If you make up your mind to follow this route you will discover exceptional landscapes bearing the signs of flowing water.Getting there:
Set out from the Ordina car park taking the made-up road that runs beside the river. This takes you on a pleasant walk under the shade of leafy trees where the people of Ripoll go for a stroll, sitting down on the benches dotted along the way to have a chat. Follow the signposts you will see along the way to the Catllar.
You will soon see the sign for Font de la Roca (‘Rock Spring’). You can get to it by going down a little flight of stone steps that goes down to the river bed on the right of the path. The spring bursts out of the stone wall built beside the water. Carry on along the path and you will come to a flat clearing with three stone tables: that is the site of another spring, the Font del Tòtil, which has a picnic area equipped with a barbecue and enjoying plenty of shade. This spring, like the first one, is right by the river. It must be noted in both cases that the cleanliness of the water is not guaranteed, so it is better not to drink it.
Go across the flat area towards a little bridge, but do not cross over it: instead, take the path on the left, signposted as leading to the Catllar hermitage.
Carrying on along the route:
That same path will take you under a bridge. Carry on walking and you will find that the path starts going up the side of the mountain, gently at first. This will lead you through meadows and woods, with yellow posts marking the gas pipeline, to the area called Els Tres Plans. You will pass a house on the left, and a little further on you will come to the spring called Font dels Tres Plans. You can get to it by following a little track to the left of the path. After having a rest there, carry on up through the trees and among the channels left by running water in spring. From here the path goes up to the pass called Coll del Catllar. This is the hardest part of the route. The gradient starts becoming more noticeable, and in one part there is a section where you have to climb up stony land for some 100 metres. Carry on up without leaving the path. After that first climb, the going gets easier, though it is still uphill all the way. You will eventually get to the top of Coll del Catllar, where the last signpost tells you the way to the ruins of the hermitage.
The Catllar hermitage, now in ruins, is beside a forest of antennae, and is watched over by a chapel bearing a religious image.
Go back down the last section of the path as far as the crossroads marking the start of the climb, and there, instead of carrying on down the way you came, take the track that runs beside some water troughs on the left of the main path. Going down that way you will find the Rosa dels Vents look-out point, the remains of the Pla de la Bandera Fortress and those of the Calvari Chapel, before coming to another spring, the Font d'en Jordana. From there you can get back to the starting point by talking the made-up track that starts just a few metres away.
Font de la Roca.
The Catllar hermitage
, which is now in ruins, was consecrated in 1040 by abbot Oliba. It was built on the ruins of what had once been a castle owned by his parents. The Virgin of Catllar was invoked there to cure blindness, lameness, fractures, possession by the devil and hernias, and even for childbirth. Legend has it that an underground tunnel connecting the hermitage to the monastery provided a way of escape for the monks if they found themselves besieged in some episode of war.
Observations and recommendations:
During the driest months of the year, remember to take sun protection and water, since you won’t find water in most of the springs then. Wear mountain boots or well-fitting footwear to avoid slipping over, particularly in the stoniest parts. If you’ve brought sandwiches, take advantage of the picnic area on the way down at Font del Tòtil to have a bite to eat.