Tuesday, 19 January 2010

18 Jan 2010 - Smuggler's Cove

Smuggler’s Cove is the walk which we decided against last week as it has been raining and we were worried about the path. Despite the absence of rain since then, the path was still very slippery, especially at the start which is through a wooded area which never seems to dry out. Rosemary, Tom, Ken and Barry tackle the rough track.

This is followed by a barranco (dry river bed). This section involves clambering over large boulders and you have to watch where you put every step. However the rocks were dry and no one slipped. Jan, Rosemary and Tom make their way along the barranco.

Then we reached Smuggler’s Cove. The weather was overcast, but dry. It was cold enough to require jackets or jumpers when we started, but by now we were well warmed by our exertions and the first layer was removed. This was a good opportunity for the first group photo of the day.
The beach was decorated with attractive cairns. It must have been done within the previous day or two, as the earlier heavy winds would have blown them all down. Some months ago David had demolished a similar cairn when he tried to add to it. He was determined to make amends today, and built two new ones.

Tom admires the cairns, whilst Pat looks less impressed

From the beach it is a steep climb to the coastal path, which leads to Cumbre beach. As always everyone set their own pace. Margaret and Tom are setting a good pace and have left the next group behind.

Parts of the climb require a little scrambling, but Jan does not seem particularly bothered by it.

The coastal path runs under a cliff face which is impressive, if corroded in places. This is one of our favourite coastal walks. For most of the length it is a very good path and there is no need to watch where you place your feet, so you can enjoy the sea views.

The coastal corrosion does not seem to have deterred the building of villas right on the edge. This part of the coast has many such “front line” properties similar to the one above.

This was our first view of Cumbre beach, our destination today. When we were here last year the area on the right of the beach was a large car park. A recent storm has washed it all away and damaged the beach bar.

The steep road leading to the beach is undamaged, but has been closed. This has not stopped at least four drivers from moving the barriers and driving down to the beach rather than walk on the steep road. Despite the many boulders which had broken through the metal nets on the cliff to stop this happening.

Not only the car park, but also the foundations, have been swept away. The pink building on the far left was the beach bar. Part of the building has been dismantled and taken away.
From here we climbed back up the road to a viewpoint, where we had lunch. As we were getting ready to start the return journey Peter spotted a group of dolphins out to sea. They were too far away to photograph, but could easily been seen with the naked eye. Rosemary had a pair of binoculars, which were in great demand. The discovery resulted in an extended lunch break as we watched them basking and leaping out of the water.

On our return journey we had frequent stops to watch the dolphins. There were also a couple of fishing boats, which did not worry them at all. The distraction of the dolphins made the return journey a very easy and enjoyable one – at least until we reached the steep and difficult section which led down to Smuggler’s Bay. As always it proved much more difficult going down than it had coming up.

When we reached the bottom we had a well deserved rest. Pat, Tom and Barry share a boulder. Then it was back through the barranco and through the woods. Fortunately the path had dried during the day and the going was much easier.

Monday, 11 January 2010

11 Jan 2010 - Calpe Coastal Walk

The walk planned for today was Smugglers Cove. However that walk has a section along a dry river bed, and involves scrambling over quite large boulders. It had rained during the night, and this would have made the dry river bed quite difficult. So instead we all opted for a walk along the coast to Calpe.

When we first did this walk about three years ago it was a small track which kept rejoining the main road and was quite difficult to walk. It has been greatly improved and now has wooden hand rails, a proper path and even picnic tables at strategic points along the way. A little tame for the Monday Club, but a very enjoyable walk for all of that.

We are currently in a particularly cold spell. Not up to UK standards with heavy snow and temperatures of minus 8c, but cold for this area. As we left the house this morning it was 2c, and had only risen to 4c when we started the walk. So everyone was well wrapped up against the cold.

This was our first walk with the Monday Club this year. We missed last week’s walk due to the cancellation of our flight back from UK, which resulted in a 30 hour journey and getting home at 2am last Monday. So there was plenty of news to catch up on.

The walk goes past the water centre, one of our regular short walks from Calpe and a nice place to have a cup of coffee and watch the sailing and other water sports. Not much happening this morning, and no stop for coffee either.

The dominating feature of today’s walk is the Ifach rock at Calpe, and we had constantly changing views of it throughout the outward part of the walk.

The Ifach was also our destination, and where we stopped for lunch. Due to recent storm damage to the path we started this walk much closer to Calpe than normal, and consequently stopped for lunch earlier – 12 noon. Many of us had not done much walking over the Christmas period, so the shorter and easier walk was quite welcome

We were lucky that the weather remained dry up to and including lunch. We even had a little sunshine. The weather forecast was for light rain at noon, but it was delayed for an hour. However most of the return walk was spent in waterproof jackets. Not at all a typical Monday Club walk, but a very enjoyable one for all of that.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

6 Jan 2010 - Parcent to Jalon

This was Rothbury, where we spent Christmas and New Year with Stuart and his family. The photo was taken on1 January, the day before we returned to Spain. We had very similar weather for two weeks and as a result had not been able to do much walking during our holiday.

This was the Jalon valley on 6 January. Due to a cancelled flight from Newcastle to Alicante it took us 30 hours to get to Parcent. As a result we missed our Monday Club walk. We returned to a broken washing machine, and waited two days for the repair man to arrive. This morning is the national holiday for Three Kings, so there was no point in wasting another day. Instead we decided to walk into Jalon for a bit of exercise.

During our holiday in Rothbury the weather had been between 1c and minus 4c. Very cold, lots of snow and ice. As a result we spent a lot of time keeping warm in the house, or being cold walking to the local shops. When we checked the weather for Parcent we could see it was 20c, and we often thought of our favourite café in Jalon. So we were very pleased to sit in the warm sun with our café con letche and a toastada.

It was ideal walking weather. Warm sun and blue skies. Very similar to spring in UK. We saw very few people during our walk, apart from some cyclists. We had thought that it would be very busy, as it is a national holiday. But perhaps everyone was visiting family. Whatever they were doing, it was nice to have the beautiful valley to ourselves.

Stuart gave us a new camera for Christmas, and this was a good opportunity to try it out. Its much more complicated than my previous one, which is about 8 years old. There are more options to select various settings, which is also an opportunity to select the wrong one. So we experimented with the various settings by taking different types of photographs.

It is often hazy in the valley, but today was particularly clear and sharp. And the orange trees were particularly colourful.

This is our favourite part of the walk, with Parcent ahead left and our house ahead right, both dominated by the Cavell Verde hill behind.

We were surprised to find that many of the trees had new blossoms so early in the year. It has been a very mild winter here in Parcent, which is no doubt the reason. It also gave us an opportunity to try another setting on the camera. My old one could not have captured this type of subject.

The orange’s looked very inviting, and Jan could not resist one. In fact they were quite bitter and not nearly as tasty as they looked. On the other hand, its easy to forget how pleasant it is to have a local walk where you have the option to pick an orange from a tree.