A full guide to the Cathar Way, a 250 kilometre trail crossing the Languedoc region of southern France from the foothills of the Pyrenees to the shores of the Mediterranean.
Key features of the book include:
. . . 17 stage by stage walk descriptions covering the full linear route including all variants;
. . . 10 circular routes exploring the best of the region’s day walks, ranging from virtually effortless strolls to gruelling high mountain hikes;
. . . full details of transport, accommodation, and all the practical information required for planning and completing a successful trip;
. . . background essays to help enhance the walking experience;
. . . downloadable GPS data, waypoint files in gpx file format identifying all key navigation points available on DWG website www.walking.demon.co.uk;
. . . links to photo pages, and route diagrams;
- all of the 27 walking route descriptions are available in Viewranger versions for 3G phones and tablets see http://www.viewranger.com/en-gb Discovery Walking Guides Branded Routes.
Threading its way through dramatic gorges carved out by tumbling mountain torrents and traversing a patchwork of oak mantled hills, Alpine pastures, dense pine forests, lush meadows, rocky plateaux, and regimented vineland, the Sentier Cathare stitches together drovers' trails, logging tracks, smugglers' paths, and winding country lanes to link some of the principal sites associated with the dissident Christian movement from which it takes its name.
Above all, we visit a succession of castles, each perched more improbably than the last on craggy peaks, castles whose evocative ruins have proved so compelling that they have conspired with history to stimulate our collective appetite for quests, mysteries and quixotic exploits.
This is a protean path, offering something for everybody, from the lover of wild places to the aficionado of old stones, from the hearty athlete looking for a challenge to the New Age mystic seeking enlightenment, but whatever your motive for embarking on such an adventure, walking the Sentier Cathare is a hugely rewarding experience, in the course of which petty cares slip away, replaced by a headful of mountains, meetings, and vistas, and walking becomes a way of being, so that come the end there is every chance that you will want only one thing, to turn round and do it all over again.
And for those who don’t fancy a long distance adventure, the circular walks explore some of the most dramatic, recondite and beautiful sites on and around the Sentier Cathare, taking in out-of-the-way ruins, dizzying eyries, dramatic rockscapes, stunning waterfalls, picturesque paths, wonderful woodland, an illicit saltworks, and a natural maze that will delight children of all ages. These walks, which range from virtually effortless strolls to gruelling high mountain hikes, have been worked out with a view to giving visitors travelling by car an overview of everything the Sentier Cathare has to offer, plus a bit more besides.