- In the heart of the Spanish Pyrenees
- XC can take you over the range’s biggest peaks
- Strong in spring and summer, mellow in autumn
- Castejon has plenty of paragliding shops and schools
Castejon de Sos is one of Spain’s premier mountain flying venues.
WHERE IS IT?
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
There are several take-offs here, but the jewel in the crown is 2,300m Liri. From here you can float 1,400m to the valley below, or launch off on XC to explore some of the highest peaks of the Pyrenees.
Castejon is paragliding central, with shops and schools and in season lots of visiting pilots. From here, for €10, you can get a ride to launch almost a mile higher. Liri, the south-facing main take off at 2,300m, offers as much space as you like on its grassy slopes, and looks out across the verdant valley below.
Flying here year round is no problem – the flying businesses are permanent – and the site offers thermalling from mid-February to October. There’s lively nightlife, tourist information in English, and there are plenty of things to do when not flying. If the weather, or snow on the road, makes flying from Liri impossible, there’s a lower take-off at 1,200m so pilots can still get a fix.
The site faces south-east and starts to work in the morning, which means you can take off before noon and it will be working for XC. In spring and summer strong conditions prevail. Cloudbase of 3,000m is usual, 3,500m not uncommon, with 4,000m making an occasional appearance and the record being a whopping 4,900m.
Thermals of 6-7m/s are common. Cross-country conditions are good, with a prevailing westerly wind meaning most tracks head east; in 2008 the Paragliding World Cup flew a near-straight-line 139km task here that took them east through the mountains. However, it’s also possible to make long and beautiful local circuits.
In autumn conditions settle down, and in winter despite the snow you can still fly.
In the landing zone watch for the wind: in the morning it usually comes from the north-west, but it switches to a south-easterly in the day and is south-westerly by evening, turning northerly again late.
WHEN TO GO
Spring and summer for stronger conditions, autumn for mellower flying, and in winter it’s a good place for speedriding.
HANG GLIDER ACCESS
Access is good for take-off at Liri, with a good HG landing at the El Raso ultralight airfield.
MUST BE FLOWN
The flight from Liri is classic in itself for some, but to stretch yourself, take a tour of the valley for a 43km classic route.
DANGERS AND ANNOYANCES
Be careful in a north wind as there can be a foehn effect. It can be very strong and increase without notice. From January to June some areas are designated no-fly zones because of nesting birds – check with the maps when you’re there.
Lots of accommodation, from hostels to hotels. A comprehensive list is online here.
TAKE THE FAMILY
All outdoors activities are catered for. There’s a climbing wall, swimming pool, via ferrata, canyoning, horse riding, quad biking, rafting.
The nearest airport is Zaragoza (240km) or Barcelona (350km). It’s a 500km drive to Madrid. Drive or, with a bit of changing, you can get a bus to Castejon without too much trouble. The nearest railway station is Monzón, but it’s 100km away by road.
Lots of info on www.tandemteam.es
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