Matthew Parris, Times columnist, broadcaster and former MP, is also an enthusiastic traveller and walker. His latest book, A Castle in Spain, tells how he and several relatives discovered a ruined mansion house (l'Avenc) in the hills of Catalunya north of Barcelona, and subsequently purchased and restored it. This central story is interwoven with insights into the history, heritage and scenery of this part of Spain, in the hill country between the Pyrenees and the Costa Brava.
It was Matthew’s quest for new walking routes which led him to the abandoned building around 30 years ago, and his enjoyment of walking is evident in the way he describes the Grandes Rutas footpaths that cross the area.
He has kindly agreed to our publishing extracts from the book on Walking Stories. There 's an edited extract from his account of how he first came across the ruined house of l’Avenc, whilst exploring a new hiking route along the clifftop between two villages. Another edited section describes the Grandes Rutas system and the GR2 which runs from the western edge of the Montseny mountains and past the house. The final extract is a story about his favourite walk along a section of the GR11 in the High Pyrenees. There's much more in the book to enjoy. Highly recommended!
A Castle in Spain by Matthew Parris is published by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Books, London 2005. ISBN 0-670-91547-5
Go to the walking stories from the book >
For some photos of the house and its surroundings, see the website for l'avenc >