The weather is softening, the snow is melting and the days are getting longer. The time has come to plan new Pyrenees-trips along the bordermarkers. Who are the main players in the heroïc field of finding all esfr-markers? A list of the current 9 men/women who did them all, can be found on this page.
Let’s start with my friends Carlos and Conchita Roca from Barcelona.
They have made significant progress in the last years including finishing the Pyrénées Orientales and almost the western Pyrenees. But now they are facing the long hikes in the high mountains of the central Pyrenees. We can check their results on this map.
If I import their results in an excel-file, they have still 42 bm’s to go = 94% done
Then we have the two cousins Sébastien Marc and Jérôme Loubière (see this post).
Sébastien (left) has covered 90% of all esfr-bordermarkers and considering his young age and athletic fitness, I think he will finish first.
Finally, Jérôme Loubière (right) has a slower but not necessarily less persistent pace. I estimate his progress at being 60%.
And whatever their last bm will be, I hope to be present.
In the previous post, I introduced Sébastien Marc and his cousin Jérôme Loubière, the new kids on the block. Sébastien surprised me a bit later with an excel-sheet of how he keeps track of the bordermarkers he has covered so far. Hereunder a picture of his sheet:
(You can download this sheet (his current status) with this link and the same sheet but empty for his data with this link.)
Sébastien likes to make a difference between the markers numbered 1 to 602 and all the extra markers like submarkers, double markers, and the Llivia-markers. I remember that also Carlos and Conchita Roca prefer that distinction. So he included a sub-sheet for these extra markers:
But for me all bordermarkers “are created equal” and – inspired by Sébastien – I made my own excel-template with all markers on one sheet. It looks like this:
(As an example, I have entered in this sheet all the markers I did so far in my ‘second round’. At one point I decided to do all markers at least twice (with at least one year difference). Why? Why not? You can see that I have still to (re)do 69 bordermarkers, all planned for 2022.)
Do you want an empty template to use for yourself? Download it with this link.
You might report your own results as a comment to this post. I’d love to see how far you are in doing all esfr-bordermarkers.
I used to receive once in a while pictures of esfr-bordermarkers of Sébastian Marc and I wondered who he was and if he aimed at ‘doing’ all the esfr-bordermarkers. To my surprise, he happened to be not a retired sexagenarian or septuagenarian but a young and athletic man with a passion to find and photograph every esfr-bordermarker.
Sébastien is 44 years old and works in logistics. Being a devoted Pyrenees-walker since long, he started with ultra-trailrunning in the Pyrenees 10 years ago. And then he discovered the esfr-bordermarkers and that became his next goal. He has covered ± 75% of all esfr-bordermarkers and remembers bm542 as being the most difficult to reach, bm510 as the most beautiful, and bm143 as unfindable until now.
But he is not alone: he dragged his cousin Jérôme Loubière into this passion and Jérome started his own project to do them as well.
Jérôme is 45 years old and a mathematics and language teacher. He also mentions the bordermarkers near Coustouges (bm536-524) as being the most difficult and thinks that bm601 is the most beautiful with its view over the Mediterranean. He has done ± 50% of all bordermarkers.
They often go together for one or two days but in order to catch up with Sébastien, Jérôme also makes trips alone or with his family. They call themselves ‘ramborneurs’, I supposed a combination of ‘Rambo’ and ‘borne’ but it happens to be a less testosterone-driven combination as Sébastien pointed out later: ‘les randonneurs qui cherchent des bornes’.
And how far are they? Well, Sébastien is way ahead of Jérôme with 524 bordermarkers covered so far while Jérôme has done 363 markers until now. They both refer to the total number of 602 bordermarkers but in fact, there are a lot more markers. In my definition and counting (see this page), there are 723 markers that fit somehow in the alpha-numerical sequence between no. 1 (Basque country) and 602 (Mediterranean coast). There are 6 markers missing (see this page)
That leaves 717 individual markers to be photographed to enter the list of the ones who did them all (see this post).
And to finish: Sébastien has even baptized a stone pillar on his property as marker 603, to prove his devotion. He is not the only one to have a personal bordermarker in the garden: see Serge Poncet’s bm583bis.