Sunday, 31 October 2010
Paul and Jean, friends who live at Calaspara in Murcia, came to visit us for the weekend. They also enjoy walking, and have accompanied us on some of our favourite local walks during previous visits.
They had admired Col de Rates, our local mountain, and were looking forward to walking it. It was unfortunate that on the morning we planned it there was an overcast sky. After weeks of blue skies our timing was not good. But at least it was not raining.
Being overcast it was also quite chilly, so we wore jackets to start the walk. The walk starts with a gentle climb along the side of the mountain, and we were soon ready to take off the first layer.
The gentle climb soon becomes steeper, but good tracks all the way. After our recent experience of overgrown tracks we were pleased to find that these were quite clear. So the walk to the top was not too difficult.
It was windy and quite cold at the top, so we did not linger long. We had planned to stop for our picnic lunch just below the summit.
The path down is also quite good, and provides lovely views of Parcent and the Jalon Valley.
As soon as we stopped we had to put our jackets on again, as it was quite cold without the warming sun. We always take a flask of hot water on our walks to make fresh tea or coffee. And on a day like this it is particularly welcome.
The views from our chosen picnic site are the best in the area. Even on an overcast day like today they are impressive. There are panoramic views of the Jalon and Orba valleys, the surrounding mountain ranges and the coast from Denia to Calpe. We were able to point out the previous walks we had done together and villages they had visited
Although we have done this walk many times, it is always a joy to do it again. Even when the weather is less than perfect. And it is always particularly nice to show it to someone who has not walked it before.
The mosarabic path back to Parcent requires careful attention to where you are putting your feet. These old paths were well made, and survive the occasional “gota fria” rain storms. But they are very rocky, and many of them loose. This is good excuse for frequent short stops to admire the view.
Wednesday, 27 October 2010
The start of the walk is a long uphill climb. It was not long before we had to stop to remove at least one layer of clothing.
There were 16 on the walk, quite a large number for a Monday Club. It was Barry’s first walk since the summer.
An hour later we reached our first stop. There is an abandoned farm at the first level area and we always have a short break here for a quick drink and get our breath back.
The first climb was long, but followed a well defined path. So Pat, who led the walk, told everyone to go at their own speed and we waited at the finca for everyone to catch up.
But not too long a break, and it was soon time to carry on
Despite this we made good progress, and were soon able to look back down at the finca where we had our short break.
When the Castells road is open this is a very popular walk, and is well supplied by cairns – including this unusual and attractive one. When you are trying to follow a difficult path like this one it is always a great relief to find a stone cairn confirming that you are on the correct path.
Once we reach the summit we reach this wide track, and follow it for an hour or so before we reach our lunch picnic spot. This is my favourite part of the walk; you can step out and enjoy the views without having to look at where you are putting your feet.
Lunch was in a lovely spot, with views over the valley towards Aitana and the mountains near Benidorm. By now the sky had cleared and the sun was warm. But the wind was still quite chill, so we did not have to look for shade.
PS Just after I finished the blog I received an email from Wendy (who is very knowledgeable about these things) confirming that the spider is a Wasp spider and that his proper name is "Argiope Beuiennichi".
Saturday, 23 October 2010
We had also forgotten just how busy these walks can be. There were 49 walkers and the leader, Peter Barraclough, had to shout to make himself heard for the pre walk brief.
Our first stop was soon after we completed the climb. Many of the Monday Club were on this walk, and we had David and Rosemary for company.
This 10km circular walk is in an area quite close to our last Monday Club walk, and we had the same Bernia mountains as a constant backdrop.
Now this is a most unusual photo of David – walking on his own. Most unusual for him not to be having a chat as he walks.
The walk becomes quite spread out on these narrow tracks, and even with a back marker it is quite difficult to keep the group together. This calls for regular halts to allow everyone to catch up, and is one of the less attractive features of a CBMW walk.
Just under five hours after we started the walk we come within sight of the cars – always a welcome sight. Despite the large number of walkers this was a very enjoyable walk, and one we would like to repeat with the Monday Club.
Monday, 18 October 2010
Bright and sunny, though a little cooler than of late. An ideal day for our walk from Lleus to Pinos. Eleven of us today, just about right for a friendly walk. And nice to see Tom back again for the first time since May.
Its three years since Jan and I last did this walk. I was not too worried as I knew that Lleus was signposted off the mountain road to Pinos. What I did not know was that the second turning was signposted to a restaurant and not to Lleus. After an exciting tour around the ever narrow tracks we spotted Lleus church on the other side of the valley and finally found it.
We were not prepared for a herd of ostriches in a field by the side of the road. They were very timid at first, but soon got used to us and allowed us close enough to take a photograph.
First sight of Pinos, our destination. But though it seems very close across the valley, it would take us another hour or so to reach it.
“Hear no evil, see no evil and speak no evil”. A nice shot of Sylvia, Pat and Rosemary.
This is a very varied walk, with lovely views of both the Bernia Mountains and the sea at Calpe. It starts with quite a steep climb, but that is followed by an easy walk through lovely scenery.
Just as we settled down for our “banana stop” a lady invited us to come to her house for our break. We thought that she was Spanish, but in fact turned out to be English. She lives in a house right in the middle of the campo and apparently relies on a well for her water and a solar panel for hot water. Unfortunately we did not take up her kind offer as it would have been interesting to see just what her house was like.
The last part of our walk to Pinos was along the dry river bed, with its dramatic rocks. It appears that the water has washed away the soft stone leaving these large rocks apparently balanced above the ground – very strange.
We also visit this river bed on another of our walks in the area, so we have seen it half a dozen times. It has always been very dry, except after very heavy rain. Even then the water soon dries out leaving the ground completely dry.
Part of the path was very overgrown with undergrowth. David was unwise enough to confirm that he had a secatares, and Pat soon had him clearing the whole path. The rest of us offered support, but very little assistance.
At the end of the dry river bed there is a steep climb up an overgrown track leading to the Pinos road.
Throughout the walk there are constant views of nearby Bernia Mountain.
We had lunch in the square outside Pinos church. All of the buildings have been renovated and painted recently, and the church itself now contains an art gallery. It was closed today, but there appeared to be an art class for a group of “Brits”. After lunch Pat described next week’s walk.
As we leave Pinos we pass this attractive finca.
Before we join the downhill path to Lleus there is time for one last group photo with Calpe and the Ifach as the backdrop.
Next Week’s Walk
The Fig Tree walk is another one which we have not been able to do for a long time, due to the Castell’s road being closed. Now that the road is open again it will be nice to do it again.