You’re very exposed at two or three thousand metres. After climbing up to Grand Fache, 3,005 metres, I find it very soothing coming down to the Marcadau valley. One moment you’re gazing across a vast distance to Infiernos, Midi d’Ossau and other formidable mountains. An hour later you enjoy this protected and lush area with the peaks above you. I enjoyed Marcadau when I first saw it, but found it tedious when I walked down to Cauterets and two years later thought I preferred the parallel Lutour valley which is smaller. This year I discovered Marcadau again – for the third time – and found it stunning. The first point to mention is the size of Marcadau. You might wander Upper Eskdale in the Lake District and enjoy doing so, possibly with a wild camp at Great Moss. Descending into the Marcadau valley the view here is only the beginning. You have small pleasures in Britain, immense pleasures in the Pyrenees. Scottish glens are larger than Lake District or Snowdonia valleys but the same applies. Glen Etive is a fine place but small compared to Marcadau. Descending to Wallon you pass through pine forests, steep hillsides and rocky plateaux with wild flowers and constantly lovely views. Refuge Wallon is a fine place to rest. The hut has limited facilities (no showers) but the area is wonderful and the camping good. Below Wallon you pass more pine forests and beautiful grassy areas with sparkling rivers. It’s an exceptional Pyrenees valley with great walking potential.


Pyrenees Mountain Photography: Upper Marcadau Valley

Wednesday November 5, 2014