Tuesday, 21 December 2010

20 Dec 2010 – Eye of Montgo

From some angles Montgo looks like an elephant, and “the eye” is the cave on the right.   An outcrop of rock looks like his eyebrow.

 There were just ten of us for the last Monday Club walk of 2010 – including Janet who had a nightmare return journey from UK due to a combination of snow at Gatwick and air control strikes in Spain.

 Saturday and Sunday were grey, miserable and wet.  So we were delighted that today was sunny with blue skies.  

 The walk starts with a steep climb, but you are rewarded with lovely views back towards the cars

 There is no obvious path, and not even many cairns.   So it’s just a matter of finding the least difficult route.

 Its one of those walks that the more you climb the further it seems to the objective!

 But we eventually meet a good path coming from the direction of Javea.

 The views now are to the coast and towards the windmills of Javea

 Although the path is obvious, it is also very steep and care is needed due to the loose rocks and stones.

 At last Pat, who is leading the walk, calls a halt for a water stop.   Peter decided to convert it into a banana stop, and is promptly told off.   As you can see he was full of remorse.

 And at last we reach The Eye and our lunch break

 The Eye includes a series of caves, but they were ignored in favour of just sitting and enjoying the warm sun.

 Sitting on the edge Jan enjoys the views

 And all too soon its time to start back down again

 Its even more difficult coming down than going up, and just as tiring on the legs.

 A short stop to allow everyone to catch up before we rejoin the overgrown path

 Sue’s contribution to the festive season was a bouncy snowman attached to her haversack

A stop at this “bothy” presented Peter with another opportunity to tell one of his many tales to a captivated audience provided by Pat and Sue.

This was a very enjoyable last walk for 2010.   Thanks to Pat for so many memorable walks throughout the year.   A very Happy Christmas to all our friends, both those we walked with today and those absent friends who could not be with us today.   Looking forward to many more enjoyable walks in 2011.  

 Next Walk

Monday 3 January.   Meet at the port car park in Javea at 10am.   Walk to the lighthouse, across to the tower and back via cova Tallada.

Monday 10 January.   Meet at Bernia Inn for a circular walk via the tunnel and the fort.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

13 Dec 2010 - Pinos-Bernia Circuit

 Despite a cloudy and overcast morning there were still 11 for today’s circular Pinos-Bernia walk.
 It was also quite cold, so Pat set a good pace for the first hour.   It was uphill from the start and we were glad to have an excuse to stop and admire this mother and son.
We were very quiet, as we did not want to frighten them
 But we need not have worried, they soon came over to make friends
Even in overcast weather like today, the scenery is still pretty impressive.
Our first stop was outside the Bernia Inn.   We were all ready for a short break, but it was too cold to stop for long
The next stage was a nice path along the side of Bernia, but the low cloud meant no views of the Bernia outline
Fortunately the wind had dropped by the time we reached the finca for lunch.
 We usually stop at this finca, as there is plenty of seating, even if it is a little hard
 After a hot drink and something to eat everyone felt much better
 The next stage was mostly downhill and much easier going than the morning part
And our final break at another finca.
This one is derelict, and it’s sad to see that it gets worse each time we visit.
By now the low cloud had cleared, and the sky was brighter, we could even see Bernia
Another steep climb brought us back to Pinos, and this house for sale provided an opportunity to stop and look
Finally a warm, or alcoholic, drink at El Peon de Pinos restaurant

Next Week
Eye of Montgo.   Meet at Las Brisas on the Jesus Probre to Javia road at 0950.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

8 Dec 2010 - Benimeli

 Another warm and sunny morning, it was 21 degrees on the naya as we had breakfast.   So we decided to do a local walk to make the best of the weather.   I am not sure how long this warm spell will last, but it’s very welcome after a couple of weeks of colder than normal temperatures.
 It’s almost a year since we did our Benimeli Aerials walk.   The village is a few miles away, in the Orba valley.   We have always liked this walk, which we first did with the Monday Club.  However the group now prefer more challenging walks, and this one has fallen out of favour.

 From the village we follow a steep track following the “stations of the cross”.    These are little stone shrines, each one depicting a station, similar to those you find in Catholic churches.    Most of the local villages have these on an adjacent hill.  I am not quite sure why, because they do not lead to a church or anything. 

 In this case the path just winds up to the ruins of an old finca or village.   We were so hot after our climb that we found some shade for our short break.   Today is another bank holiday, and as we sat we could hear the church bells in Benimeli.
 From the finca the climb becomes more steep and difficult.  It is a very popular walk, and over the years various groups have marked different routes.   About a year ago a new route was marked by the local council, but it is difficult to find.   There are so many cairns and various coloured spray paint markings.   But all lead to the summit, where there is a car park and a picnic site.  

 Today there was a Spanish couple with two young children, the first people we had seen all day.   We exchanged a few words with the mother who was enjoying the sun with a little baby, and watched the dad help his young daughter climb on the rocks.

 Next comes a short, but steep, climb up the road to the aerials.   There are lovely views from here up along the coast towards Valencia.

Then there is a lovely level walk on a good path to a flat rocky area which is ideal for our picnic lunch.   From here there are views towards Montgo and Denia.   It was quite windy, but there are plenty of rocky wind breaks.
The return walk follows the road downhill, and then through the woods to a mosarabic path which leads back to Benimeli.
We were amused to find the Christmas decorations hanging from the balconies in the square, plus a large religious print.   Christmas is more of a religious festival here in Spain, less of the frantic spending spree so familiar in UK.
The village, like most here, is usually very quiet and peaceful.  But we had expected to find a collection of locals in the café as it is a holiday.  But both the square and the café were deserted.   The owner seemed pleased to have even our custom of two coffee con leche.   It was very pleasant sitting in the warm square, silent except for the church bells pealing the quarter hour.  

A very enjoyable walk.   It took us about four hours, slightly shorter than our normal Monday walk.   It was nice to walk on our own for a change, and we found it quite challenging enough.  

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

6 Dec 2010 - Olta

This is a very popular walk near the coastal town of Calpe.   We had forgotten that today is (another) Spanish holiday, and the car park was full when we arrived.   Benissa town hall had arranged a walk and we had to explain to a Spanish chap that we were not that group.  Fortunately they arrived just as we were about to start.

After a long spell of (for us) very cold weather, today was warm and sunny.  For about 10 days the daytime temperatures have varied from 6-10 degrees, and the early mornings and evenings considerably less.   But today there was an increase to 20 degrees.   Something to do with the winds from Morocco and the Sahara.  Whatever the reason the rise in temperature is very welcome and we are making the best of it.

The circular walk around Olta is, for the most part, on very good paths.   We had planned to include the summit to extend the walk and add a bit of a challenge.   However there were very strong winds today and Pat, our leader today, decided against it.   Instead we took a new path with excellent views of the peaks and the coast below.

The decision was taken just as we reached the summit.  So the steep climb up was followed by a steep walk down again.   Everyone had agreed not to tackle the summit in such strong winds, so everyone was quite happy with the decision.

One of the nicest parts of walking on the Olta is The Ermita.   This is a church with an excellent picnic site, including toilets with running water.   A real luxury on a Monday Club walk.   There was no wind in this sheltered spot, which was ideal for a leisurely picnic lunch.

I had forgotten to take my camera today, so I am very grateful to David who took all of the photos for today’s blog.

It was so comfortable sitting at the Ermita that no one was in any hurry to pack up and make our way back to the cars.   David and Rosemary, plus Peter and Ann, are returning to UK this week, so our numbers will be reduced next week.

Next Week

Meet at Pinos at 1000.   Coming from Benissa, drive through the village and after the first bridge park on the right.