EMMA CHRISTIE, AUTHOR

Where is it?

The Vall de Boí in the foothills of the Spanish Pyrenees, around 150 miles north of Barcelona.

Why do you go there?

For me, this valley has everything. Nature, culture, gastronomy and a great sense of peace that never wavers.

I love to hike and the valley touches one of the most spectacular areas of the Spanish Pyrenees, all sparkling lakes and dramatic peaks and roaring waterfalls and big skies. It's hugely inspiring to walk here. There's also a brilliant ski resort in the valley and fantastic mountain lodges offering authentic Catalan food.

But what makes it even more special is the cultural heritage. There are nine tiny churches dotting the valley, dating from the 11th and 12th centuries. I studied medieval history at Aberdeen University and continue to be fascinated by the architecture and art from that period.

HeraldScotland: Author Emma Christie. Picture: Maria Jose Fernandez HidalgoAuthor Emma Christie. Picture: Maria Jose Fernandez Hidalgo

A highlight is the church of Sant Climent de Taull, home to a masterpiece of European Romanesque art: the Pantocrator fresco.

The original was removed for safekeeping to a Barcelona museum but now the church has a totally brilliant digital recreation of the fresco. They use a technique called video mapping to show how the murals were painted, stroke by stroke. It's quite remarkable to watch.

I also come here for work sometimes – I lead small groups through the valley when I work as a freelance tour guide with US educational travel company Road Scholar.

How often do you go?

Two or three times a year.

How did you discover it?

I remember reading about the valley and its churches when I first moved to Spain in 2002 and was fascinated but I didn't make it there until 2017. My girlfriend and I had just bought a campervan and we went to the Vall de Boí on one of our first trips. I fell instantly in love.

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What's your favourite memory?

I love taking groups to the Sant Climent church in Taull. The last thing they expect inside a 900-year-old church is a spectacular digital show so there are always a few gasps when it starts.

Who do you take?

My girlfriend – or small tour groups.

What do you take?

Campervan, camera, hiking boots, skis and a big appetite.

What do you leave behind?

My laptop. It's not a place for working.

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Sum it up in five words.

Wild. Inspiring. Surprising. Endlessly beautiful.

What other travel spot is on your wish list?

Meteora in Greece. It is a rocky mountain area with spectacular formations and monasteries built on precipitous peaks.

Emma Christie's first novel, The Silent Daughter, was shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Book of the Year 2021. Her second novel, Find Her First, is out now (Welbeck, £8.99).

She will appear at the Aye Write book festival, Mitchell Library, Glasgow, on May 12 at 8pm, alongside Marion Todd and Jonathan Whitelaw of the Caledonia Crime Collective. Tickets cost £10. Visit glasgowlife.org.uk