Such a yearning for a getaway! We’re all craving for the chance to go a little trip, aren’t we? Personally, all these “mobility restrictions” are atrophying my muscles; I just can’t wait to put my boots on and go walking through some mountains! Don’t you? But don’t you suffer too much; it all comes sooner or later! If you like hiking, on this Lent we invite you discover with us the Catalan part of the Cathars’ Trail! We have the dates to go trekking the last stages of the Cathars’ Trail in a group and with a guide, season opens on March 31! Bring yourself to come along in this 6-day adventure, you won’t regret it!
GR-107 –aka the Cathars’ Trail– is a trans-Pyrenean trail which follows the steps of the Cathars as they fled from the Catholic Church. Catharism was a Christian movement which started spreading and taking root in the 10th century, particularly in Occitania, and it was brutally persecuted by the Catholic Church, to the point of the Pope declaring a crusade against its followers –the first crusade in Christian territory and against fellow Christians. After the dramatic fall of Montségur (Ariège, France, 1244), the remaining Cathars –who called themselves “good men” and “good women”– escaped genocide heading for Catalan lands. Some of the places that received an important flow of Cathar refugees were the lands of the Bretós from Berga, of the Pinós from Bagà and Gósol, or of the Lords of Castellbò. Thus, the Cathars’ Trail runs on the footsteps of the Cathars, from Foix (Ariège, France) to the Queralt Sanctuary in Berga, crossing lands soaked in history, in an over 200 km long route.
For the guided trek, we are making a more moderated proposal: half that distance in 5 stages (plus a first day to meet) through Catalan territory. Our adventure starts in Porta (in French Cerdanya), where we’ll meet and stay the first night in order to start early and with plenty of energy the next day.
From Porta we’ll head for Bellver de Cerdanya. We will pass through Coll de la Portella Blanca (2.515 m), which separates France, Catalunya and Andorra; we’ll find a granite boundary post marking the French-Spanish frontier there, and we’ll enjoy spectacular views. After, the way is all downhill. The stage is extremely long, but don’t worry, in the country house of Cal Jan de la Llosa we’ll be picked up by a car that will take us to Bellver. Thus, we’ll skip almost 15 km of paved and dirt roads that could be a little boring to walk.
Coll de la Portella Blanca
Santa Maria de Talló
The second stage takes us from Bellver to Bagà. It is a lovely stage that passes next to two Romanesque buildings (the Santa Maria de Talló church and the Sant Serni de Coborriu chapel) and by the bucolic mountain hut of Cortals de l’Ingla, in its Ceretan part. After crossing the Coll de Pendís mountain pass, we’ll leave Cerdanya behind us to enter Berguedà, an awesome region that we’ll discover during the rest of the journey. On the Southern side of Cadí-Moixeró, the trail takes us to the Sant Jordi mountain refuge, placed in a lovely spot. It also crosses the magnificent beech forest of Gréixer, a very well preserved natural monument which will be in full explosion of life and greenness in April. When we arrive in Bagà, we’ll take you visit the Medieval and Cathars’ Centre –it seems quite appropriate, since we’re hiking the Cathars’ Trail–, which lays in the old dungeons of the Palace of the Barons of Pinós, one of those noble families who showed mercy to the “heretic” refugees. I strongly recommend you also take a walk through the lovely Old Town of Bagà, which keeps the 13th century urban layout. It’s worth discovering!
On the third day, we leave Bagà heading for Gósol, one of the most charming villages in the Pedraforca Massif. We’ll start on a paved –yet very nice and flanked by trees– road, although we’ll leave it soon enough to start ascending towards Coll de la Bena and Coll de Bauma after that, following the Bastareny valley. From Coll de Bauma we’ll enjoy a magnificent view of the above-mentioned valley and of the landscape we crossed on our way up. Then, we’ll still have some climb ahead of us to reach El Collell, but we’ll enjoy it thanks to the spectacular view of the northern slope of the Pedraforca –which we might still find a bit snowy– and of the Gresolet Valley. At El Collell, we’ll leave the Cadí mountain chain for the territory of the Pedraforca, whose imposing sight will escort us to Gósol.
The stage from Gósol to Berga is one of the longest and hardest of the Cathars’ Trail; therefore, we’ll split it in two much more feasible stages by spending the night near the abandoned town of Peguera. We’ll leave Gósol and, skirting round the Pedraforca, we’ll head for the Serra d’Ensija mountain chain, which offers such unbelievable landscapes as the stone walls of Ferrús and the Gallina Pelada slopes. We’ll get on for 2.000 m at Collet de l’Estret and therefrom descend to Peguera, an old abandoned mining town laying in a splendid place. This one is a technical stage and –despite being quite short after splitting the original stage– it will surely make us puff. However, it will be worth the effort, since the landscape is impressive.
We will undertake the last stage to Berga with quite a gentle descent. It’s a short and mainly downhill stretch, yet quite intense and not boring at all since we’ll enjoy great views upon the Baix Berguedà plain. We will pass through the magnificent Queralt Sanctuary, and we’ll end our journey with a pronounced descent towards Berga city.
Guided trails, and especially thematic guided trails, are a great opportunity to go hiking while learning and meeting new people. It’s an adventure in the nature, along with a group of people to share it with, and with a highly trained mountain guide who will unveil for you every secret of the places you pass through. Whether you come alone or with friends or family, it’s a memorable and enriching experience. Join us! From March 31 to April 5, Pedratour offers you a qualified mountain guide and a fully organised hiking trip; the only thing you have to worry about is walking and discovering the Cathars’ fascinating history! Come on, load your backpack!