Saturday, 20 March 2010

20 Mar 2010 - Benimeli Aerials

The weather forecast said it would be cloudy, warn and dry. It was, and it was also very hot climbing to the aerials above Benimeli. After a couple of weeks when it has only been warm when the sun was shinning, today it really felt like being in Spain again. The temperature on the sign above the farmacia said 24c

The path follows the “stations of the cross” out of the village and is very steep. Within 15 minutes we were already well above the village and had good views of the valley, even if it was very cloudy.

This part of the track is rocky and quite hard going. We had frequent short stops to get our breath back, then on again towards the aerials.

After half an hour we arrive at the remains of an old settlement or village. It is the first flat bit of land, and a good place to have a water stop. It is also where two paths cross, and we watched a large group making their way down to Benimeli. They were very loud and very English, and we were glad that they were not going up to the aerials like we were.

The steepest part of the hill starts here, and the path is very difficult to find. Actually there are lots of paths up, but the official one is the easiest to walk but the most difficult to find. We failed to do so and just aim for the first cairn, from which we found the marked route.

Again we had to make frequent short stops, and despite the weather the views were ever more impressive.

Once we reach the aerials we join a gentle and flat path along the crest of the hill. We pass the ruins of an old Iberian settlement.

Eventually we reach the end of the crest, with views to the coast – but not today. We found it quite hard to see Montgo or Denia, let alone the coast.

As always we had our picnic lunch here. This walk has the best picnic site of all and it’s a delight to watch the birds and listen to the silence. Even with the restricted views today it’s a very magical spot.

Back to the aerials, and then down this long road for about an hour. Our least favourite part of the walk.

Eventually we join a track through the woods and around the opposite side of the hill to the one we had just climbed.

Just one week ago there would have been a mass of white and pink almond blossom’s here. Most have been replaced by very green new leaves and almond buds.

After a short couple of weeks the beautiful almond blossoms are replaced by the almonds, and the trees look ugly and stunted.

An hour after we left the aerials we reach the end of the path winding around the hill, and we start to make our way gently downhill along a difficult to follow goat track.

It’s not long before the church and buildings of Benimeli come into sight

And in no time we are seated in the village square with a cold glass of clara (shandy). The walk has taken less than four hours, but we are more hot and bothered than usual due to the hot and humid weather. So our glass of clara was even more welcome than normal.

Lovely end to a lovely walk.

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