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Spain - Pyrenean Adventures
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Spain - Pyrenean Adventures

Setting off from the horse base in the foothills of the Pyrenees the Herdsman's Trail follows centuries old herding trails to high summer pastures. Along the way the scenery changes from soft rolling hills, through beech forests, canyons and past extinct volcanoes to flat topped mountains. Once you reach the “top of the world” enjoy a gallop like no other over mountain meadows framed by a panorama of snow capped peaks.

Overnighting in small guest houses this 200km journey takes a week with plenty of opportunities to sample delicious local Catalan cusine along the way.

Transfer back to Barcelona (or Girona) at the end of the ride or stay for another week and follow the Bandit trail back down the mountains to the Costa Brava. The riding on this second week is based on the stories of the famous "bandolero" Joan Sala Serrallonga, the Catalonian Robin Hood. The landscape here is even more dramatic; eagles soar on thermals as they search for prey and waterfalls cascade off the edge of sheer canyon walls.

The Fresh & Saltwater Trail is a fun outdoor and sporty six night trail alongside the crystal clear streams of the Pyrenees and lakes to the Mediterranean Sea. A highlight of the trail is that there is usually an opportunity to swim every day and on one day with your horse (weather permitting).

The Outlaw Trail is probably the most challenging of all these itineraries and follows a circular route into France and back through the Pyrenees mountains. The shortest riding day is c. 5 hours in the saddle and the longest c. 8 hours, so you do need to be riding fit to fully enjoy this adventurous journey.

Please note that these trails have long hours in the saddle each day, often not arriving to your guest house until the evening. Plus you are required to get off and lead your horse on all of the trails in the mountains. Sometimes the ground can be rocky and uneven and most of the time it will be downhill (however the Outlaw Trail will certainly require you to hike both up and downhill at times). The most walking is on the Outlaw Trail and following that the Herdsman Trail will require you to lead for up to 50 minutes on each of five days. On the Bandit Trail there is up to 40 minutes on three days and on the Fresh & Saltwater Trail up to 45 minutes on three days.

We therefore recommend that you ride in shoes that provide ankle support , non-slip soles that you can comfortably walk in.

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Spanish Riding Specialist  Sarah Dale

Sarah says:

These are challenging rides in Catalonia. Fantastic scenery on forward going horses, with great Spanish food along the way.

My top tip:

Bring clothes you can layer on so that you can enjoy the sunshine and the cooler mountain air. Really comfortable footwear is essential too.

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