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The IbNat Summit CATALONIA 2010!

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Simon

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« on: May 07, 2009, 03:43 AM »
OK. I'm suggesting this proposal as I see from the Picos Summit that the Catalan Pyrenees was put forward as a possible venue for next year (I'm also going magenta with envy for not being there  :banghead: so I don't want to miss out!).

The Pre-Pyrenees around the Conca de Tremp in Lleida has a lot going for it - and not simply because it's my home  :angel:

The main one is that it the centre of a range of landscapes and climate zones:

North you have the 'Alpine' Pyrenees, so that trips there can be from as near as a twenty minute drive (from Tremp). Star turns there are obviously the Parc Natural d'Aigüestotrees i Llac de Sant Maurici - it's important to consider that each part of the park is quite different, and worth separate visits if time allows.

South you have the Serra de Montsec, which is high enough to attract some Alpine species but is far enough away from the main massif to allow a Mediterranean climate. The star of the Montsec is the Congost de Montrebei ravine.

East and west of Tremp, and surrounding it to from the Conca, are the Serra de Boumort and the La Terreta (the term refers to a series of sierras) These are both Parcs Naturals and are famous for their vulture populations, (La Terreta has a special vulture reserve), as well as the Boumort hosting a large, and I believe in Catalonia unique, population of red deer.

The Conca itself is a world famous site for studying geology, and Tremp hosts a Science Museum dedicated to this. The univeristies of London and Utrecht have laboratories there.

There's much more in detail that I don't have time for, but you can get an idea from my Casa Rafela website (see below, but this is NOT a plug!)

The point about the climate is very important given that the Summit's appear to be limited time wise to mid/late April. Basically, to be based in the 'High' Pyrenees would be a risky venture then as if the weather comes from the West or Northwest it will be raining, if not snowing, whereas the Montsec, and probably the Boumort and La Terreta, are likely to be fine. But if the weather comes up from the South then the Montsec 'cops it' we can head north. If the weather comes from the East then the coastal regions get all the rain leaving the Terres de Ponent basking in sunshine. But if the weather is coming from the North, and is sufficiently tempestuous to cross over the Pyrenees, instead of going around the and down the Costa Brava (try standing upright on Cap Creu :speechless:), then the best place for the Summit is probably Tenerife :technodevil:, or perhaps more practically, snug up in a Llar de Foc drinking hot toddies and telling tales of old  :dancing:

Regarding logistics:

Accommodation
If we met in April then Casa Rafela is up for grabs. But there are only two bedrooms, sleeping four tops, and perhaps room in the 'stable' on the ground floor for two more brave souls. But there is an excellent Casa de Pages, Cal Navarre, in Fígols (that's my village, fifteen minutes from Tremp), which has lots of space, sitting rooms, etc, as well as a huge attic which can expand its holding capacity which, strictly speaking, is nine. The owners are very good neighbours of ours so we'd all be well looked after, but it is a commercial business and not, as in the first two Summits, 'keeping it in the family'. Once we are in the business of looking for independent accommodation, however, there are numerous possibilities; one alternative that springs to mind is the quasi-oficial Centre de Montsec.

Activities/trips
I can put together several day trips and itineraries taking in a range of habitats, historical sites, walks, etc. and arrange access/visits, for instance we could get a lecture from the geologist in residence at the Science Museum - but I'm not much cop as a naturallist  :noidea: as some of you may know . . . or guess  :angel: But I think that between us we have the resource to make sure we do lots of botanising, birding, badger spotting (there's a sett in the Barranc below Cal Navarre in Fígols where guest frequenly see them from the terrace), etc.  I certainly do know all of the areas of interest, habitats, etc. and all of the logistical details, how long it takes to get from A to B, where to eat (especially where to eat  :clapping:), so that we can put together realistic itineraries.

Transport
Getting there: is easy from all over Spain; we are just over an hour north of Lleida, which is on the AP2, and the AVE Madrid - Barcelona line there. By next year Lleida should also have its own airport at Alguirre, somewhat to the north of the city, so that is less than an hour from Tremp. I could do pick ups from the airport, and there is a train from Lleida to Tremp; it's a slow run but worth the trip in its own right - in daylight that is! There is also a direct coach service to Barclona.
Getting around: I don't have a 4X4  :angel: so all of the trips that I plan only require turismos. So I guess that between us we can have a 'pool' of vehicles at our disposal. My car is a Renault Kangoo  :dancing: so is great for bumbling around country lanes and has loads of luggage space, for boots, picnics, etc.

Anyway, it's early days but here's a beginning! Viva IbNat! Viva 2010! :sign: (and, dare I say it, Visca Barcelona!  :technodevil:)

Regs

Simon
« Last Edit: May 18, 2009, 15:36 PM by Clive »

Offline lisa

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« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2009, 07:29 AM »
Sold! Is this your neighbour's place? Numbers wise, I think that would probably be perfect with your place too. As long as we avoid Semana Santa (which is when next year?), about this time of year would be great for us.
We even discussed possibly clubbing together to hire 9-seater vehicules. Personally I'd love to visit the Delta de Llobregat again, but still, I can't believe I'm thinking about this already  :)
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« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2009, 07:49 AM »
Hi Lisa,

Yes, that's them. The photos are now somewhat out of date as the gardens have matured considerably and the terrace is twice the size! Also, my translation skills have improved somewhat since then! :dancing:

Semana Santa looks like being around Sunday April 4th next year, which would be great as it gets it out of the way and leaves the second half of April free. Casa Navarre will certainly be fully booked for Easter (it possibly is already, Carmen and Juan have a loyal customer base in Barcelona!).   We operate Casa Rafela from the puente de mayo onwards. I'm not sure what happens to the puente as May 1st falls on a Saturday, but I think I'll begin our 2010 'season' then as the British bank holiday would be Monday the 3rd., rather than Easter; so the weeks beginning Monday 12th or 19th would seem ideal for the Summit.

I'm all in favour of us hiring vehicles (I love vehicules too!) as not only do I hate to see lots of cars driving in convoy I also think it's very dangerous!
 
Thanks for the encouraging feedback, let's wait and see how things pan out.

Regs

Simon

PS if you get a few days off Lisa, you'd be welcome here in Tarragona city and visit the Llobregat aera from here, if you don't mind sharing the futon with a couple of wolves!
« Last Edit: May 07, 2009, 08:23 AM by Simon »

Offline glennie

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« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2009, 08:47 AM »
Key to it all, I think, is all being together in the same accommodation and, especially, eating together.

Don't know if that has already been mentioned above or has been taken as read. If so, apologies.

Offline nick

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« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2009, 09:09 AM »
Hi Simon,

Sounds excellent but I agree with Glennie, I think we all need to be in the same place, so your area will get my vote if we can find a place big enough for all of us.
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Offline glennie

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« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2009, 10:07 AM »
Hi Simon,
Sounds excellent but I agree with Glennie, I think we all need to be in the same place, so your area will get my vote if we can find a place big enough for all of us.

We would need a commitment on attendance relatively early so that Simon/whoever could then go looking for a place which would be big enough for all.

We could self-cater to keep costs down. That could always go to a vote.

Simon

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« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2009, 11:08 AM »
Cal Navarre has a huge dining table as well as separate living rooms. They also have kitchen fitted out for self catering. In fact as I'm on good terms with the owners they would be happy to leave us all to it and decamp to their flat in Tremp for the duration - in fact they may even prefer to!

I would envisage the 'base' for the Summit being there with Casa Rafela as an 'annex' If all of the Simon family were in attendance we'd have to stay there as our wolves would eat Carmen and Juan's wolf! (one of our monsters is a filla of Cal Navarre). I suppose if Clive and Sue and sprog come they might want a bi more privacy too, but I don't want to second guess them on this issue!

The accommodation in Cal Navarre is flexible, as I implied not too clearly above; they've recently had their roof space, golfes in Catalan (always in the plural for some arcane reason), converted into useable living space, albeit under the eaves somewhat, so that when their grown children bring a huge gang of their own for their annual reunion party they have somewhere to crash. This isn't part of their 'official' demarcation so use of it would have to be on an 'informal' basis. In fact I haven't seen this recent refurbishment yet as it's only just been done. So seeing as there is so much interst I'll make sure to do so and talk things over when I'm there this weekend. NB I'm away for the week from tomorrow, visiting La Garrotxa after calling in at Tremp, so not much news from me from then until the end of next week!

Meanwhile, it's really nice to see so much interest, but I think we should also encourage the other ideas, Soria and Extremadura, so put up a proposal too! :sign:

Simon
« Last Edit: May 07, 2009, 11:20 AM by Simon »

Offline Clive

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« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2009, 15:57 PM »
Hi all,

Great to see everyone so keen for another summit.... :)

I think we need three or so places suggested and then a vote on which is the most popular... Also the time of year is important for school holidays and weather etc....

What we'll do is set up a voting system topic for time and place once the suggestions are in and work from there.... Until then post away on this topic for suggestions etc...

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« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2009, 16:24 PM »
Thinking about school holidays already Clive, shame on you! :technodevil:

But I completely agree on the idea of a vote, it's the only way to go!

Simon

Offline Clive

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« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2009, 16:32 PM »
I'll get together with Nick and we'll put a newsletter out to all members about this to see if anyone has any suggestions.... I'll also send it out to my Wildside Holidays people and see what comes back.... Maybe we'll get a venue offered from someone...

I have a feeling that these summits are going to get bigger and bigger :)
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Offline Technopat

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« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2009, 20:15 PM »
Greetings All,
Notwithstanding other forthcoming proposals, Swift's Simon's Modest Proposal sounds great! The recently-returned-from-Picos-and-still-suffering-from-culture-shock Madrid Fraction will certainly do its utmost to attend - if certain among its number can face another journey across half of Spain* at speeds of 120 kph (going on 122 on the occasional downhill stretch of autovía when no-one was looking** :dancing: )

*Compensated for on my part by walking to work every day :dancing:
**But the bee eaters(abejarucos) surely made up for it...

Although this seems to have been ironed out already, I agree with Glennie's insistence of the "togetherness" of the whole gig - One for All and All for One is very much where it's at at :sign:

Regs.,
Technopat
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Offline Petrea

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« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2009, 20:23 PM »
It could be interesting/useful to have a map with the location of all members indicated... :)?????? (I have got no idea of the work load  :noidea:)
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Offline Clive

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« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2009, 20:59 PM »
Petrea, You could put your location in your profile as I have done and it shows up under your name and avatar... that would help a lot with the location of people... Funny you should mention a location map though because this is something i am looking into for the forum and the Wildside project....
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Offline Petrea

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« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2009, 21:11 PM »
My location is already in my profile.  :angel: :angel: :angel:

However, if someone wants to know if there are more people in the area, it will be a lot of work to check everybody's profiles.

I was thinking about the system with Google map as in Picasaweb (Google). I don't know if it can be integrated and if it will be possible for each member to put in the location (less work for the admin, and perhaps not everybody want to be shown?
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Offline Clive

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« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2009, 21:26 PM »
Quote
My location is already in my profile.

But its not under your avatar on your posts... That goes in a different box in your profile settings...

There will be some new stuff on the forum soon... Can't say anymore as I am sworn to secrecy and I haven't worked out how to do a lot of it yet... jejejeje
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« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2009, 09:00 AM »
Mornin' all,

Just back from my holiday vital research project in the La Garrotxa region!

A brief update on the Pre-Pyrenees proposal, which I've decided to call IbNatCat-'O'10 :dancing:

Cal Navarre can hold about 16 or 17 people. I still haven't had a deco at the Golfes yet as it was in use housing the owners' increasing brood of grandchildren! I'm 99% certain that we can hold the Summit there though, even though Carmen told me that she'd have to ". . .preguntar a mi marido.", which is her way of saying "Yes!" But one note of warning that is apposite to the proposal, Carmen and Juan are coming up for retirement, they are farmers too, so Cal Navarre may not be available to us later on  :speechless:.

During the course of this week I'm going to write up and post details of days out, guided visits, etc. I'm happy to do this but there will come a stage when I'll have to start contacting people, museum curators, guides, etc. and I don't want to take up other people's time without at least a fair idea that the Summit is going to happen. I'm very much in favour of a vote, but may I suggest that we put a process to it now, i.e. select a shortlist by such and such a date, then allow time for each proposal to be developed in detail, perhaps with a post dedicated to each one, and then a date for the final selection, using the Forum's survey software to count the votes.

I think we'd need to be fairly generous with these timescales, apart from anything else I'm very heavily committed timewise - or perhaps I should be committed to an institution!  :technodevil:

Sorry to sound all 'formal', it may be just that here in Tarragona we're going through the selection process to host the 2017 Mediterranean Olympics, but in fact it's mostly that as a chronically disorganised person (as some of you will know  :angel:) I really need deadlines to work to or things just don't get done! :banghead:

Regs

Simon

PS I really like the map idea. Sorry to sound all innocent, but why not simple start a Google-earth map and leave us all to add our own profiles to it, and then plonk a link somewhere on the Forum toolbar? :sign:

« Last Edit: May 17, 2009, 09:03 AM by Simon »

Offline glennie

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« Reply #16 on: May 17, 2009, 09:36 AM »
Thanks for all the hard work checking things out Simon.

There would seem to be a couple of priorities to sort out:

1. Dates.
If the May 'puente' is non-existent next year (Sat - 1st), when can we go?

2. How many.
If 25 people say that, in principle, they want to go, then none of the accommodation options mentioned so far would be appropriate.
Is there anywhere that could take that number of people?

I suggest Easter, by the way, as there don't appear to any other dates.
Has anybody thought about this autumn? El Pilar? It's a Monday.

Offline lisa

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« Reply #17 on: May 17, 2009, 20:18 PM »
Only problem with Easter is that accommodation rates tend to go up........and some of us are busy. I'm putting in a formal request for a summit longer than a weekend  :) If we rented somewhere, dividing the cost equally whatever the length of stay per forummer.............or found a campsite where people could come and go.................Let's see if Wildside Holidays businesses come up with any proposals.
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Offline Clive

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« Reply #18 on: May 17, 2009, 21:44 PM »
Hey Simon, chill a bit,,, It's a year or more away yet so no panic.... :)

Easter is probably a no go for many reasons,

Camping is good for us, in fact I'd rather that than stay in a house or other form of rental....

I would say make it for a full week with one base... next time Sue and I will be there for the whole week.. Plus of course the new nipper :)

(As for a map I am working on it.... Yes, Google might be a part of it but I want the system member integrated to the forum which is more complicated... I also don't want any google map system plastered with crappy adverts.... But that is for another time and place so no more off the subject......)

Back to the 2010 summit... There may be a couple of possibles from Wildside Holidays, I am waiting for news on that....

Explore the nature of Iberia at www.wildsideholidays.com

The beautiful town of Ronda, the City of Dreams?

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« Reply #19 on: May 17, 2009, 22:17 PM »
Yep, camping is a great idea. But for Easter this is a big no no in my region as we are talking about really cold weather, I mean seriously cold weather! In fact I'd discounted Easter next year (see above) as the 'spring' season will not have got off the ground, so to speak, in the beginning of April! Remember that we are talking about the Pyrenees, not Andalusia!!!

I apprecite the need for so many folks to 'ganar la puente' but this does also raise issues of availability, as Lisa suggests. The Puente de Mayo, however that transpres, is a good option; and this would be a good time to take over a camp site. I have one in mind that we use all the time; Camping Collegats. They are really great and I'm sure we could do a deal about the catering, etc. But I must stress again that we should not think about going there too early in the season!

I suggested our Summit being between Semana Santa and the Puente de Mayo precisely because of the availability factor. But I do understand Glennie s point about 'time off'. I don't know how to reconcile this; one half of us are in the tourism business and don't have free time after Easter, while  others have 'real' jobs to go to! :technodevil: Up to the group I suppose!

Anyway, many thoughts to consider. I'm off to Saragossa at about 06.00 so no more from me for the time being!

Regards

Simon