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Sort Malmercat and the castle of Arcalís from Sort

Picturesque villages of Malmercat and Arcalís


Route record
Difficulty remarkable
Total distance 24.4 km
Maximum altitude 640m
Minimum altitude 1054m
Total ascent 1220m
Total time 7.30 h
Starting/arrival Hotel Les Brases / Sort
Nearest town Sort


Itinerary of 24.4 km in length - partially circular - which runs through the terms of Sort and Soriguera in the southern end of the Pyrenean region of Pallars Sobirà. We start the route in Sort, the regional capital, we follow the Noguera Pallaresa river to the south and go up to Malmercat. After admiring this small population center we went down to Baro and then we ascended to Arcalís. From here we continue gaining altitude until the remains of the homonymous castle, a stunning watchtower of the Baix Pallars and the territories of the old barony of Estac. The route is demanding due to the unevenness and distance that must be overcome and - although it is signposted - attention must be paid to the orientation, especially at the crossings.

This route uncovers Malmercat and Arcalís, two of the numerous population centers that extend along the mountainous slopes of the Noguera Pallaresa river valley, in the southern sector of Pallars Sobirà, along historic roads -with cobbled stretches and dry stone margins. - that link the villages of this Pyrenean area full of magic and charm.

 

THE BEST OF THE ROUTE

 

Discover the picturesque villages of Malmercat and Arcalís.

Visit the ruins of the castle of Arcalís, in the old barony of Estac.

Let ourselves be captivated by the landscape and natural wealth of Pallars Sobirà.

Walk the ancient horseshoe paths that linked the towns of Pallars.

 

MORE INFORMATION

Duration:

Complete day.

Total effective time (without stops):

7: 30h in total: 2: 05h from Sort to Malmercat, 1: 45h from Malmercat to Arcalís, 0: 30h from Arcalís to the castle of Arcalís and 3: 10h to return from the castle to Sort through the valley floor.

Accumulated drop:

1.220m

Difficulty:

Remarkable.

Season:

All year.

Material:

Nothing special.

Mapping:

· Natural Park of the Alt Pirineu. 1: 50,000. Alpine Editorial.

· Topographic base of Catalonia 1: 25,000. Cartographic and Geological Institute of Catalonia (ICGC).

Observations:

The path is marked with yellow paint marks and vertical sticks at the crossroads. We must pay attention to the orientation because in some sections the path can be a loser. From Baro you can return to Sort by bus (schedules in www.alsa.es).

 

HOW TO GET IN CAR

The starting point of the excursion is at the Hotel Restaurant Les Brases de Sort. We arrived in Sort on the C-13 highway. Hotel Les Brases is located on the same road C-13, just north of the town. In front of the hotel there is parking space without paying.


Travel
DSC00071 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
We start the itinerary in Hotel Les Brases de Sort (0:00h - 693m)

DSC09442 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort(2).JPG
From this point we follow the river Noguera Pallaresa downstream to the bridge of the N-260 road, which connects Sort with the Seu d'Urgell through the port of Cantó.

DSC09443 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort(1).JPG
We cross the river by this route and, immediately, we find on the right a sign of the Natural Path of Sort and Valle de Àssua and the beginning of the path of Les Vernedes.

DSC09451 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
We began to travel this road following the Noguera Pallaresa River on its left bank.

DSC09461 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort(1).JPG
Little by little we move away from the houses of Sort and enter a pleasant riverside forest.

DSC09449 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
The road is comfortable and is equipped with a wooden railing on both sides.

DSC09504 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort(1).JPG
We advance without any difficulty in the shade of the forest and the poplar plantations, and observing the herds of cows that graze in the surrounding meadows.

DSC09466 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort(1).JPG
We continue on the right, on the side of the river.

DSC09498 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort(1).JPG
Natural path of Sort i la Vall d'Assua.
Soon we reached the confluence of the river del Cantó with the Noguera Pallaresa.
At this point we turn left and climb a few meters along the side of the river del Cantó. We left behind a detour that would take us back to Sort, we continue straight on the side of the river.

DSC09526 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
We reach a second detour, it is the junction of Saverneda (0: 50h - 684m).

DSC09536 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
At this point we leave the road that continues towards Llagunes - Soriguera

DSC09537 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
and we turn to the right by the bridge that crosses the river of the Cantó in the direction of Malmercat.

DSC09541 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
The river of the Cantó.

DSC09542 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
We went through trees and dry stone walls and passed by the house of Savarneda.

DSC09545 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
The house of Savarneda.

DSC09556 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
We started to gain altitude, we left aside a path that would take us to Tornafort and we continued towards Malmercat.

DSC09558 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
We continue climbing through the interior of a sparse forest from where we distinguish the rocky silhouette of the Geganta Adormida (S) and, at its feet, the nucleus of Arcalís. .

DSC09616 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
Between meadows and meadows we reach the Malmercat junction (1: 25h - 821m), where we leave the road that descends towards Baro, which is the road we will return to later, and we continue climbing towards Malmercat.

DSC09631 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
We crossed the Malmercat road and continued to walk through hedges along the path.

DSC09642 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
We connect with the asphalted road, which we take to the right until a curve,

DSC09646 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
where we leave it again and rediscover the path.

DSC09649 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort(1).JPG
Again we coincide with the road, just at the height of the Sant Sebastià oratory, where we can see the villages of the other side of the valley: Montardit de Baix, Montardit de Dalt, Llarvén and Enviny.

DSC09588 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort(1).JPG
Montardit de Dalt

DSC09591 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort(1).JPG
Enviny

DSC09604 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort(1).JPG
Views of Savarneda and Sort

DSC09654 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
Views from the oratory of San Sebastian.

DSC09676 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
From here we continue up the road and soon we reach the small village of Malmercat (2: 05h - 980m), which is located right next to the remains of the castle of Malmercat or Bielsa.

DSC09677 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
Inhabitants of Malmercat

DSC09714 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
We deviate a moment from the itinerary and go down the dirt track (left) to go to visit the church of Sant Andreu, which is located on the edge of the cliff, in a privileged place.

DSC09688 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
Church of Sant Andreu

DSC09719 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
We go back up until we find our way again with the yellow marks.


DSC09740 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
The liver grass carpeting the roads.

DSC09745 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
We continue the route towards Arcalís and Baro in a southerly direction. We enter a dark oak grove and, after crossing several torrenteras, we arrive at a crossroads (2: 35h - 974m).

DSC09747 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
At this junction we leave behind the road to Arcalís and continue towards Baro.

DSC09753 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
We descend now through the interior of a forest of red pine with boxwood, enjoying, through the trees, beautiful views of the valley.
We reach a point where we are heading towards the S and we can see Baro and Arcalís in the background.

DSC09759 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
Path through the forest

DSC09777 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
We continue advancing along the path and enjoying the views.

DSC09783 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
Caterpillar

DSC09790 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
The Noguera Pallaresa River

DSC09806 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
The road makes several zigzags and we reach the crossroads Malmercat - Sort - Baro (2: 55h - 722m).
On the right we leave the Sort road (which is where we will make the turn) and now we take the path of Baro and Gerri de la Sal, on the left.

DSC09809 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
We continue to lose altitude through the forest until we reach some meadows.

DSC09812 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
Afterwards we crossed the ravine of Roca Gran and started walking among grass meadows along a beautiful path delimited by dry stone walls.

DSC09816 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
We went through the Menal farmhouse

DSC09821 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
and we continue to advance along the beautiful plain of Sant Joan, gradually getting closer to the Noguera Pallaresa.

DSC09833 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
We leave a track on the left and go along the riverbank along a path that passes just below the dirt track.

DSC09841 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
We overcome a pair of doors for cattle

DSC09844 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
and a little further on we arrive at the track, which we follow until we reach the road to Arcalís.

DSC09845 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
We continue along this road a hundred meters down until we find the junction and the road in Arcalís (3: 30h - 646m).
We leave the road behind and take the road on the left.

DSC09848 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
We climb through an oak grove along a path, which in some sections is paved

DSC09853 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
We crossed the road twice, passed by the remains of the house of La Torreta and finally reached the nucleus of Arcalís (3: 50h -789m).

DSC09860 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
Arcalis

DSC09861 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
We cross Arcalís through its narrow streets full of magic to the church of Sant Lliser and,

DSC09863 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
from this point, we climb to a crossroads.

DSC09864 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
We leave behind the road that goes to the hermitage of Serenyà and we take the path that climbs towards the remains of the castle of Arcalís.

DSC09871 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
We ascend the historic path, paved and well preserved,

DSC09874 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
that is gaining height between meadows and crossing several times a track. We come to a fork (4: 05h - 865m) where we leave a path on the right (where we will go down afterwards) and continue up the road on the left.

DSC09882 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
We enter a thin forest of red pine and finally we reach a hill where the remains of the castle of Arcalís stand (4:20 - 1024m), also known as "Els Casalots".

DSC09883 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
"ELS CASALOTS"

The castle of Arcalís is conserved quite badly and at the moment only several walls are covered by the vegetation. We can identify a rectangular room, delimited by broad walls and divided into two. We can also identify the base of an arch in the wall that is located at the western end of the room. This fortification originally belonged to the Counts of Pallars. In the eleventh century they sold it to Viscount Guillem d'Urgell who, in turn, later ceded it to the Bishop of Urgell.

Source: On foot. 14 walks and excursions by Pallars Sobirà. Volume I. Arola Editors.

DSC09891 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
Estac

DSC09902 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
After enjoying the great views offered by this privileged viewpoint over the territories of the old barony of Estac -with the towns of Estac, Mencui, Escós, Baro and Arcalís- we leave behind the castle and continue our route to a path that continues climbing through the pine forest in SE direction.

DSC09909 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
We reach a point - at a height of 1,043m - where the road turns suddenly to the right. We make some last meters in ascent and we begin to descend through an area with terraces and meadows of pasture recovered.

DSC09919 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
We passed by the source of the road to the castle of Arcalís -which flows fresh and abundant-

DSC09930 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
- and we continue to lose height between pastures and some cherry trees until we reach the fork (4: 45h), where we connect with the same path that we have done before climbing.

DSC09934 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
We undo the route following the same route to Arcalís (4: 55h) and continue back to Baro.

DSC09936 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
Nice butterfly that we meet along the way.

DSC09950 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
Back to the Noguera Pallaresa river.

DSC09951 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
We once again overcome the doors for cattle.

DSC09956 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
Before reaching Baro, at the crossroads of the road to Arcalís (5: 10h), we take the path that leads us to the farmhouse of Menal, the ravine of Roca Gran and the crossroads Malmercat - Sort - Baro (5:45 p.m. ).

DSC09977 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
At this junction we left the road to Malmercat -where we had passed before- and now we take the road to Savarneda and Sort.

DSC09980 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
We gain height through a pine forest and overcome two ravines,

DSC09982 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
one of them equipped with wooden railings and some stairs.

DSC09986 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
We flanked the side of the mountain and crossed the ravine Cós.


DSC09992 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
We continue up a track and pass under a rail. We move between hedges and grass meadows and connect with the track of the farmhouse of Soliguer. We turn left and continue along this track bordering several meadows.

DSC09996 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
Farmhouse of Soliguer.

DSC09997 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
We arrive at a paved road that we follow to the left, below.

DSC09999 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
We go under a farm and then we take a path that goes to the right and that goes up through an oak grove.

DSC00001 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
We ascend through the interior of a sparse forest where we must be attentive to the orientation, the path is confused with the little paths trodden by the cattle.

DSC00003 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
We overcome a few loops that the road makes

DSC00004 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
and finally we reached the junction of Malmercat (6: 35h).
At this point we recover, again, the path we have already done in the first leg.

DSC00006 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
We go down to the house of Savarneda, we pass by his side and continue to the river of Cantó.

DSC00016 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
We find this beautiful field with flowers.

DSC00020 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
We cross the wooden bridge and arrive at the junction of Savarneda (6: 50h). We turn left and arrive at a new junction.

DSC00024 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
Then, to make the last stretch until Sort a little different, we take now the road on the right, which will take us to Sort but on the side of the mountain.

DSC00044 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
Circuit of Les Vernedes.

DSC00052 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
We follow the indications of this sector of the circuit of Les Vernedes approaching, little by little, the houses of Sort.

DSC00057 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
Finally we reach the bridge of the N-260 road, we cross it

DSC00070 senderismo Sort Malmercat i el castell de Arcalis des de Sort.JPG
and we undo the road to the Hotel Les Brases de Sort (7:30h - 693m), starting and ending point of this beautiful itinerary.



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