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Banyoles: Sesarques i Golany

Description of the itinerary

Others informations
Points of Interest
The Pla de l'Estany (Plain of the Lake) is a pretty touristic area, but not frequented by mountaineers. Notwithstanding there are no big mountains, one can find a number of interesting places, especially at the Serra de Portelles, by the Gironès, with the remarkable Pedra Plana de Golany (870 m). A magnificent view is observed from there: the valleys of Sant Miquel de Campmajaor and of Mieres, and further out, the Mont, Bassegoda and the Pyrenees. It's also interesting to arrive to Puig Sesarques (873 m), which is considered the highest peak of Pla de l'Estany.
The itinerary we propose will also allow us to see the noble construction of the castle of Falgons, and walk up on the Torrent de l'Arc, through small basins in the characteristic local stone, amongst an exuberant vegetation. Will enjoy the nice Pla de Sant Nicolau with its humble shrine and -with a short detour- we may see the constructions of the village of Pujarnol, especially the church of Sant Cebrià and La Torre, both built in XII century. From here will admire the view of the Lake of Banyoles, from the best viewpoint that can be found in the area.
Other atractions may still be admired, like the legends of Les Estunes or of La Pedra de la Mà de Déu. We may also see the scenaries of the recently famous Soldados de Salamina.
How to get there
Once at Banyoles, we take the road GI-524 which goes to Mieres and Olot. After 8 km., at Sant Miquel de Campmajor, we take left (GIV-5246) to Falgons. We may leave the car after 5 km, right by the sign saying FALGONS and by a track indicated MIERES. But we could still drive for some 500 m more on asphalt and some 100 m on dirt track. The first deviation at left takes us to a small plain, where we may leave the car (one or two cars at maximum).
Technical data
Time: 5:30 hours.
Slope: +770 m; -975 m.
Distance: 15,3 km.
Difficulty: SD.
Mobile coverage: most of the journey.
It can be done throughout the year eventhough it may get pretty warm in the summer. Best seasons are autumn and winter.
The fountains are not always running so its advisable to carry enough water.
Description of the route
Falgons - Collet de Portelles - (Montner) - Golany - Puig Sesarques - Sant Nicolau - Collet de Pujarnol - Sant Patllari - Mirador de l'Estany - Les Estunes
Falgons. 0:00 h; 380 m. We start at the village of Falgons, right by the roadsign indicating the village. We had left the castle some 100 meters before. We continue by the road, which gets narrower and is rather a pavimented track. The asphalt ends some 500 meters after. We continue some 100 m more till a crossroad. The trail at right goes to the Coll de Bastarra through Collferrer. We take the one at left in slight descent. After 300 meter we find Can Baldirot, which we leave at our left, and continue going down. Pretty soon we cross the rill of Can Cargol and 3 min later we find a new crossroad, in front of a rudimentary fence. We take the trail at right,, turn around a field and go to cross the Riera de Falgons, which starts at the Collet de Trentinyà.

Riera de Falgons. 0:10 h; 380 m. Two min after crossing the riera we leave a trail at left and continue flat at right (ESE). After 7 min we get to a small field by the rill of Font del Corral, where we find the fountain. We walk by the right side of the field (S) in smooth ascent, and seeing the torrent at our left. The path finds a trail which turns right and gets pretty dirty. We don't take it and continue by the path at left, following the torrent. This path was pretty clear the day we followed it because somebody had cleaned it. One minute later we see the confluence of two small rills at our left (Torremirona i Font de l'Arç). We follow initially the rill at right but pretty soon we cross it and take the left one (E) till we arrive to its bed (475 m) which we follow by the leftbank. We ascend a few meters and cross again the rill , going righrt (W). Then the path continues flat to find again the right rill, the rill of Torremirona which also crosses (some 8 minutes after the confluence of the two paths; 510 m). Then the path goes up, main direction W, to arrive to a pass in 10 minutes.

Collet de les Mentides.0:46 h. 600 m. It's a pass in the middle of the mountain edge but in fact does not change to any important valley so may be that's the reason for its name. Some 5 meters before getting there we take a path at left. It's difficult to distinguish the path that we followed to arrive here. If we get up to the pass we find a small grassy plain. From there we find another path at right leading to another small plain which looks like a coal production place. At the other side, amidst a few rocks there is a path which goes down to Collferrer. In the same plain there is a blurred path at W which leads in 30 meters to a track going to the Coll de Bastarra.
As said before we take the path going S and find a small deviation at right some 30 meter afterwards. We don't take it but continue by the path that goes left and soon enters into the shady area under the Roques del Montner, which are at our right. It's pretty slow walk because we often find fallen trees and bushes. The path goes up smoothly, leaving behind the Mola del Montner and in 25 mins there is a deviation at right which in 2 mins takes us to the Collet de Portelles.
(The path we were following goes to the Pla de Sant Nicolau. It's the old merchant's way from Amer to Banyoles)

Collet de Portelles. 1:20 h; 686 m. This pass is an important crossroad. The aforementioned merchant's route was one of the crossing ways. We may also ascend to the Golany or the Montner. Some 20 meters at the side of the pass there is a track which at right goes to Coll de Bastarra, Finestres and Olot and at left also to Golany and Rocacorba. Both at the pass and at the side of the track we find signposts indicating these alternatives.

Option of the Montner. Some books-erroneously- still consider it to be the highest peak of Pla de l'Estany. If we want to go to it (830 m) we must follow the path at right (W) from the arrival position. The path goes always up by the mountain edge. After 10 mins we arrive to a track which we leave at left and continue by the edge, close to the cliff, and arrive to the peak in 12 mins. The peak is flat with no view, and covered with holm oaks. We saw the good panorama on our ascent. The walk up and down requires 45 mins.

If we don't want to go to the Montner, from the pass must take the path at left (E) from the arrival position which goes up by the edge. It's somewhat bushy but can be easily followed. After 5 mins we leave a small path at left and 5 mins later we see a track at our right (750 m) which comes from the pass and a signpost indicating "Olot-Rocacorba". We follow towards the direction of the signpost. Pretty soon the track becomes a path and takes us to the Roca Plana de Golany.

Roca Plana de Golany. 1:50 h; 870 m. It's a splendid viewpoint, placed some ten meters before the peak. View over the Valley of Sant Miquel de Campmajor and to the Pyrennees. Good place to rest. From SW to E we see El Far, Montner, Puig Capell, Puigsacalm, Puigsallança, shrine and castle of Finestres, Sant Julià del Mont, Mieres, the valleys of Torns and Sant Miquel de Campmajor. At the rear, Bestrecà, Comanegra, Bassegoda and Mont. We may also see at NE the shrine of Sant Patllari and at E the shrine of Sant Nicolau and, finally, the Gulf of Roses. Will pass by the two shrines pretty soon.
To continue, we go up a little bit more to the peak of Golany, which has not much view. There is a small viewpoint at the end end. From this point the path goes down towards right. After 4 min we see a dewooding trail which comes from our left and another one 3 mins later (860 m). Signpost "Mirador" , from where we come. We continue at left by this track and arrive to another one in 2 mins, broader but in bad condition. It goes from Coll Saposa to the Pedra dels Tres Senyors and Sant Nicolau. There are indications painted on the ground and in a fallen signpost of the Olot-Girona route.

Track to Sant Nicolau. 2:00; 850 m. We leave the track that goes down to Coll Saposa at our right and we go left towards Sant Nicolau. We inmediately leave a path at left. The track goes flat but afterwards goes down steeply, leaves a dewooding track at left and continues descending till a pass.

Coll de la Pedra dels Tres Senyors. 2:10; 805 m. This place is named upon a triangular rock which indicates the boundaries of Granollers de Rocacorba, Biert and Falgons. In some books that place is also known as "Coll de Faig". This tree in fact does not exist, and there is a little confussion. The place is a crossroad. At right (S), a track goes down along the torrent . When it arrives to to Clot del Rigau we must leave it at right and take a nice path which joins with the one coming from Coll Saposa and goes to Can Vives de Rocacorba; if we would continue flat, in the Coll de Faig (E) , there is a bushy track which laster on joins a path which goes to Pla de Faig where one might have access to Puig Sesarques; al left, it continues the track going to Sant Nicolau.

If we want to go directly to Sant Nicolau not ascending to Puigsesarques, we have to continue by the main track and some 5 minutes later we will find another track at left, in pretty bad shape. Is the best option to get to destination and the one we recommend (we would also get there by continuing the track we were following but it's not so interesting. Once you get to the good track Banyoles-Rocacorba you must take left). We take, then, the track going left and in 4 minutes, when the track gets steeper down we must take care not to loose a small path at our right. There is a signpost but covered by vegetation. We take this path which goes to the deep of a small torrent, we croos it and in 3 minutes we arrive to the Font de Sant Nicolau.

To go to Puigsearques we must take the track, no longer used, eastwards, like if we were going to a peak we see in front of us, slightly at right. It's the Puig de Comaestremer, which is erroneously mentioned as Puigsesarques in the ICC maps. After 60 meters we leave the track which goes at right and becomes dirty, by taking a path at left. Some 20 meters later we leave a path at right and take the one at left, which is difficult to see. This path follows all the shadowy, going up smoothly, through beechtree wood. Near the end we may see the rocks of the peak pretty close. The best point to ascend is from here eventhough there is no interest at all because there is no view.

Pla de Faig. 2:20; 842 m. There is a majestic oaktree in the center of the plain. At right (W) there is a track which goes around the Puig de Comaestremer and finally arrives to its peak. It's pretty dirty. At the other side of the plain (S) it continues the dewooding track that goes to the Pla de Sant Martí, under Puigsou. Some 15 meters before the abovementioned oaktree, starts a dirty path at left (N) which goes up to Puig Sesarques (Sometimes is so dirty that can't be walked through). We take this path, which is half-track, in slow descent but we leave it after 10 meter, to go at right, to the shady side, following marks in the trees. In 6 minutes we are at the peak

Puig Sesarques. 2:26; 873 m. There is a good view over the Pla de l'Estany from the peak, especially in wintertime. To descend we follow the mountain edge direction NE till the track of Sant Nicolau (there are also marks in the trees).and just before arriving to the track we follow a path at left, almost parallel to the track (stone pile marks) which takes us to the Pla de Sant Nicolau, right at the fountain, after crossing a secondary track which goes to the Coll dels Tres Senyors.
Was the abovementioned path not walkable we could ascend to the peak from the Pla de Sant Nicolau. You should then take the track in direction to Rocacorba and in some 500 meter, when the track takes a sharp bend to the right and just behind a big sign indicating "Canet d'Adri", you take the mountain edge direction SW till the peak.

Pla de Sant Nicolau. 2:42; 720 m. It's a pretty ample grassy plain, with a romanesque shrine and a house. At W, by the track there is a fountain and towards SE a gigantic chestnuttree (9,65 meter diameter). It's a good place to rest for a while. The old merchant's trail from Banyoles to Amer arrives here, after passing through the Baga de Golany (which we left at the Collet de Portelles). It's an option if one needs to go back to Falgons in order to do a circular journey. The route will be described as an alternative at the end.
To continue our itinerary we follow the track downwards, direction Banyoles. We may follow it 3,1 Km. till the Collet de Pujarnol. But if we want to use the old way we may do it partially. We begin also following the same track. We arrive pretty soon to the Casa del Roure Gros ( 680 m.) and just in front of the main door at the other side of the track there is a signpost of the "Itineraris de Salamina". Here it starts the old path which joins again the track at a small pass called "Bassiots".
We continue on the track for 30 meter and at left find again the path which will take us to the Collet de Cal Negre or de la Creu.(560 m). This path follows initially the mountain edge to get later on into the woods, without apparent path till we get to a track which have to follow at right, 20 meter before a tower for electricity. ; 20 meter after the tower we leave the track and take a path at left. Five minutes later,and when the path takes a sudden right bend, we leave it inorder to take another one at left (if we loose this second path will arrive to the track Banyoles-Rocacorba after 40 meter. It would mean we have lost our route). We follow that path which runs close to the track and in 3 minutes arrive to a track which we take at right (if we follow the itinerary in the reverse direction must be very careful here) and in 30 meter we get back to the track, by a small shrine, in the Collet de Cal Negre, where several routes join. A track at left goes to Can Coll and Biert. From here we have to follow our track downwards.

Collet de Pujarnol. 3:22; 430 m. It's a crossroad. There is a good track at left going to Falgons which may also be an option to do a round route, passing by the nice shrine of Sant Nazari. Continuing by our track, we arrive to Pujarnol after some 800 meter. There is a romanesque church and a fortified house, known as "La Torre", converted in a restaurant. Since we go towards Sant Patllari, we don't arrive to Pujarnol but after the road fork to Falgons we take a second one at left. We leave this track after 30 meter and take a path at right, which starts going up. During this section of the itinerary we will follow in reverse direction the round route which is indicated with yellow arrows on white background, which was prepared by the Cityhall of Porqueres. We must pay attention to the signals because the path crosses several dewooding tracks and fields and if we were to loose it would be almost impossible to continue. The path follows the mountain edge, finds a looking-point over the Matamors Valley, crosses the Coll Tallat and goes up to Sant Patllari.

Sant Patllari. 4:07; 647 m. There is a S. XIV shrine in the peak of Sant Patllari. It offers an ample view eventhough the Lake of Banyoles can not be seen, prevented by the vegetation. We leave Sant Patllari eastwards, taking the track by the shrine, close to the end of the path we used to come up here. There are signals of several itineraries. Two minutes later there is a small path at right, with a sign indicating "Pedra de la mà de Déu". The rock is some 20 meter into the forest.
Once back in the track we continue descending smoothly, leaving two deviations at right, and some 6 minutes later, at a brisk curve, there is a sign "Mirador". The view- point is 3 minutes from where we are and it's wortwhile to go there because it offers the best possible panorama over Banyoles and its Lake. So, we take the small path and after 3 minutes we turn left and get to the Mirador.

Mirador. 4:18; 585 m. We go back to the track and follow it down, always with general direction NE, following white signs, and leaving several deviations at both sides of the track. Only once one might take a shortcut at right, also signaled. We pass by the house of Can Llotir and in about one hour will arrive to the road from Banyoles to Olot through Mieres, close to the spot called "Paratge de les Estunes". If we want to visit it , we have to follow the road at right some 500 meters.

Les Estunes. 5:30. Delightful spot, legendful.

Date of the hike Several times between september and november 2003. With my friends RR and XL. Part of the route would not have been possible without the cooperation of the friends of the Centre Excursionista de Banyoles, with special mention to Joan Pontacq.
Useful maps
Pla de l'Estany. 1:50.000. Mapes Comarcals. Not precise enough to walk.
Comarca del Pla de l'Estany. 1:25.000. Consell Comarcal del Pla de l'Estany. Pretty imprecise.
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