The walk starts near to the village of Porta which was at one time heavily reliant on smuggling. This is no surprise given it's closeness to Andorra and the ease of access provided by the Campcardos Valley. It was mainly tobacco that was smuggled out of Andorra but also other contraband. Smugglers being pursued found it easier to escape being caught because of the border junction. Depending on which country the chasing police were from, the smugglers had a choice of two countries in close proximity to escape into.
|The head of the Campcardos Valley|
|Walking along the border between Andorra (left) and France (right)|
The HRP (Haute Route Pyrenean), the high level long distance footpath that crosses the whole Pyrenees from (Atlantic) Ocean to (Mediterranean) Sea, passes over the col.
The GR107 (GR = Grande Randonnée) is another long distance footpath that also passes over the col. This is the Cathar Way. The Cathars were members of a Christian breakaway religion popular in the 12th and 13th centuries. The Catholic Church treated the Cathars as heritics, persecuting them and burning many at the stake. The persecuted Cathars were able to lead a more peaceful existence in Spain where many of them escaped, passing from France to Spain along the Campcardos Valley and others like them in the eastern Pyrenees.
The Cathar Way is a 220-kilometre-long route from the French medieval town of Foix over the Pyrenees to Berga in Spain and is broken down into 12 days.
|Unusual cloud formation over Pic Campcardos|