Sunday, 28 February 2010

27 Feb 2010 - Carrascal de Parcent

The Carrascal de Parcent dominates the village of Parcent, and is directly opposite our house. The ridge walk consists of a long, steep climb to the summit followed by a quite difficult walk along the ridge. It is the most difficult walk we have attempted here in Spain.

We met David, Rosemary and Pat at the Parcent Piscina car park. The walk starts at the piscina and is well marked for most of the way. Just after starting we met this friendly dog who looked like he would quite fancy coming with us.

The almond blossoms are late this year so it was a bonus that they are still in bloom and added colour to our views of the valley below

The first part of the walk is a gradual climb on good paths to the font. By the time we arrived we were glad of an excuse to stop for a short break.

From the font the path becomes more steep and not such a good surface. However it is easy to follow and only at one junction is the path not well signposted.

The forecast was correct that it would be cloudy skies. This was good for walking, as it was also cool and comfortable. But it was not the best conditions for photographs.

Jan and Rosemary have a thing about these yellow flowers, which are called jonquils. They are the first spring flowers to appear in this area as we seem to spend a lot of time admiring them, or at least some of us do.

We kept us a good steady pace, but had frequent stops to regroup and admire the views.

In the distance the clouds became much thicker, and at times we had difficulty seeing Montgo. The clouds moved around, but seemed to remain along the coast.

After about two hours climbing we arrived at our “banana stop”. This is a rocky ledge with spectacular views of the Jalon, Orba and Castell valleys, and also of the coast.

There are particularly good views of Parcent, and our house, from the ledge. We have often tried to recognize this spot from the house, but always failed. A pity, for if we could identify this ledge we would be better able to follow the climb. From our naya it is not possible to see any sign of the path, and we are not even sure of the exact spot where we reached the top.

We had planned to have a 15 minute stop here, to admire the views and have a well earned rest. But the ledge is very exposed, and the winds quite cold.

We did have a short break, but had to wrap up well against the wind. And after about five minutes we were all ready to continue the climb

The next section starts off gently, but it soon starts to climb and becomes very steep. This is the most difficult part of the whole climb and our legs were soon tired and aching.

We finally reached the top. The first part of the ridge is along a very rocky section which reminded us of a moon scape. At the start it is well signposted, but the signs soon become few and far between and the track becomes very difficult to find.

It was very exposed on the ridge, and the wind quite cold. So we were relieved to find a sheltered spot to have our lunch break. It was slightly below the ridge, and though we had this excellent view towards Parcent we were sheltered from the wind coming from the west.
As we settled down to eat the sun made an appearance
Jan choose a spot with a view, but the rocks were very sharp, so we moved to find a more comfortable seat.
Pat suggested that we should carry on a little longer as it was too early for lunch. However I preferred to stop here as it was well sheltered from the wind. And I think we were all ready for a break after our three hour trek.
From here the going was much easier. We left the “moon scape” behind and were walking on good well signed paths. The going was quite rocky, but the path easy to follow.
After half an hour we reached the first of the aerials. There is a collection of them on the ridge. None give any indication who they belong to, and these were rusty and seemed to be abandoned.
From here there were wonderful views to Parcent and the coast on one side, and to Benidorm on the other. The path ran slightly below the ridge, and ran from one side to the other. So we had many and varied views. In the distance we could still see the clouds, but it was now sunny and very pleasant on our ridge.
When we last did this walk, three years ago, we were impressed to find a fine wooden building very similar to a beach hut. We were even more impressed to find it replaced with this attractive structure. The rest of the buildings were very functional affairs made of concrete or breeze blocks, but this one looked more like a holiday villa.
As we got closer we could see that there was even a covered car port. The wide glass windows and the metal fenced viewing platform reminded me of a coast guard building we had seen on the south coast in the UK. Despite the car in the car port we did not see anyone in the building itself. And unfortunately there were no signs to indicate what the purpose of such an impressive building might be.
We were now at the end of the ridge, and this seemed a good spot for a final group photo
From here there was a well made road down to the col de rates. The road is obviously to service the aerials and we guessed that the road markings were to help drivers when visibility was poor due to low clouds. The road was too narrow to allow two cars to pass, and we did not see any passing bays.
It made a nice change to have a good road surface to walk on, and we were soon striding down towards the col de rates
Thanks to David for taking this photo which would be our reminder of a lovely walk.

We felt that the walk was almost over when we reached the col de rates, which is one of our regular walks. But in fact it would take another hour and a half to get back to the cars. The whole walk would take six and a half hours. This final photo was taken just after we left the col de rates looking back at the ridge we had crossed.

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