Category Archives: News 2016

Bm481fr in a changing world

I was happy to receive a picture of Carlos and Conchita, showing the plaque of bm481fr being lifted to the surface again. Bm481fr (Bourg-Madame in the Cerdagne) started his life as a large borderstone. It was removed when the road was constructed and replaced by a plaque in the tarmac. In 2012, however, the plaque got covered by a new layer of tarmac. Now it’s visible again.

Watch the changing fate of bm481fr on this page.


New website on the esfr-bordermarkers

I was happy to learn about a new website. Carlos and his wife Conchita informed me that they have recently started their own ‘quest’ for the esfr-bordermarkers. The starting webpage is here (and for the Llivia-bordermarkers this page). Apparently they live in the Cerdagne because their harvest so far is bm444 to 506.

Each day-account is detailed and contains large pictures (with often Conchita standing besides, I think Carlos likes her). There are also embedded maps (I’m jealous about that feature) and elevation charts and a link to their Flickr-albums.


Bm542 revisited

On september 11th,  I returned to bm542, starting from the hamlet of Can d’Amunt. It’s one of the most difficult to find bordermarkers along the esfr-borderline. I was impressed how trails and waymarks are getting vaguer and undergrowth becoming denser since I visited this bm for the first time in 2009, guided by Jean Iglesias. Though there is a direct descent possible from approximately bm541 (I did that last year), I found that route now too difficult because of the undergrowth.

I followed once againg the “route normal” of Jean Iglesias, establishing new waypoints and clearing the trails by cutting them back here & there and placing some cairns. Hoping to facilitate your journey to bm542.


Border-festivities at Col de Somport

An interesting article about the annual festivities of three villages on either side of Col de Somport. Each year at 17 july they check the bordermarker 305 at Col de Somport (an easy job, I think) as prescribed by the article 9 of the “Traité des limites du 14 avril 1862” and celebrate their crossborder-friendship with gifts and dancing.

article-Le-traité de la Vesiau-France3-july 2016

Old Pyrénées magazines digitalized

I was happy to learn from Charles Darrieu that the famous Bulletin Pyrénées (published by the Musée Pyrénéen in Lourdes) has been digitalized and made available for all of us. There are two links because there are two successive series:

The first one is the “Bulletin Pyrénéen” (1896-1948):

The second one is “Pyrénées” (1950-2004):


Charles is an admirer of the French border-commissioner Jean Sermet (1907-2003) who has written very much about the Pyrenean border and was the ‘leading man’ in many borderrelated issues. He has listed the articles of Sermet in these magazines: 106,104 (1975), 105,106,107,(1976) 109,111,112 (1977), 114,116 (1978), 117,119 (1979), 123 (1980), 130,131,132 (1982), 140 (1984), 183 (1995).

Four submarkers of bm597 to be establised

Thanks to information of Serge Poncet I learned that on the mountain-top of Querroig four submarkers of bm597 will be engraved (if the proposal will be approved by the “Commission mixte Franco-Espagnole”). Why? Apparently there were groundworks scheduled around the ruins of the former castle which could change the watershed and therefore the borderline.
In 2014 a team of officials made a reconnaissance of the terrain and marked the four rocks where the bordercrosses could be engraved when the project will be approved. I don’t know when that will be. In their report they list the coordinates which makes locating them on Google Earth easy.

The rocks in question were provisory marked with yellow paint crosses and spots. Like this one (bm597c):


Update 2017 or 2018: according to Serge Poncet, the project has been abandoned due to the estimated high costs.

How Spain lost territory to France without knowing

The border of the Spanish enclave of Llivia mainly crosses the fields around its pretty town in a pretty straight way and is marked with single bordermarkers. There are however two sets of double bordermarkers:

Bm17-21: with the borderline in the middle of the dirtroad between the double markers.

Bm31-34: with – I thought – the small stream between the double markers as the borderline.

But, I discovered that this is wrong! The borderline is ± 5m to the north of the stream!

After getting a question of the well known border-expert Jan Krogh, I read the treaty ( ) again:


The text implicates that the double 31-34 markers once included a road north along the stream. The axe of that road was established as the borderline! One bm was placed at the N-side of the road, the other one at the S-side of the stream and the maximum distance between the double markers was said to be 5 meters. The road has disappeared and nowadays the double markers stand at each side of the little stream.

If you watch the French IGN-map, you can see the old positions of the bordermarkers and the original borderline (and the positions of the new ones as established with my gps).


At some point of time, the dirtroad has disappeared and out of convenience and ignorance- I think – the bordermarkers were placed on either side of the stream. But the borderline is still north of the stream.


Finally, on this picture – the borderline shown on Google Earth. If we measure the territory lost to France, it’s a strip of approximately 5x500m.

But you might ask yourself: who cares? Well, I do!

Bm409 submarker 7 restored

I was happy to receive from Jean-Paul Laborie his report of the renewal of the submarker 409-7 close to bm410 near Pont du Roi which took place a few weeks ago.


The beautiful ceramic covers were destroyed between 2011 and 2014. The ceramic plates have been remade by the same company of 45 years ago. We can see that they are identical with the original ones on the next picture. The bm409-submarkers were placed in ± 1970. See this page for more information.


Jean-Paul Laborie is a “Délégué à l’abornement”, an official border-commissioner with the assigment to check the bordermarkers in the central part of the Pyrenees. I think he has a dream-job.

Bm508: ultimate proof

Serge Poncet did an amazing discovery in november 2015. The nice weather permitted him to do a hike to Coll de Núria where bm508 is to be found. That is to say: the remnants of it and that means that only the engraved cross is left. Its position (conform the Treaty) and the resemblance with the other bordercrosses in this area made a positive identification possible. Nothing was left of the number, however.

But Serge brushed away the loose grit and stone around the cross and he found an engraved 8! Thus proving that this is really bm508.


And let’s show the spot of that 8 on a picture of mine: