Esterri d’Aneu to Andorra La Vella

At the start of the smugglers route into AndorraA good night’s sleep was had by all in the hotel and we are fresh for the start of the next challenge and this should be an interesting one…

We are to cross through to Andorra from Spain via the Col de Cabris, the old smuggling route into the duty free zone of Andorra. Problem is, on this side the last 6km are just a dotted line on the map and the sat nav is telling me to go right round another 200 miles!

That ain’t happening…

It’s a tricky route altogether and we need to stick together and we meet at the first rendezvous in good time, then take a left and head towards Andorra to the town of Alins. All plain sailing so far…

Next stop is the end of the road at Tor. There’s only one road and it stops at Tor. What could go wrong?

I head up the very narrow road praying nothing is coming the other way, Up and up we climb and this road is scary and narrow with few passing points. Very little traffic of course and all we do see are mud splattered 4 x 4s. Not a good sign….

This is not a road Andorra

And it got worse, Much worse!

I reach the end of the road, literally still a couple of miles from Tor. After that is what looks to me not much better than a hiking trail. Will I get the van over? Will the lads have to walk?

As I’m waiting another 4×4 comes down past and I stop him for a chat. And yep he’s just come over the other way…so if he can…I can!

Coxy arrives shortly after and just batters on up. “We gotta walk…we walk!”

The others should be up any time but times passes…10 minutes…20 minutes…30 minutes. Something has gone badly wrong. Only one road remember…

Do I go back? Can’t see down more than 200 yards as it’s a very winding road and heavily tree lined. There was that one turn off to a small village half way up, a dead end but the lads had assumed they had to go there first and then carry on. So, they did that. Doh! Stick on the road you’re told boys!!!

Up the rocky road to AndorraSo now we set off on the track and it’s slow progress to Tor over the battered track with the lads having to walk for some sections. But once at Tor we think we only have 2km to go so we slog on. Up we go, on and on at not much more than walking pace. I’m in 1st gear only now and rocking and rolling through the ruts and rocks.

As each switch back looms you’re thinking surely this must be near the top of the road but no…on and on it goes…higher and higher…

Finally I reach the top and meet Coxy. It was at least 7km from Tor over the worst road I’ve ever driven but what an adventure! The rest of the lads arrive eventually and we then head down to Andorra via one of the best descents ever…an 18km chase down to the town. Awesome! A suitable reward for the risks we had taken. All agree, one of the best days ever!

Top of the Col de Cabris