The crossing of the Pyrenees is remembered as one of the most important events of The Second World War. The route from St Giron (France) to Ester d’Aneu(Spain) is one of many that enabled more than 30,000 people to escape to safety in Spain.
More than half of the Mountain Guides (approximately 1000) paid a heavy price for their selfless work. Many died accidently in the mountains, others were betrayed and shot or deported to concentration camps in Nazi-occupied Europe …. Never to be seen again.
With the assistance of a former Welsh Guard, now living in France, getting a team together was Rob Nicholls’s idea from our Swansea Office to undertake the Chemin de Liberté Freedom Trail between the 22nd& 26thSeptember 2018.
A Tri – Service Team of 11 Walkers and 2 Support Staff, including a serving Royal Marine Sergent were made enough to accept the challenge to cover over 50 miles through and over the Pyrenees, reaching an altitude of over 7,408ft.
The Support Team had an 18 hour road and ferry journey to meet the walkers in St Giron on 21stto brief and issued the necessary rations and kit. It was then a 06.30 start on the bridge in St Giron the next morning and away the Walking Team went.
Following an 18 mile trek (Tab), The Support Team met up with the team at Aunac on the first day, with much appreciated cold drinks and extra rations. The following morning it was another 06.30 start, The Support Team did a stunning job providing an early morning breakfast of bacon rolls and boiled eggs, the last freshly cooked food until we all met up and stayed overnight in Isil in Spain on 25thSeptember 2018 for a well earned steak or mixed grill in a local restaurant.
The 5 days did provide a challenge for all involved and apart from the stunning surrounding, highlighted the bond and camaraderie all veterans have as was witnessed more than once by the level humour and joviality along the way…no doubt lots of stories that will be told after a few beers.
Sponsorship money and donations are still come in, exceeding expectations, so a big THANK YOU to everyone involved. Thanks, must also goes to family, friends and WAVE Radio who provide daily live updates, helping to raise the profile of the charity. The funds raised will go to the recruitment, training and deployment of Mentors to assist those Veterans who need our help to rebuild their lives.
Same place, same time next year, are YOU up for the challenge??