Sort is the capital of el Pallars Sobirà, a county set in the north of Catalonia. The municipality covers about 105 km, it is 695 m above sea level and has about 2.200 inhabitants. Most of its inhabitants live in the town of Sort and the rest are spread among the 14 aggregated villages.
The county of Sort, literally the old domain of a count, is worldwide known by its high quality tourist and sports offer and variety, as well as for being a town in a land where 80% of its territory is protected by the natural areas that surround it: “Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park” and “Alt Pirineu Natural Park”.
A part from the extraordinary river that runs through the town, Sort counts on an important cultural and natural heritage (Castle of the Counts of del Pallars, 14 picturesque aggregated villages, Romanesque churches, museums, diaries, meteorological observatory, traditional festivals, amazing landscapes, etc.); there are also excellent hotels, shops, restaurants and adventure sports and active tourism enterprises offering all the variety in rafting, hydrospeed, canyoning, horse riding, bungee jumping and trekking, among others.
Why in Sort?
Already in the 60s, white water activities started in Spain thanks to our river, La Noguera Pallaresa, which undoubtedly meant the development of a sports tourist offer related to leisure activities in nature, as well as the consolidation of several sports clubs for canoeing and kayaking.
The sports history of the town of Sort starts with the organization of the 1st Sports Tourist International Rally in la Noguera Pallaresa (in 1964), which will currently hold its 51st edition. A sports event labelled as a festivity of national tourist interest by the State Bureau of Tourist of the Spanish Government. Other white water international events held in La Noguera Pallaresa have been: Final of the European Wildwater Canoeing Cup (1980), Junior Wildwater Canoeing World Championships (1988), Freestyle World Championships (2001), Freestyle European Championships (2004), Wildwater Canoeing World Championships (2010), Freestyle International Open (2013) and ICF World Cup Kayak Freestyle (2014).
This record and the quality of the natural surroundings of the river, together with its special course as it runs through the town, have become key factors to help the town of Sort become the capital of adventure sports and of active and innovative tourism. Thus, in el Pallars Sobirà one can do more than 24 different catalogued sports activities, in relation with nature and with the river, within a radius of 40 km.
In addition, the Organization of the event in Sort on the part of the Town Council of Sort, the Spanish Canoeing Federation, the company RocRoi and the International Canoe Federation, together with the collaboration of La Seu d’Urgell in a common project for 2019, makes possible the global aspect of the event, having the implication of institutions, enterprises and citizens.
“L’Aigüerola” Slalom Course
“L’Aigüerola” Slalom Course in Sort is found in the river section that runs right through the heart of the town. The course was built in 1993 and has a level of difficulty graded in III. Its main features are its sports navigable waters at any time of the year and permanent training and competition facilities for slalom. There can also be found the three waves at different points of the course where paddlers go for freestyle practice within a natural surrounding.
Noguera Pallaresa river
La Noguera Pallaresa is the longitudinal axis of the county named El Pallars Sobirà, where a wide diversity of landscapes meet in the different valleys, frequently taking the name of rivers and streams that run through their valleys (“Vall de l’Escrità, Vall d’Àneu, Vall de Cardós, Vall Farrera, Vall de Siarb, Vall d’Àssua…”).
This Pyrenean river, tributary of the river Segre, is born at the southern end of Pla de Beret, at about 2.000 m high. It is 146 km long and it was one of the first to be prepared to produce energy on a broad scale. Its average flow is 31.5m3/seg. Its maximum water flow is during the springtime, thanks to the thawing period, and the minimum is usually during the winter. In the month of July the water temperature is about 15ºC, one of the highest, and the flow runs at 32,7m3/seg. exceeding the annual average of 29,37m3/seg.