Another place that remains sharp in my mind are the Cathar castles of Lastours, visited nearly nine years ago. Most impressive, as there is a group of four castles strung about the hillside on a rocky spine high above the village of Lastours, not too far north of Carcassonne.
I had done some research beforehand, as I knew I couldn’t do too much tramping about, so I needed to ensure the distance was manageable. In those days I could still do a mile or two provided I rested reasonably frequently, but I had too be careful as my balance was beginning to become compromised.
We set off to find the Montfermier Belvedere, which would give a good view of the castles, and you can really appreciate the loction:
Then it would be necessary to park up in Lastours village, walk up to the visitor centre and then on up rocky paths to Quertinheux.
Walking up through the village
We were told to look for an old textile factory,
then we would come to the visitor centre and the track up to the castles:
I left my companions behind at this point, as they weren’t up for the slog! I was specifically looking for a view from Quertinheux, because I knew there was a good view of two of the other castles from there.
I would have liked to see all the castle ruins, but knew I could only manage one, and Quertinheux was the closest.
Getting a bit closer here, the track to Quertinheux is to the right, ahead are Surdespine and Cabaret. For me, it was a real slog, and I had to rest for a while. The path was narrow, and the drops fairly vertiginous in places:
I took that path to Quertinheux, no railings and a bit tricky, I crawled the last part, as I was too worried about falling..and there in front of me was the view I came for, seen through an archway in the castle wall.
I spent a fair amount of time at that castle keep to collect my wits and my strength
This is that well-known, often reproduced view:
On my way back, the sky was less grey, and I got this image:
All in all, a great day…time and energy well spent! And I’m so pleased I did it while I still could.