The snow is falling in the Pyrénées and no doubt thoughts are turning to waxing and servicing skis in preparation for the opening of the pistes. But there is another snowy activity to consider : snowshoeing!
Only 15 minutes from Perpignan centre (direction Porte d’Espagne/Barcelona) the lake at Villeneuve-de-la-Raho is used all year round for walkers and joggers, and also provides the water necessary for the ’canadairs’ in case of forest fires.
Normally when you are “invited” to visit the Police in France, you do this with a little trepidation. My invite however was to join the CRS, Secours en Montagne, on one of their avalanche, search and rescue, retraining or “recyclage” days.
The narrow but spectacular tree lined route, criss-crossed by well trodden footpaths formed over the years by escapees, smugglers, refugees, and shepherds, will tempt you back another time, for another visit.
A delightful and very interesting circuit of 3 hours, with 460 metres of ascent. Most of the route is in forest and offers good protection from the sun.
Pic du Canigou walk – a sense of achievement and spectacular views from the top on a good day are more than worth the effort.
You have probably crossed Caixas on your way to visit Castelnou without spotting this commune hidden in the rugged heart of the Aspres.
Across the bridge from Ille sur Têt, on the road to Belesta, along a small road on the left running along by the river, lies the ruined village of Casenoves, (‘new houses’ in Catalan).
This is a comfortable jaunt around a valley to the south of Banyuls-sur-Mer. It involves gentle climb to Puig del Mas followed by a short but steep climb along the beginning of the ‘Chemin de Walter Benjamin’