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Beget and Oix

Beget from village square The hills and mountains between the Besalu-Olot axis, north to the Spanish border are isolated, barely inhabited places, full of river pools, hills, woods and climbs and escarpments.

It's an area that is difficult to explore as there are relatively few roads, and the valleys track streams separated by steep hills.

One of the hidden back roads is the route from the volcanic village of Castellfollit de la Roca firstly to Oix - a small village in amongst meadows with a castle and pretty romanic bridge on the GR1. And then from Oix following the narrow, winding road up and over the Coll del Salomo/Coll de Pera (793m) to Beget.

The road is well maintained, but narrow - barely wide enough for two cars and weaves around rock faces with a camber on each side, and with glorious views as it rises into the hills. The ideal mode of transport would be a motorbike or a bicycle if you like climbs, and we did see several cyclists on the route struggling up the hills (one stretch is 10% for 3km).

After the coll, the road descends through woods past very isolated farm houses with cows by the side of the road. Then, as we came down we found cars parked by the side of the road, with people in swimming costumes heading down for the pools and river, a drop down from the road itself.

Close by we reached Beget. The car parks were already pretty full, but Beget is a jewel of a village, unspoilt picture perfect mountain houses that look like they are unchanged for centuries - similar to Rupit - split by two crystal clear streams.

The village has an impressive Romanic church at the entrance and cobblestone streets that match the grey stones of the old buildings, each with a wooden terrace propping out from under the roof.

It's a village that feels isolated - no shop or supermarket, just a couple of restaurants and bars and a hotel, with walks out along the streams and people stopping and bathing in the rock pools.

Beget stream and bridge We found a small park-like area with a small stream pool and took a short dip in the chilled water, before following a path out of the village past a stream with waterfalls and rapids heading down the hills.

There are signs for walking, following the river beds or possibly heading up into the sharply defined hills surrounding the village, but we were just visiting so didn't walk too much.

On leaving, we had thought the route from Oix would be the narrow road and getting out towards Camprodon would be easier, but we were mistaken.

The narrow, curving roads continues all the way out up to the next village of Rocabruna, with barely enough room to pass the semi-pro cyclists climbing out of the village ahead of us, squeezed between the rock walls and the descent to the side. We were driving gingerly so even with the slope it didn't feel that they were that much slower than us in the car.

As we reached the top we passed a large campervan that seemed to be planning to travel down to Beget. Not a good idea!

Although the village and area is lovely, part of the charm is because the difficulties of access have kept the area unspoilt. Beget and Rocabruna are also close to the Spanish border, and with Camprodon nearby, these are areas that can best be explored locally with the benefit of a few days and time to take things slowly.

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