Barry Arnold is one of those guys fascinated by borders: border-crossings in all kinds, border-phenomena, and in particular tripoints. His website (https://barrysborderpoints.com/) lists all his trips to various borders and tripoints.
In August 2020 he traveled to the French-Spanish border in the eastern Pyrenees and documented thoroughly the ‘borderpoints’ he visited, including the two tripoints of Andorra. See this subpage of his website. Very interesting, very informative, very worth reading.
Noteworthy: he did the Llivia-circuit as well, covering all the Llivia-bordermarkers (soon to be added in his enclave-section). He is also one of the few among us who dared to climb the Pic de Medecourbe (western tripoint of Andorra). Also interesting: his account of the pene-enclave Os de Civis, the only Spanish village that can be reached by car only by going through Andorra (link). He might consider – with his stamina – to do the Andorra-circuit.
Jean-Paul Laborie is a commissioner of the Pyrenean border committee. As such, he is popular with the media and has appeared several times in newspapers-articles or on television.
His latest appearance on television was part of a news-broadcast (Le 13 heures du samedi 23 mai 2020) on the French TF1-channel. Not as an actual news-item but as a human interest subject on the bordermarkers of the Pyrenees. The video contains a lot of drone-made aerial footage, I like that.
Les-bornes-frontière-de-Napoléon – Le 13 heures du samedi 23 mai 2020_TF1 from Eef Berns on Vimeo.
The video has four parts:
– part 1: Jean-Paul visits Col du Portillon (bm366) and Col de Barèges (bm356 and 358) and gives some explanations
– part 2: a trip (without Jean-Paul) to the old mines of Bentaillou which are said to be close to bm420. In fact they are much closer to bm418/419 which is still a 2-hours walk from the mines. The guide points wrongly to a col (Portillon d’Albe) where there is no bordermarker and to a mountain top (Pic de Serre Haute) with a ‘borne’ visible. But that not a ‘borne frontière’ but a giant cairn.:
(Picture above borrowed from this webpage)
– part 3: two short visits to Llivia and Le Perthus
– part 4: Jean-Paul visits for the first time bm602 which is in a cave at the mediterranean coast. Bm602 is only accessible by boat or by swimming.
It has been a plan for years: (trail)running around Llivia and visiting all the bordermarkers on the go. Why: for the fun of it and as a sporty challenge.
Today was the day and the route I was about to follow was my own GRPdesBF-one:
Well, it took me 5:30h to complete the 25km. Many parts were unfit for running: too steep, too rocky or no trail at all. And when I could run, there were regularly interruptions to find the bordermarker, make a picture, to check where to proceed. So the average speed is low but the variation in speed was large. I was quite exhausted when I finished, also quite content. I think no one has ever done this.
The recording by Runkeeper can be seen at this page.
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 (http://www.grpdesbf.nl/esfr-html-bibliography-treaties-llivia.html ) 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!