The View

Many of our guests have commented that the view from Casa Rafela far surpasses their expectations! This is in part due to the difficulty of photographing such a huge panorama, at least with my meagre abilities*. So here is the view broken down into its various component parts, followed at the bottom of the page by our very amateur youtube video of the view! Please note that most other youtube videos about ‘Figols’ refer to a completely different village known for a mining disaster in the mid-70’s! To get the best of this exercise it pays to click on the images to open them in another tab. You can also check the terrain on the Catalan Cartographic Institute’s excellent on-line map. To identify the towns and villages, simply slide the scale bar in the ‘Basic Cartography’ box until the map ‘merges’ with the topographical version. Tremp, our county town, is just to the left of the centre and at this scale Fígols, which is ten kilometres to the west of Tremp, does not appear. Fígols is located on the wiggle in the road just above the double ‘ll’ in Pallars Jussà, however, and,  paradoxically, Tremp is invisible from the village!

Beginning on the left with a corner of our neighbour’s house and the orchards in front of Casa Rafela. In the far distance Catalonia’s highest mountain, the Pica d’Estats (3,143 m), marks the fronteer with France, some 74 kms (46 miles) away as the vulture soars! Moving right and into the middle distance the pink cliffs of the Sierra de Boumort begin to rise above the Conca d’Alt. Nearer still is the village of Talarn. Our local market town, Tremp, is hidden behind the hill appearing in the foreground. Thanks to this juxtaposition there is virtually no light pollution and stargazing is a must from the terrace at night!

The summit of the Serra de Boumort (2,077 m) can be clearly seen just before the pink cliffs end. The whole of the sierra is a game reserve and is host to Catalonia’s largest population of red deer. The reserve extends to 13,097 hectares. The range of broken hills further to the right is the Sierra de Carreu. The Coll de Bóixols (1,321 m) is located where these broken hills end and the terrain becomes even and densely wooded. The coll, or pass, is a spectacular and beauiful drive – but it is very arduous!

The hill in the near distance is called simply Lo Tossal, or ‘The Hill’. As well as sheltering Fígols from the lights of Tremp Lo Tossal (737 m) is also a notable area for geologists studying the unique land formations hereabouts. Lo Tossal and the valley to the right, all of the land directy in front of the village in fact, are a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest for this purpose.

As the distant hills begin to curve round to the south the Serra del Montsec emerges where the ridge begins to rise at the Coll de Comiols. This is one of the largest and most important sierras of the Pre-Pyrenees and it defines the southern border of our ‘territory’. This view is of the eastern arm of the sierra, known as the Montsec de Rúbies. It is completely unspoilt and the long distance GR1 walking route, which crosses the whole Iberian Peninsula from east to west, from Empúries to Finisterre, runs along much of the summit ridge – forming one of Our Favourite Walks.

The Sierra de Montsec is divided into two main sections by the Congost de Terradets ravine, which plummets down to the river Noguera Pallaresa at the end of the escarpment in the far distance. The western wing of the Sierra, the Montsec d’Ares, is the higher of the two at 1,6577 metres. The Castell de Mur can be seen at the left extreme of the mountain in the middle distance. The historic XI Century castle is open to the public and easily accessible from Fígols along a quiet lane. Another of Our Favourite Walks leads to the castle by going along the top of this sierra, which rises behind the village. Finally the view comes back home and ends with the right-hand wall of the terrace. The country immediately surrounding the village is a patchwork of meadows and wild wood which host numerous walks – these start right outside the front door of Casa Rafela!

* in case you haven’t guessed already, the image in the header is a Photoshopped amalgam of these images!

And now – the video view!

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