The ravine: The great adventure of the Pyrenees
Put yourself to the test in the Pyrenees. We propose a multi-activity adventure: a night in a mountain campsite, rafting on the River Noguera Pallaressa and the descent of a spectacular canyon, the Barranc de l’Infern (Hell’s Canyon). Are you ready for an adventure in the Pallars region?
The day dawns in El Baix Pallars. The sun’s shining. The mountain is green, that deep green so characteristic of springtime. In the background is the roar of the River Noguera Pallaressa. It’s in full spate, because the snows are thawing. You get up after sleeping under the stars, in a mountainside campsite of tents, set up specially for you and providing every comfort. It’s time to make a coffee and begin a day of adventure.
Time to go river rafting
The first stop: Collegats Gorge, forming a natural corridor between the regions of El Pallars Jussà and Ell Pallars Sobirà. A 5-km-long ravine opened by the River Noguera Pallaressa in the mountains. It’s time to put on your wetsuit, life jacket and helmet, because you’re about to descend the Noguera Pallaressa, one of the best rivers for rafting. It has enough water six months of the year and more than 40 km of it is navigable, providing alternating rapids and calmer stretches. There’ll be trickier spots, but the instructors will help you paddle to avoid the whitest water. Although you won’t want to tear your eyes away from the river, do look up and observe your surroundings: it’s well worth it.
Descend the Barranc de l’Infern (Hell’s canyon)
Names are never a coincidence, and this is surely the case of the Barranc de l’Infern (Hell’s Canyon). It’s one of the most spectacular in the Pyrenees, of medium difficulty, with walls more than 100 metres high and a cave halfway along it. First, you’ve got to cross the river as it flows through Collegats. After half an hour’s climb, you reach the top of the canyon, and it’s time to organise and check all your gear. The adventure begins: 4 abseils, slides, a route full of jumps, swimming, climbs and descents. The day draws to a close.
Was your Pyrenean adventure worth the while?
Things to do
Learn about the cheeses of the Pyrenees
While you are in the area, why not visit Tros de Sort, where they specialise in making cheese from raw cow’s milk. It’s a real treat to savour their Tou dels Til·lers, a brie-like creation that is the company’s flagship product. However, at Tros de Sort, they’re not content with simply making fifteen or so highly regarded cheeses: they also love conveying the unique cattle-rearing and cheese-making culture of the Pyrenees to visitors. And they’re waiting for you to give the experience a try.
Celler Batlliu: high mountain wines
Don’t miss the chance to tour the Celler Batlliu winery. The vines grow on the slopes of Sort, in ancient pastures. Under the influence of Aigüestortes i Llac de Sant Maurici National Park, surrounded by oaks and nettle trees, they make their wines, which are DO Costers del Segre, from produce suffused with the influences of organic farming and traditional processes. So, take a tour: you’ll probably meet Josep, a former banker turned winemaker, who’s in charge of most of the wine tastings.
A real Pallars dish: stuffed leg of lamb
To make this Pallars dish, take a leg of lamb, debone it, season it with salt and pepper, and stuff it with bacon, a chopped clove of garlic and parsley. To make sure nothing gets out, tie the leg and put it in the oven to roast in a casserole dish with oil. When it is browned on both sides, add the vegetables and herbs and let it cook a little longer.
After a while pour in the white wine and the mellow wine and reduce it until it no longer smells of alcohol. Keep basting the leg with the cooking juices until it is ready.
When the leg is roasted, remove the herbs, strain the sauce and pour it over the untied leg.
- 1 leg of lamb
- 200 g of bacon
- 2 onions cut into large pieces
- 1 leek sliced thick
- 3 carrots cut into large pieces
- 4 garlic cloves
- Bunch of herbs (oregano, bay leaf, thyme)
- 1 glass of white wine
- 1/2 glass of mellow wine
- Chopped parsley