Languedoc - Cathar Castles Trail
Accommodation is in a variety of small hotels and chambres d’hôte (Bed & Breakfast) or gîtes d’étape. Each day
all baggage (except your daypack) will be transported to our next overnight stop.
Breakfast is provided every day and dinner on every day except day 13. You are free to purchase your own lunches.
Arrival is on Saturday at Tuchan. (Taxi transfer to this accommodation can be arranged - ask for prices. If enough people arrive on the same flight we will arrange a minibus.)
Day 1 (Saturday): Arrive Perpignan. Collection from airport.
Hotel accommodation in Tuchan (Relais d'Aguilar)
Day 2 (Sunday): Morning walk to Chateau d'Aguilar; afternoon stroll round vineyards of Mont Tauch
Hotel accommodation (Relais d'Aguilar)
Day 3 (Monday): Tuchan–Cucugnan 20k (12ml) + 750m. An attractive stage passing below limestone cliffs, through vineyards and the scented undergrowth of the garrigue. Castles: Padern, Queribus.
Hotel accommodation (Hotel du Vigneron)
Day 4 (Tuesday):Cucugnan – Camps sur l’Agly 20k (12ml) + 830m. A taxi ride to the Chateau de Peyrepertuse then a picturesque day which passes through the spectacular Gorges de Galamus. Castle: Peyrepertuse
Gite d'etape accommodation on a working farm (Gite la Bastide)
Day 5 (Wednesday): Camps sur l’Agly – Bugarach 14.5k (9ml) + 500m. A shorter day, which gives us time to enjoy wandering through remote rural pastures and picnic below the impressive limestone peak of the Pech de Bugarach (4,000ft).
Gite d'etape accommodation (Maison de la Nature)
Day 6 (Thursday): Bugarach – Quillan 23.5k (15ml) + 700m.The terrain becomes one of wooded and watered valleys, with stretches of tracks and quiet lanes. The day ends in the town of Quillan. Castle: Château des Templiers; Quillan.
Hotel accommodation (Hotel Cartier)
Day 7 (Friday): Quillan. Minibus trip to visit the castle of Puylaurens
Hotel accommodation (Hotel Cartier)
Day 8 (Saturday): Quillan - Puivert 21k (13ml) + 700m A steep climb in the morning as Mediterranean influences give way to the Pyrenees and we exchange vineyards for pasture and woodland Castle: Puivert
Gite d'etape accommodation (Relais des Marionnettes)
Day 9 (Sunday): Puivert - Espezel 20.5k (13ml) + 500m A steady climb through the forest of Picaussel and across the Plateau de Sault. We visit an atmospheric Resistance command post hidden deep in the woods.
Hotel accommodation (Hotel Grau)
Day 10 (Monday): Espezel - Comus 20.5k (13ml) + 500m Ancient pine forests and high pastures as we draw a little closer to the mountains. We get our first view of the castle of Montsegur and we end the day close to the village of Montaillou, famous for the the book about life in the 13th century based on Inquisition records.
Gite d'etape accommodation
Day 11 (Tuesday): Comus - Montsegur 14.5k (9ml) +500m We leave the high plateaux through the the Gorges de la Frau, its impressive cliffs towering on either side. A short day (we should be in Montsegur for lunch) but with a steep climb through the forest. Afternoon visit to the castle, perched on its rocky outcrop.
Castle: Montségur Chambre d'hote accommodation. (L'Oustal)
Day 12 (Wednesday): Montségur - La Roquefixade 16.5k (10.5ml) + 550m. A pleasant day through the wool-producing Pays d’Olmes with many good views back to Montsegur.
Castle: La Roquefixade. Gite d’étape accommodation (Gite de Roquefixade)
Day 13 (Thursday): La Roquefixade – Foix 18.5k ( 11.5ml) + 500m) An undulating day’s walk leads us finally down to our journey’s end in the capital of the Pays de Foix. Castle: Foix.
Hotel accommodation (Hotel Lons)
Day 14 (Friday): Transfer to Carcassonne. Day in Carcassonne amongst the towers and crenellated walls of the old city - used in films such as "Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves".
Hotel accommodation (Hotel Aragon)
Day 15 (Saturday): Travel home
Weather: Temperatures in the Languedoc in September can vary from the coastal plain where it is warm and dry to the possibility of some cooler weather in the Pyrenean foothills. When the sun shines it is strong, so protection against sunburn is advisable. Nights can be cool in the second half of this trip.
Grade and Terrain: (Grade B) This trip is suitable for any regular hill-walker. However, As the first day is fairly long and can be hot, it is as well to build up your fitness before you arrive. Paths are generally good, although there are some rough sections. There are some quite steep ascents and descents. (the steepest descent is probably towards the end of the first day!)
Accommodation and Meals: Overnight accommodation is in simple but comfortable village inns, chambres d’hôte and gîtes d’étape. Twin-bedded rooms are usually available in the inns and chambres d’hôte, (although single people can be catered for), but small dormitory accommodation (rooms of 3/4) is likely in gîtes d’étape. You need to bring a sheet slepping bag and a towel for these nights.
Three-course evening meals are provided each evening (except on the last night in Carcassonne when you are free to choose your restaurant) with a continental breakfast in the morning.
Each morning after breakfast (normally 7.30 - 8.00 a.m) we ask that you bring your bags down to be loaded into the support vehicle. We suggest that you bring just one bag each, preferably of the soft "sports" style, as these are easier than suitcases to load into the support vehicle. During the day you need carry only a light daypack.
We set off around 8.15 - 8.30 a.m. and walk for about an hour, when we stop for a short break. Then we continue until lunch, between 12 and 1p.m., which is usually at a viewpoint, by a stream or some other pleasant spot. Other breaks are taken as required.
We generally arrive at our overnight accommodation between 3 and 5 p.m. and you will find your bags awaiting you.
Dinner is usually between 7.30 - 8.00 p.m. We ask that you pay for any drinks the same night.
Groups often find it most convenient to operate a kitty system for drinks.
Walking boots or trekking shoes, lightweight, waterproof, supportive and comfortable
Rucksack (30 – 35 litres)
Waterproof top & trousers, preferably fairly light.
Fleece gloves or similar
Long trousers or tracksuit bottoms (lightweight polycotton or microfibre etc.)
Shirts (incl. one long-sleeved.)
Sandals or light footwear.
Water-bottle, preferably 2. litres
Trail food: cereal bars, nuts & raisins, dried fruit
First-aid kit (perhaps including. blister treatment, Immodium, anitiseptic handwash, water purifiers.)
Washbag (soap, shampoo, toothpaste etc…..)
Torch and batteries.
Sheet or lightweight sleeping bag. (for gites)
Poly bags (useful for food, dirty clothes, maps etc.)
Knife (and possibly spoon) for picnics etc.
You may want to bring:
Book to read
Camera (& film.)
Alarm clock/mobile phone.
Walking poles (highly recommended )
Dates: September TBA
Cost: (£1,625 land only)