Capcir - walk the same trails as John in the novel
Walking through the Pyrenees
Starting the tour de Capcir A short minibus journey takes us into the Capcir, a high bowl of lakes pasture and forest surrounded by mountains and known locally as "Petit Sibire" (little Siberia) which tells you a lot about its winters. We start walking from the pretty village of Matemale and skirt the eastern side of the Capcir in a long day of forest tracks and paths, with cracking views across to the Puig Carlit (our eventual high point of the week, and the highest peak in the area, even higher than the famous Canigou). Skirting the lake of we cross its dam to the old village of Puyvalador then on up a beautiful side valley to the hamlet of Espousouille.
Camporells We leave our friendly gite d'étape and follow the Vall de Galba upwards into the mountains. A good path takes us to the remote and beautiful Camporells refuge (bunk beds, outside toilet, basic food). A gorgeous spot.
Traverse of the Pérics The two mountains in front of the hut are the little and big Pérics. We will climb them both by some extremely steep paths followed by a descent involving a bit of scrambling, down the northeast ridge. Vistas of mountains all round, a good chance of seeing vultures, and possibly a lammergeier. We traverse the Puig de la Cometa and drop down to the even more remote hut of D'En Beys. Similar accommodation.
Into the Vall d’Orlu
We leave the Camporells and retrace our steps of day 4 briefly before heading up the mountain to the Estany del Diable, the Lake of the Devil! We cross the ridge and descend steeply into the Orlu valley. We make our way up to the remote Refuge d’En Beys.
Puig Carlit Hopefully you had a good rest because this is the big one. An early start heading south down the very remote valley then we strike steeply up the western flank of Puig Carlit, at 2921m the highest peak in the Capcir, and in this part of the Pyrenees for that matter. Tremendous views from the top. We then descend a long rough path followed by wanderings on green pasture next to a multitude of shimmering lakes, with semi-wild herds of horses. Finally we drop down to the huge Bouillouses reservoir and cross its dam to get to the relatively opulent Bouillouses refuge. We can even go out to dinner, as there is a bar/restaurant next door!
Completing the circle A relatively relaxed start and we soon strike off into the forest. Coming out onto alpine pasture we skirt the Lac d'Aude and easily ascend Mont Llaret behind it. Superb views of our previous adventures. A steep descent through the forest brings us out onto a forest road and down to the beautiful lake of Balcere with its little cafe and ardent anglers. From here we follow the forest track to the village of Les Angles. The lake of Matemale glitters below. We descend and skirt the lake (possibility of a swim) then a short pleasant walk through open woodland takes us back to Matemale, and we are soon back at the hotel.
Further infomration can be found at the Pyrenees walking website .