To the Tours of Cabrenç for a Perfect Autumn picnic
When there’s a light sprinkling of snow on Canigou and the vineyards are just turning gold it’s a good idea to pack up a picnic and head up the Vallespir.
After Arles sur Tech take the D44, follow the signs for Serralongue and soon you are high up above the Tech valley surrounded by grand mountains and farming country.
From Serralongue village the three towers of Cabrenç are easily visible, perched on a nearby mountaintop. The first is the remains of the 10th century castle, the second the keep of the castle added in the 12th century and the third the signal tower built in the 14th century. Serralongue village had been built in the 10th century to provide lodgings for the serfs of the Castle of Cabrenç.
To reach the towers, take the road to Lamanère, but turn off up a track marked “To The Towers” before you get there. A steep path leads through the straight trunks of sweet chestnut woods, sunlight glittering on the remaining leaves, golden light allowing glimpses of craggy peaks and occasional farms. A beautiful but long commute for the 10th century peasants getting to work in the castle from Serralongue on a daily basis.
“Cabrenç”meaning goat in ancient Catalan, seems an apt title. Goats could well have designed the path.
Gradually the chestnuts give way to beech woods, huge granite boulders appear and , as you approach the towers, the only sounds are of distant cowbells and the rustle of fallen leaves around your boots.
The view from the top is wonderful. Mountains for miles and the Castle Keep makes the perfect spot for a picnic. The past may have been full of frantic fighting and demented defending of high mountain passes, but all you see today is peace and beauty, the animals small as toys, making their way from meadow to meadow far below.
It is quite a climb up to the top the third tower but when you do get to the top a beautiful enamelled Table of Orientation shows you are 112 km from Barcelona, the Bay of Roses is way over the border in that direction, it is only 40 km from Collioure and Canigou of course is just there …
The descent by the same path is easy