Monday, 22 February 2010

22 Feb 2010 - El Cau

The weather forecast promised a cloudy day with rain possible at 4pm. As we arrived at the car park it was cloudy and cold enough to wear our jackets. Most of us had not done this walk before and were excited to be tackling a new walk.

Pat and David had done a recce some time previously. Pat was to lead the walk today and started by explaining that “……it was quite a long walk, not really difficult – a little challenging perhaps”. There would be a climb over five summits, each one higher than the one before.

The walk started with a level walk through the undergrowth to the start of the climb. The direction was away from the one we would take once the climbing started!

Before long everyone was warming up, and the first stop was to take off the first layer. For most there were still a few layers left.

We soon met the first challenge of the day. We came to this cairn, but unfortunately there was no obvious path leading from it. Peter had gone ahead to check the route, and Pat now went in search of him to confirm we were going the right way.

It was not long before we had found the correct and well defined track which led up…..

-----and up and up

Not sure if this is one of the summits, but it is a good spot to stop and remove another layer…

….and admire the view down the Jalon valley

Then it was up once more. As the going got steeper the gaps in the group became longer. We always walk at our own pace when tackling a climb, but have regular stops to allow all to catch up.

This was the second summit. Wendy’s face says it all! Everyone looks pretty well shattered, but had soon recovered after just a very short stop.

Then it was off again, with fantastic views when we could take our eyes off the path.

And so to the third summit. Everyone seems to have got their second breath and seem quite happy to carry on.

And so it’s up once more, the path getting steeper now

This looks like it should be the final summit, but its only number four. The wind is getting stronger now, and quite cold. So layers have been put on again. Just a short stop to allow everyone to catch up, and to have a “banana stop”.

And up the final climb to the fifth summit.

Pat and Peter at the trig point on El Cau. Peter is by far the fittest member of the group and we usually only see his back as he leaps ahead. So this seemed an appropriate place to finally get a full frontal photo.

A short while later the whole group has arrived, and time for the formal group photo at the top. We all took our own photos, and as I am in this one it must be courtesy of David – who is not in it!

It was too windy and cold to have lunch at the trig point, so we were soon starting down again. On the sort of path you usually find here, going down is always more difficult than going up. Fortunately there is always a “helping hand” available.

We finally had lunch at a most uninspiring decrepit finca. By then it was quite overcast, and we have had enough photographs of the Monday Club eating their picnic lunch. I though this would be a more appropriate one on which to finish this week’s report.

Another excellent walk. Despite some reservations that it might prove too difficult everyone managed it without any real problem. Its good to have a little challenge now and again, and El Cau is one that we will all look forward to tackling again in the future.

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