High on a Hilltop – Tour de Batere & Canal de Boulet   4 comments

For most of our stay in Roussillon the weather was hot and hazy. For a couple of days in the middle however we had some exceptionally clear blue skies, more like spring or autumn. One afternoon me and D took off into the foothills for a late afternoon stroll.

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Col de la Descargue

I’d spied on my map a low ridge that you could drive pretty close to the top of, with a ruined watchtower at its foot. The ridge, the Canal de Boulet, led up to the Puig de L’Estelle at 1778 metres and looked an excellent easy round trip but for today we settled on an amble up to one of the small bumps on the ridge to soak up the views and enjoy being out in the mountains without too much effort.

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Tour de la Batere

The road climbs through some wonderful, wild and lonely scenery and we barely saw a car on the climb. The last couple of kilometres are on a gravel track that was level and no problem to drive and we parked at the spectacularly sited Tour de Batere on the Col de la Descargue.

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Tour de la Batere

Even from here the views across to the coastal plain and the Med and over the mountains to Spain and the Canigou massif were simply breathtaking.

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View South towards Spain

The air was crystal clear and the sky a deep azure blue. The grassy ridge just ached to be climbed so we set off to see how far we could get before we had to return for tea (it was already after 5pm). It was hot but bearable for walking with a cool breeze and the terrain was perfect for walking.

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D, High Level Strolling

We picked our way up the grassy ridge over a succession of minor tops until we came to a point below the main ridge where we decided it was time to stop. I could have carried on for miles and it would be a superb place for an overnight sleep under the stars, something I plan to do next time I’m here.

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Monts D’Alberes

The proximity to the flat expanse of the Roussillon plain gives an exaggerated sense of height and space and there is a hint of majesty with the Canigou massif rising in the distance.

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Puig de L’Estelle & Canigou Massif

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Roussillon Plain

There seemed to be an endless array of ridges to be walked and I was later pleased to find (having purchased a French guidebook) that many are walkable. Lots more plans have been made.

We sat for as long as we dared without risking the wrath of TBF for being late for tea. We reluctantly headed down.

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Heading down

D was especially pleased that he’d been out walking in the Pyrenees, albeit in the smaller foothills.

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Tour de la Batere

A little gem of a walk but still, my need for a more challenging walk was not yet satisfied and my plans were forming for a proper day out in the mountains. Watch this space

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4 responses to “High on a Hilltop – Tour de Batere & Canal de Boulet

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  1. Superb photos as usual 🙂 Had a bit of a Eureka moment just now reading this post – my parents lived in France for a while, and I remember now that they used to have a picture on the wall from a trip they did to Rousillon, so they must have really liked the place too!

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    • Thanks Chrissie. It’s a superb area for walking and for the family. I’d love to visit in Spring or Autumn and do some proper walks. It’s just too hot in the summer to really enjoy it.

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  2. Looks like perfect walking country. I’m sure a bivy would be marvelous. Are you trying to tell us something with that Lemonheads number? (The first of their albums I bought was called ‘Hate Your Friends’ and was a lot less mellow than this.)

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    beatingthebounds
    • It’s a superb ridge and would make a great early morning walk before the sun gets too hot. I don’t have that Lemonheads album any more, should have downloaded it while I had the chance.

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