Walking in the snow in Roncesvalles

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March 3rd 2013
Published: March 12th 2013
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Winter will soon be over, or so we hope! Bearing that in mind we headed up into the Pyrenees and revisited Roncesvalles. At first we were disappointed by how little snow there was but then suddenly we hit the snow line and it was impressive. Huge banks of snow lined the road where it had been swept to one side and enormous piles could be seen between the houses.

A short time ago several of the villages in the region had been completely cut off due to fresh snowfall. A glimpse inside the courtyard of the Real Colegiata de Roncesvalles showed us exactly why. It was full of snow as you can see from the photos. Many people had parked up to get a closer look and to supervise their children sliding down the small slopes on their toboggans.

We then continued up to the small chapel at Ibaneka. We had been there before to visit the bird information centre. Parking space was at a premium and we abandoned the Bogey Buggy by the road in the company of many other cars. The main area we could see was packed with kids sliding down but we wanted to go walking somewhere miles away from them! On the opposite side of the road we found a footpath just as a guy was coming down towards us in his snow shoes. We asked him if it was possible to continue without snow shoes and his reply was simple: "There's a lot of snow!"

We carried on regardless and were rewarded by some amazing views and tranquil scenes. Toboggans hadn't made it onto the virgin snow where we sat to have our lunch. The path through the trees was narrow and we occasionally had to stand aside to let people through on their snow shoes or langlauf skis. It was an incredible experience but in retrospect we might have been better off investing in some snow shoes to clip onto our boots. It was a bit slippery in places and disaster awaited any mishaps as there was a steep slope downwards through the trees. Nevertheless, we safely negotiated the footpaths and had a wonderful day. The trek back was a little more difficult because the sun had started to melt the snow. It gave way underfoot far easier than it had just an hour or so before. No doubt the end of winter is coming!

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12th March 2013

I would not want to live in a town that got cut off from civilization because of a snow fall. Sounds like you had a great picnic.

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