Colldejou – Tivissa
March 26 -27th.
I knew today was a long way so was up early, having some coffee and cake in the hotel lobby. The owners had also kindly left me a wrapped sandwich. Went out about 6.30 to rendezvous with the turbine man. His pickup was still parked so knew I hadn’t missed him.
He duly arrived and I was back up at Colldejou by 7am, still nobody about.
A good track led out of Colldejou past the usual barking dogs locked up in small holdings. The morning was sunny again. The Coll del Guix, 625m, was soon reached with good early morning views back to Colldejou and the coast.
On the forest track down the other side I met this rather sleepy chap, a good 6 inch of fat toad going somewhere.
Out of interest in the eight days of walking I didn’t meet another walker on the GR7. Soon I was climbing on an old path up to Lo Portell, 800m, a pass over the shoulder of the hill near the golfball. Sandy tracks led down through gorse and then into the village of Llaberia, houses seemed renovated but nobody here. ?weekenders.
Sat by the font and ate my donated sandwich. Tracks led out of the bottom end of the village and dropped into the impressive Barranc de Torto. A long line of 40-50m limestone cliffs with some impressive tufas. Spotted one line of bolts so some climbers must venture here despite its isolation.
Tracks wandered through the forest and onto a lane by a river, I was becoming a little disorientated and the map not good enough to sort things. As usual I just follow the markers which are very good. Another problem is that my altimeter has given up the ghost today [battery?] and I tend to rely on it to aid mountain navigation.
I now followed a minor road for a few kilometres until a sign sent me up a side valley on a pretty awful steep stony path. At the top great views of cliff-ed and wooded hillsides confused me even more. This is a wilderness!
Followed yet another valley down past a ruined house to meet up with a forest road at the bottom. Could have sworn I should turn left here, from my intuition and the map, but no, the signs pointed right! Seemed to walk on this rough road for ages going in what I thought was maybe the wrong direction. But the red and white marks kept appearing. There was eventually an old sign pointing to Tivissa but I did for a while consider just walking on to the nearer village of La Sena d’Almos and getting out from there.
All the distances this afternoon seem to have magnified. Felt I was in a time warp not really getting anywhere. Obviously tiring. Onwards through more gorges and wooded hillsides, past abandoned farms, desperate for the red and white markers. The time on the last sign 1hr30min was way out and I was relieved to reach my last col at fields of cultivated hazel nut trees. A little patch colour from wildflowers seemed to say the worst was over.
Over the next rise I was glad to see Tivissa only a few kilometres away. It’s backing of cliffs was familiar to me from my last visit here on the GR7 in Oct last year [see post – The mighty mosquito…… conclusion of GR7 trip. Oct 2012] The weather seemed to be changing, with rain in the air. Having said that my new [see post — The rain in Spain……. GR7 part3. Oct 2012] waterproof past its test with flying colours — never once having come out of the rucksack in 152k !!
Within an hour I was in the town and as I’d arrived a day behind schedule I was keen to get out tonight to Reus for my plane tomorrow. A quick call for a taxi and it appeared, like a genie, pleased to see the same driver who had transported us last year to the coastal rail line. Everything happens quickly once you are on the move. Soon on a train to Tarragona, then a bus to Reus and installed in a hotel by teatime, or in this case coffee time. A little bit of modernism in this vibrant city the next morning then back to freezing Liverpool.
Good stuff. Those early morning starts are rewarding when there is nobody else ahead – you stand a much better chance of seeing the wildlife.