The Tale of a P-O Love Affair

By Chris Parker

Many readers will know the names of Tim and Chris Parker from our series on Walk the Region, to which they have contributed walks over the past 5 years or so. 

This is an account of their love affair with the region over the past 17 years.

Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

Part VI – Walking the region

Walking has always been part of our life together and exploring the many walking routes in the P O has given us great satisfaction, a few challenges and a few headaches when the route has not been clear!

Coastal path after Banyuls sur Mer

In the UK we live a long way from the sea, so the coastal walks and the views of the sea from the Albères have been a particular source of wonderment and enjoyment. By the sea and in the hills, the landscape and sky are constantly changing in their presentation.  We never tire of some of the same walks as they offer new sights, sounds, colours and feelings every time.

On one walk in spring a few years ago we counted about 40 different plants/flowers along the coast path between Les Tamarins (Port Vendres) and Cap Béar. We have seen wild boar, deer, birds of prey rising on the thermals, the odd snake, lots of lizards and geko, beautiful butterflies and dragonflies or similar (we are not experts on wildlife!)  – what is there not to love in the wildness of the hills and countryside?

Then there is the history and culture of the region.  It is fascinating to pass old buildings of all types, remnants of the life and industry of years gone by.  Chateaux, churches, old mas, bridges, vestiges of mining, Neolithic dolmen – the list is endless.

Over time we found that some of the walk descriptions in books and leaflets we referred to, were not very detailed. We always take a map with us but if we do have a walk description we like it to provide really relevant details of where and when you have to turn right or left, set out the landmarks and so on.

We discovered P-O Life some years ago and followed many of the walks within it. What a fantastically informative magazine!  We wondered if we could supplement the supply of walk descriptions in any way-  so one day I photographed one of our walks, wrote up the description and sent it over to Kate.  The rest is history, as they say!

One of the great things about walking in the areas we cover is that you rarely come back with any mud on your boots!  This is such a contrast to the UK where winter walking is such a pain on muddy paths.  Here many routes are on stony footpaths or earth paths which don’t seem to hold the rainwater – or are on such a gradient that after the rain has rushed over them it has washed them clean!  We find you have to choose your route carefully after rain in case any river crossings have become too wide or deep to cross – but hopefully the route description will mention this.

Cascade des Anglais

There is such a lot of choice too – anything from flat walks on the plain through the vines and orchards, to moderate ascents up lower hills or partway up the mountains, and the challenge of higher peaks for the rather more “randonneurs confirmés”.  So whatever your level of fitness there are options for you.

We encourage using the Walk the Region section of the P-O Life website to find a wide range of walks by a range of contributors.

Keep on walking!

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