Meeting November 20 2014 Spanish High Pyrenees
The November meeting of the North Lancashire Group was given by Ann Kitchen who presented a lecture entitled ‘Wonders of the Spanish Pyrenees’. The story told of the formation of the Pyrenees, some 300 million years ago and how this had formed the Inner Sierra – a Depression – an Outer Sierra and the Ebro Basin. From a base north of Huesca in May 2013, Ann and Ken Kitchen explored the area and recorded the early alpine flora.
The Ebro basin proved to be arid in May but was rewarding for the bird life including storks and vultures. They then moved to Guara National Park in the Outer Sierras where a mixture of Mediterranean and alpine plants was found including - Globularia repens, Globularia punctata, Globularia vulgaris and Globularia gracilis plus Luetzia conifera.
Alquezar, Ainsa, Boltana and the deserted villages of Albella proved to be more rewarding with good stands of Saxifraga longifolia and Sedum alba.
The High Pyrenees in May 2013 were still snow covered and because of the late season the usually rewarding Soaso Cirque trail in the Ordesa National Park was not available. Ann and Ken then travelled to the Valle de Anisclo, a long and narrow valley where Erinus alpinus, Linum flavum, Ophyrs scolpax, Ophyrs insectifera, Orchis purpurea and Orchis fragrans were all found. This was followed by a journey into France via the Bielsa Tunnel for Gentiana occidentalis and Gentiana verna. The return into Spain via the Col de Portalet and more good alpines including
Crocus albiflorus , Trollius europaeus, Ranunculus amplexicaulis and R. pyrenaeus . Below the col near Formigal spectacular stands of Cypripedium calceolus completed a good holiday amongst the mountains in flower.
The vote of thanks was given by Frank Hoyle. Next meeting December 18th 2014 at Greaves Methodist Church, Lancaster for members’ photographs and mince pies.
JF & SC