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Ulla to Canet de la Tallada and civil war remains

Canet de la Tallada house and church Ulla is a small village just outside Torroella de Montgri, set slightly back from the road behind the warehouses for the Costa Brava fruit co-operatives. Our walking routes have taken us to Torroella de Montgri along the Ter, and into the Montgri hills at the back of Ulla, but we'd never gone the other way heading upstream towards Canet de la Tallada - a place we'd not visited before, so this was a little bit of an unknown explore.

Canet de la Talada snails waiting for a ride Unlike the dry lower slopes of Montgri behind Ulla, the area along the Ter is a flat plain of espalliered fruit orchards and, in May, of ripening wheat and other crops. We park in Ulla and cross the busy C31 that connects to Verges and L'Escala, heading into the fields. There are strong notices on the way in that going in among the fruit trees is strictly prohibited so to stay to the path.

The orchards are mostly apple with the last of the blossom just disappearing, leaving small burgeoning fruit buds in their place. The walk is fine as a stroll in the sun along the gravel agricultural track,  which eventually opens out into more fields and views of the trees lining the unseen River Ter.

It's only as we reach one of the farm houses that we see an unusual-shaped building just to the side of the path, a long concreate structure with two open door ways. From a distance we take guesses as to what it was for - it looks like a defensive fortification. As we get closer we can see a sign which explains that the area we are walking was used as a large airfield for the Republican (anti-Franco) Spanish in 1938. The building we're looking at was a large air-raid shelter for the military personnel. What's more the area we're walking provides a tour around several of the sites related to the airfield.

Canet de la Tallada civil war air raid shelter As we walk around the Costa Brava and Emporda areas we keep coming across these types of historical sites. The ebb and flow of wars and attacks from civil wars, wars with France, Napoleon, attacks from Ottoman pirates reflect a land with a turbulent history. When refugees are coming into Europe from the East, Catalonia still bears the scars of the last exodus of Spanish refugees within living memory.

Illa de Canet on the Ter Finding out about the airfield piques our interest and we continue following the marked circular route. The first part links to the Illa de Canet - an island in the River Ter formed where a weir holds back the water leaving a large semi-lake of water full of waterfowl. It feels like an area that is rarely visited it's so quiet, but the path and riverside have been carefully tended with a steel wall that can be used as a hide for watching the birds.

We follow the path into Canet de la Tallada looking out for the curiously shaped farm/castle-cum-church. The houses in the village are spread out and feel as if they are spreading out their gardens like wings taking in the afternoon sun.

Ulla village centre Our route back follows the same marked track up to the point that we divert to the next historic shelter. Instead of following the prescribed route we walk out to a large buildings warehouse on the main road, hoping to find a track back through the fields on the other side of the C31 back to Ulla.

Unfortunately there are no crossing points and no obvious routes to take, so we are forced to follow the C31 by the side of the road. This is seriously unpleasant. The road has no verge or footpath, just a ditch to each side and we are forced to walk towards the rapid oncoming traffic hoping that the cars take notice of our vulnerability. Eventually we find a small bridge and can cross to the other side of the ditch and totter along the edge of the field slightly further away from the road. As the road passes another set of orchards, the walking gets easier but there is still no sign of a footpath. Eventually we come in towards Ulla - forced back on the road to cross a stream with a bus looming at us, and then back into Ulla. If you are taking this route do stick to the pre-marked route - we didn't see any real alternatives to get back to Ulla.

The village itself is a small stone-built medieval village, a little sleepy, off the beaten track. A short walk to the church and the centre for photos and then back.

Walking route from Ulla to Canet de la Tallada

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