This afternoon I put on my running shoes and explored a few kilometres east along the Aude river. Here are the photos I took, plus a few notes.
My route started by crossing the Aude on the oldest of Quillan’s three bridges (the one in our banner picture). You can see that there is plenty of water in the Aude. In the summer it will be used by kayakers. I haven’t seen any yet. We have been told that the river is cold all year round.
After crossing the bridge, I followed one of the marked Cathar paths. There are lots of these ancient paths in the area, and they are generally well-marked with blue and yellow markers. For me, a walk or run has extra enjoyment when I know that I am following in the footsteps of people from a very long time ago.
I noticed a section of an old stone wall on the forest floor beside the path. It must have once served a purpose.
Entering Cavirac was a delight. Old stone buildings and narrow streets. There is a beautiful little church but no shops. However, when I passed through, a mobile grocer was setting up to sell fruit and vegetables from out of a truck in the square.
I came to a pedestrian bridge across the Aude but I stayed on the Cavirac side, knowing there must be a road bridge nearby, before the cliffs of the Pierre Lys gorge.
Amazingly, given the topography, there used to be a railway line through the Pierre Lys gorge, linking Quillan to the Mediterranean Sea. It is now abandoned and the tracks have been removed. Quillan is now an end-of-line station for the line north to Carcassonne.
The route back to Quillan on the road side of the river was less enjoyable, as there is no footpath. Not much traffic either, though, so it wasn’t too bad running on the road. I detoured up into Belvianne, which is also a beautiful small town. Again, no shops, but some wonderful old buildings and views over this part of the valley. I envy the people who live in these beautiful quiet villages.
I passed the goats that are the source of the cheese we are still enjoying. I called ‘Bonjour!’ to the farmer watching the animals. He had been generous to us the other day.