Thursday, 11 March 2010

10 Mar 2010 - Castell d'Axia

We have walked quite a bit in the Pedreguer area lately, but never on our own. Much as we enjoyed exploring the area with David and Rosemary, and then the Monday Club, we wanted to try it on our own as this is really the only way to remember the area. Today’s walk was from the car park below the church (marked 1 on the map) to Castell d’Axia (marked 5 on the map), using the yellow, then green and finally blue paths.

The car park is on the outskirts of Pedreguer, so you are immediately “off the beaten track”. However this walk involves a steady climb right from the start.

Within half an hour we had already climbed a considerable height, the buildings in the centre distance are Pedreguer. This photograph was taken at the point where the yellow path joins the green one (marked 8 on the map)

To me all flowers are either white, yellow, red or pink – or a combination of one or more. However there are more educated walkers in our group, and one of them is Rosemary. So this photo is just for her. I had walked past without seeing it, but Jan called me back and suggested I take this one for Rosemary. Apparently it is a Bee Orchid. I say “apparently” in case Jan has got it wrong!

The green track shown on the map involved a short, but particularly steep, climb. This photo was taken just as we joined the blue track.

The next half hour is quite flat, and covers an area which was cleared by a bad fire about two years ago. By coincidence we had visited a nearby view point on the day of the fire, and it was quite frightening to see how quickly it spread. Some local houses were evacuated during the fire, but none suffered permanent damage as far as I know. The fire cleared the undergrowth, making this an easy section to walk. Though sunny the distance views were not very clear, but you can just about identify Calpe Ifach, Olta, Le Cau and Bernia in the distance

The next section was very exposed, and the strong winds were bitterly cold. It was a lovely part of the walk, and very easy going. But we were both glad that we had come prepared with lots of layers of clothing, gloves and hats.

This part of the walk was on the opposite side of the hill, with views over La Lossa below and of Col de Rates and Parcent in the distance behind the village.

It took us just over two hours to reach the bottom of Castell d’Aixa. We were tempted to climb to the top, but were not sure we had sufficient time to do so. Wednesday is also the day Jan has Spanish lessons. So we had to be back home early enough for her to change and get ready to go to Jalon by 5pm. We had never climbed to the castle before, and were not sure how long it would take. So we decided to leave it until next time. So this was the nearest we came to Castell d’Aixa.

We climbed the nearby rocks and found a nice “sun trap” to have our lunch. This is a popular walking area, and we watched two groups of walkers on the paths below our lunch site, including one group coming down from the castle.

A lot of walkers dislike “linear walks”. That is walks that use the same path our and back. We have never really understood this dislike, as the views are completely different on the return journey. This is particularly true on this walk. On the outward journey there are views of the surrounding mountains. On the return journey the views are mostly of the coast from Calpe to Valencia. The alternative circular route involves descending on a very difficult path, which we had done with David and Rosemary some weeks ago. Today we enjoyed the return walk much more.

We were quite surprised to find that there are still almond blossoms in bloom. Most of them in the Jalon valley have now faded, but were still bright here in the hills. Not quite as full as last week, but still very attractive.

It has been too cold on the outward journey to have a “banana stop”. However on the way back the wind had dropped, and the sun was warmer. So we had a short stop to admire our view and avoid having to carry the banana back home.

This was our first view of Pedreguer on the return journey. It would take another hour to reach the cars, but downhill all the way. We reached the cars just after 3pm, and the whole walk had taken four and a half hours. So Jan had plenty of time to get ready for Spanish. We could probably have climbed Castell d’Axia, but having to hurry would have made it less enjoyable than this walk turned out to be. And, of course, there is always next time!

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