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Llofriu, St Llop and Torrent

Church at Llofriu Llofriu is a small village that sits just off the main road between La Bisbal and Palafrugell. The main road passes through a small collection of restaurants - this is La Barceloneta of Llofriu, while the main older village heart of Llofriu is set a little way off the road. On the hill above the Llofriu-Torrent roundabout is the small chapel of St Llop. It's visible from the older village, but I don't think you can see it from the main road. The aim was to try to see the chapel.

Now technically (and on the map below), we actually started in our neighbourhood of Mont-ras and then walked to Llofriu, but for practical purposes most of the places we wanted to see were in the Llofriu-Torrent area, so you'd be better off with the smaller walk on the map. The long route from Torrent back to Mont-ras is fine as a bike route, but as a walk you find yourself walking a little below the height of the fields to the sides, which means there's not so much to see.

Chapel of Sant Llop outside Torrent/Llofriu We start just outside Llofriu old village between the main road and the village itself. Next to the large individual house is a track that runs to Llofriu Barceloneta allowing us to reach the nest of restaurants without needing to go on the main road. As we approach the back of the buildings and the first houses, the path splits to the left by a field towards the gate of a house. We follow this path along the field, then at the gate a bigger path takes us into the hills. A little way along it forks again and we take the right hand fork eventually reaching a line of electricity pylons with a road track and path under the pylons up the hill. It's a steady climb and eventually at the top we reach a fiveways point.

Llentiscle tree of Torrent Now one problem we have with both Llofriu and Torrent is that the maps don't mark the paths very well. From Llofriu many paths aren't on the map, and around Torrent there are lots of paths and tracks, but it turns out when you try to walk them, many are closed or private. So at the top it wasn't entirely clear either where we were, or which path we should take. After a few minutes orientation, we take the road-like track to the left. This climbs up and when we reach the crest of the hill we can see a radio mast ahead of us. The track runs along the top of a ridge and has two houses taking the views - on one side to the sea and out to the Isles Medes and on the other side across to the mountains, full with snow.

We walk past the radio mast continuing straight-on (on the footpath, not on the track) and it winds off the hill. There are glimpses of views through the trees in all directions but no single clear spot  to stop and admire the view.  The footpath runs down until it meets another track. Again we're not entirely sure where we are but we know the chapel is near. After exploring we realise the chapel is to the right next to a farmhouse - it wasn't clear if public could go along the road to the farmhouse.

The chapel is quite plain and there is a board outside which explains that St Llop became venerated as a saint against the plague (black death). Like England the plague wiped out a large proportion of the population in the 1300s devestating medieval Catalonia at the time of its ascendency on the Mediterranean. (Also as in England, Catalonia suffered against the in the 1600s the time of the Great Fire of London).

View across Torrent and Pals to the Costa Brava coast We follow the track down past the chapel, past an odd curved ball-type house and down to the main Torrent-Llofriu roundabout. Across the road are the vineyards of Mas Oller - one of the vineyards of DO Emporda - with large vats outside. We cross the road and head up the old, now disused, roadway that would have been used before the new main road was instigated. On this road is a tree with a sign (which is also marked on the maps) - but we're not entirely sure why it's celebrated. Reading later it is the Llentiscle of Torrent. Llentiscle is a tree that produces a mastic gum which was chewed in ancient Greece and Rome.

From the old road are excellent views across Torrent towards Pals and beyond, but there's no easy link to the proper footpath below so we scramble down a slope under the electricity wire to get to the path. We now head along the path - we thought there was a connection directly to Torrent, but again the map is deceiving. Instead we have to carry on to the north, then find the roadway back. The roadway itself is a little odd as it's marked by pillar-lights of about four feet high all the way down to the Torrent Hotel at the bottom (there's actually an exclusive estate at the other end of the road). The hotel itself is also pretty exclusive - another inland wonder for those in the know.

Archway at Placa Major in Torrent Torrent is another small medieval village, though with some modern stone houses in the centre. It feels well manicured as villages go, though it's main point of interest is the Museum of Confiture (yes, a museum of jam) just outside the main square. We pop our head round the door, but don't go in. It looks as much a shop as a small museum.

To make the loop we head out of the village to the main Pals road and have to walk along the road for about 100m before crossing to find a track through the fields opposite the Paint-ball centre. This cuts across to a masia and then meets with a road-track that would head towards Llofriu and complete the loop.

The route we take to get to Mont-ras is a bit longer. We cross the road and follow the path, firstly past a renovated masia and across a field, and then into the woods. The aim is to meet the Pals to Mont-ras path which we eventually get to after a couple of mistaken diversions. This is a good cross-country route, especially for bikes as there is no traffic and it avoid the main roads which can get busy, but for us it was a bit of a long-way round. We join the main Pals-Palafrugell route near the orange masia. At the next farm in the woods, the path forks - the right hand path runs along a dry stream bed before forking to the left off the streambed down to La Fanga. This route isn't particularly noteworth - the path sits below the level of the fields so there's not so much to see. (If we'd take the fork to the left by the farmhouse, we'd have come through the woods to the industrial estate by Esclanya which is much nicer).

At the bottom it emerges back to a main road by the farmhouse of La Fanga. This is also the name of the new shopping mall and cinema complex which is just in the process of being built just outside Palafrugell which is just across the road. Our path crosses the road and continues along the lane that runs past Mas Pla - the former house of Joseph Pla who is the most famous Catalan writer from here. The lane comes out by the dogs home Rodamon which was where we found our dog. Rodamon is a refuge for abandoned dogs and they are always looking for homes or, if you're on holiday, for people to walk the dogs. This last stretch is quite long, so if you just want to see Llofriu and Torrent, do just take the shorter route marked on the map.

Neighbouring walks: Evening walk Pals to Sant Feliu de Boada - Mont-ras Fountain walk - Mont-ras 'boar' walkPalafrugell, Tamariu, Begur residential and Esclanya - Regencos to Pals via Quermany Gros and Petit - Santa Susanna de Peralta and Sant Climent de Peralta - Mont-ras to Fitor and on to Fonteta and Vulpellac

Local blog in Catalan (suggested from a comment):

Walk Llofriu, St Llop and Torrent (from Mont-ras)

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