El Montpalau – La font Fresca – El torrent d’Anavall – El camí dels morts
Interesting tour of the north side of el Turó de Montpalau and that of Can Carreras.
Interesting tour of the north side of El Turó de Montpalau and Can Carreras, which combines the tracks with the narrow paths, and which has the highest point in the summit of Montpalau. This path goes through one of the oldest neighbourhoods of Pineda, L’Arboceda. In the 15th century, fixed population centres where already documented, which were maintained until the mid-20th century, when forestry farms, which were the only sources of wealth in the area were no longer profitable.
We will go by car, departing from the petrol station in front of the church, in the direction of Calella. In 600 m we turn right and follow the road that goes up stream, 3 km from the starting point we find the Sant Pere turn off, where we will park the car in front of an old mill.
Elevation gain uphill: 230 m
Kilometres: 8 km
Duration: 2 hr 26 min.
Phase 1, first 30 minutes
We will start the walk from the Can Marqués mill, which has been recently restored. A few steps further on we turn to the left to cross the stream. At this point, in the middle of the stream there is an old lime kiln. It is always covered with plenty of vegetation, you need to pay close attention to see it, or you will miss it. It’s worth stopping to visit. After the stream we will continue along the track that climbs the winding and steep slopes. This path is usually very wet.
At the corner there is path indicator, we will carry on up.
We continue climbing and sweating buckets, at another corner we find on the left, the path that connects with itinerary number 10, part of which we will coincide with. We keep going up the track.
We have reached a plain, it is Coll dels Altars (Altar Hill). The name of this place is curious. It makes me think that it might have been formerly a place to offer sacrifices to the deity. A flat area, between mountains, with a view of the sea, it seems to be a suitable place. This is nothing more than an adventurous speculation, but if we consider that all the place names have a reason for being and a story behind them, who knows… On the left we find a signpost and a track that goes up the summit, which will continue until it opens up at a small square, here we will look for the narrow path that goes up towards the castle.
Phase 2, 30-60 minutes
We are at the top, treading the ruins of the castle of Montpalau, and enjoying the magnificent views, especially the territory of Pineda. From this watchtower, the representatives of the viscounts of Cabrera, governed the whole region. This peak brings together for the townspeople of Pineda the double condition of historical monument and privileged viewpoint. We want to encourage those who have not yet been up here, to do so. Despite the sweat that awaits them, they will not regret it. We go back down the same way again.
We find ourselves again at Coll dels Altars. We take the track towards Calella. We pass a water tank, which firefighters have ready in case of forest fires, and we leave to the left of us the path that goes down to Can Martorell and another path indicator.
We find a fork that we will take to the right. To the left we would get to the residential area of Can Carreras. This track that we pass runs through the whole of the north side of Can Carreras.
We go past a turning on the right that would take us to the farmhouse of Can Valls, currently uninhabited.
Sunk into a pronounced bend, on the right side of the path, we find La Font Fresca. Years ago, it was one of the most popular water fountains in Pineda. The young and old used it as a place of recreation, very appropriate for snacks and lunches. At school we had often gone there on a trip. Now it is abandoned, full of bushes, and with a sign that says non-potable water.
We reach a wide track that continues in the same direction, leaving aside the secondary forks that we find. Shortly after a bend we will reach a small hill from where you can see the parish of Sant Pere de Riu, and the farmhouses of Can Bibi, Cal Bec, Can Cassussa and in the background on the right the old manor house of Can Jordà, documented from the 13th century.
Phase 3, from 60 to 90 minutes
At the end of a steep slope we find a fork to the left that goes to the residential area, we will leave it to one side and continue on, now along a very wide track towards the north. We are going through the north side of Can Gibert, now a house in ruins, which is hidden in the middle of the forest on the left side of the road. This farmhouse was the house where the famous bandit Pau Gibert was born, who at the end of the 18th century, with his crimes and misdeeds, had frightened a wide territory. The counties of El Maresme, La Selva and L’Empordà suffered his bad ways, and for some years he drove the mossos d’esquadra (Catalonian police) mad, who with their raids could not catch him. He was finally betrayed by one of his own, tried and jailed. He was sentenced to death by hanging and his body quartered on the public square., And to serve as a lesson to the locals and the foreigners, the Royal Hearing ordered the relocation of the head of the delinquent to the town of Pineda, and it was hung on top of a pole in the middle of the square.
After a steep climb we find a turnoff to the right. It is an old forest road, now out of use, but still passable. Going through the middle of the strawberry trees, heather, and steppes, which are swallowing up the path, we will follow it to the end.
The track ends. We have opposite us El Montpalau and on the right, there are views of Pineda and the sea. We will take a path that descends to the right towards the gulley of the canal.
The path ends suddenly and going downhill we find ourselves at the edge of the Anavall stream. From here we will follow the narrow path that goes down the left bank of the canal. It is a centennial path, which has been maintained over the years. Now it is not very transited, it is surrounded by rich vegetation and it is very pleasant when walking.
Phase 4, 90 minutes till the end
The path continues descending by the edge of the torrent, and after passing a grove cork trees that is to the left of us, we discover a magnificent view of the parish of Sant Pere de Riu.
We will keep going up until we join a paved track, where we will descend in the beautifully cultivated fields of Can Costa and Mas Florit towards the stream, where we will arrive just near the textile factory Indesmalla, which we will go past in front of the façade and then turn left to take the path of the Old Rectory.
We find a Spanish Broom (Spartium) in the middle of the road. It is a unique specimen, with a trunk that must be about 12 cm thick, something unusual in a bush of this species.
The path crosses the torrent, and disappears, probably swallowed by the action of the water. We continue walking through the middle of the canal until the torrent turns to the left and winds back to the right. We are in front of Can Basart.
At this point, we have to look for the path on the right bank of the torrent where it will continue until it ends at the Pineda stream.
We arrive at the stream, which we will cross and arrive at Can Vert, a farmhouse built in 1583. Here we have two options: the easiest, follow the road and in 10 min we will be back where we have left the car. The other option, which we recommend to the most daring hikers, is to go through the Camí dels morts (path of the dead) Called this way because in the past, when there was no road, it was the only way to reach the parish of Sant Pere de Riu, and burials had to pass through this path. The path starts behind Can Vert, next to a telephone pole. You start climbing immediately and do not stop climbing until you reach Sant Pere. Since nobody currently passes, it is quite abandoned, and in some places, it has some difficulty, because it hangs on the hillside, but it has the charm of the wild tracks and if the hiker has a certain agility, they will leave without problems.
The road ends, just when we find the churchyard below the parish, presided over by a cross. Passing the door, we enter a concrete road, which we continue on until we reach the stream, in front of where we parked the car.
End of the route