Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Les Fortis, near Saurs

The church of Montaigut

Today's walk was west of Gaillac at Les Fortis, near to Saurs. The Chateau de Saurs is a significant producer of Gaillac wines. We quite liked the rosé when we tried it in Gaillac town.

We parked on the road opposite a wonderful old house with grandiose corner towers. It appeared abandoned, so I followed a well-trodden path into the grounds to take a photo. Could be somebody's wonderful project.

We climbed towards the ridge on which we could see the church of Montaigut, diverted through some vineyards and emerged at the end of a pleasant green valley.

We turned left into another valley and began a sustained climb. Looking back, the terrain and crops created an interesting landscape of colour and angles.

As we got nearer the top, further vineyards entered the mix.

The very highest point, 275m, was marked by some impressive cedars. Overhead we saw kites and sparrowhawks.

A little further on we turned left on a downhill path and were delighted to almost immediately spot this orchid: the appropriately named Early Purple Orchid. Further on, a sloping green bank had a whole load of them.

Just after the orchid we made a butterfly take flight and then resettle itself in the long grass. We had already seen a few Speckled Woods, but this seemed to be s different shade of orange. Once I managed to zoom in on it I realised it was a Wall.

We continued on  a farm road and admired a modernised farm off to the right.

And soon after this we reached the church of Montaigut which we had seen from afar at the start of the walk. It dates from the 12th century and was once the property of the Templars. In that period there was also a castle here.

As we began our walk down from the church three or four Speckled Woods spiralled into action. This one consented to a photograph.

Conditions: cooler than yesterday, cloudy.

Distance: 5 miles.

Rating: four stars. A landscape so unlike any we see at home.

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