC (03-04/10);Oporto-SdC (10/2011); VdlP via Portugal 03/04 2012/2013;Part Invierno 2012; Toulouse to Sarrance 2012; Ingles to Muxia June 2013 Cami Catala and Aragones 2014; El Salvador & Primitivo 2014; Camino de Madrid 2016; Levante 2015,2017
#9
Thank goodness the legs are still okay, as it is obvious that the memory has gone! After Oloron on my way to Somport I remember Sarrance, I remember Borse, but no Accous! As for the width of the road I spent 6th April 2008 walking from Sarrance to Somport via the road. I did not think it especially narrow, and I never felt in danger from traffic. It is also not especially steep, or I would not have been able to manage 4o km, mostly uphill. It was still ski season at Somport, and I was lucky to get a bed for the night.

Alan
Either this is H&S run amok or the number of lorries using the route has considerably increased. I walked from Escot to Sarrance last Saturday and didn't see a lorry. I got the bus on Sunday, (there were no lorries because part of the road from Canfrance had been washed away so lorries had been stopped) on the bus it was evident that 2 wide vehicles could not pass in many places. People I spoke to in France did seem to think that the lorries are a problem but this may be relative.
I don't think that the French or Spanish really know what heavy traffic is, they should try British roads :) It would be interesting to know what has caused the FFRP to take such a drastic step as to declassify a GR.
 
#10
On the advice of locals, I caught the bus from Accous the first time I walked in this area. The second time, I decided to continue on the road - big mistake, it was absolutely horrendous, downright dangerous and I was petrified the entire time.

If there is a third time, I'll definitely be on the bus.
 

Alan Pearce

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones 2008, del Norte 2009, VdlP 2011, Ingles 2014, Camino de Madri 2015, Frances 2017
#11
Having read Julies' reply I have gone back to the memory bank to see why we differ so much. Can I vary my previous post by saying that the road up until the tunnel under the Pyrenees to Canfranc is well formed and IMHO safe. But the road that leads from there to Somport is much more narrow and I had to walk on the dirt beside the road rather than on the formed shoulder as previously. I don't recall any trucks, perhaps because most of them would be taking the tunnel rather than the lenghty and winding trip up over the mountain.

Alan

Be brave. Life is joyous.
 
#12
The part I had trouble with was just after Accous. The road has a number of bends so visibility was an issue. The road is also not very wide when there are trucks going both ways.

As someone has previously mentioned, it would probably be OK on a Sunday.

You really need to make the call when you're there. So many times I've read or been told that I should go a certain way because the other path is too narrow, too worn, too muddy, too slippery etc. Invariably I choose the more difficult option with the idea that I can backtrack if necessary. I have always been pleased to find that my chosen way was not dangerous or difficult at all.

Our perceptions of danger/difficulty are reliant on our previous experiences and I am aware that my perceptions of danger are definitely coloured by the fact that French and Spanish truck drivers are on the wrong side of the road!
 
A

AJ

Guest
#13
I walked this route in June this year. I asked about the bus in the tourist office in Oloron and was told it wasn't necessary, the road is OK. A worse problem is the off road path. In some places it is very narrow with a steep drop to the river below. I was told that in the past pilgrims have got stuck and had to be rescued. I stayed with the road and had no problems. Yes it is narrow in places and yes it could be frightening if you are not used to this sort of thing and if two trucks were passing you at the narrowest bends you may well poo your pants, but this didn't happen to me.

Horses for courses.
 

SUSIE

Camino addict....
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2010)
Camino Portuguese Lisbon to Santiago via Fatima(2013)
Via Podiensis Le Puy - Roncevalles (2014)
Via Tolosana via Lourdes (2015)
Planning Via Francigena [2017]
#15
Hi
I know this is an old post but what is the latest news / advice on all the above...
 
W

whariwharangi

Guest
#16
Hi
I know this is an old post but what is the latest news / advice on all the above...
Use google earth street view to take a virtual walk.

I put myself on the map near a place called Ensemble Fortifie du Portalet. The google vehicle was behind a truck ... and there was not much room between the truck and the wall marking the edge of the road.

I also looked at the tunnel entrance. There is no way I would walk in there with traffic.
 

SUSIE

Camino addict....
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2010)
Camino Portuguese Lisbon to Santiago via Fatima(2013)
Via Podiensis Le Puy - Roncevalles (2014)
Via Tolosana via Lourdes (2015)
Planning Via Francigena [2017]
#17
Thank you will try that
 
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nalod The Arles route 16

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