Monday, October 26, 2009

26 Oct 2009 - Gata circular

Today’s walk was a circular walk from Gata. It’s a walk we have done a few times before, and is memorable for the long, long climb up to the summit of Soldates

The first section is along an easy track and down to the dry river bed

Then a lovely section through the woods, particularly attractive on a nice sunny day like today.

Our first break was a short stop just before we started the climb. Being a very warm day we were all in need of lots of water – even before we started the on Soldates.

The path just goes up...

......and up and up

Reaching the top is a great sense of achievement, and a very welcome rest

And of course there are the views

And still more views

Having done all of that climbing, it was then downhill on a very difficult track to our lunch stop

Beside this lovely old ruined finca

Wiith stunning views of Montgo

After lunch the walk provided excellent views of and the coast

And still more of Montgo

Not to mention Gata itself

As we neared the town we passed this lovely olive tree

And finally to a well deserved very cold drink

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

19 Oct 2009 - Olta Circular

Today’s walk was a circular one around Olta, the very distinctive hill overlooking Calpe. Although we have done this walk two or three times before, we still misread the road signs leading to the car park at the camping site. But we had allowed so much time to get there we were still one of the first to arrive.

This walk is shorter than most we do, and drew a good crowd. It was led by Ann, who took us on a route which was new to Jan and I. Normally we tackle a difficult bit of scree, either going up or coming down. It had rained quite a lot recently, and we were concerned that the ground might be difficult. But Ann avoided this section all together and we followed a broad track all the way.

Todays weather forecast was possible light rain in the morning. But despite some cloud it was sunny but cooler than lately for the whole walk. The path was exceptionally muddy, and for the first time here in Spain we had to walk with a build up of mud on our boots. I had forgotten how uncomfortable it can be, and feels like walking on stilts!

The first things everyone did when we stopped for our "banana break" was to scrape the mud off their boots. But as soon as we started walking again it was as thick as ever after a few minutes. Fortunately towards the end of the walk the path was much less muddy.

There is a lovely lunch spot at the church, with picnic tables and toilets. But it is very close to either the start or the end of the walk, depending on which way you walk the circuit. So today we stopped for lunch at an old ruined finca.

This walk may be a little short for some of our more energetic members, but I always enjoy it. It makes a pleasant change not to have to climb mountains, and with the ground so muddy it was a very good choice. Also there are some wonderful views over Calpe and the coast, and all for less physical effort than usual.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

17 Oct 2009 - Tarbena Circular

Its almost two years since we last did this walk. It starts in the mountain village of Tarbena. David is not checking the route, he is explaining it to Jan and Rosemary.

Tarbena is lovely, very Spanish, mountain village about half an hours drive from Parcent. The whole drive is through beautiful scenery but on a very narrow and winding road. David drove today, so for a change I could sit back and enjoy the lovely scenery.

David doing his “great explorer” pose. We were quite surprised to find that there were other walkers, though not as many as last week on Bernia. This was another walk with easy access, as it starts from a village.

You don’t have to walk very far from Tarbena to be right in the mountains. Within half an hour we had reached a spot with spectacular views towards the distant mountain range.

Apart from leisure walkers we also saw some local hunters. We first heard them, as their dogs had bells on. At first we thought it must be a goat herder, but when we saw them in the distance we could see that it was dogs. We later passed the two hunters on the way back to Tarbena, but they were as gruff as ones we had met before. I think they resent people walking in their mountains in the same way that fishermen resent walkers along river footpaths.

Jan, David and Rosemary. David has led this walk before for the Monday Club group, but it was almost two years ago. Jan and I were so impressed with the walk that we suggested that it was about time the Monday Club did it again, but David thought it might be a little short. The group has been tackling more difficult walks over the past year or so, and he felt this might not be challenging enough. But its such a lovely area that it would be a shame not to put it on again for the group.

We came across this field of flowers, and I could tell that the sun was in the wrong place. So I was not sure how this photo would look. But actually I quite like it.

This was one of those walks where you are spoilt for lovely scenic photos

Our lunch stop involved another short climb. But it was obviously a popular spot, because the track was well marked with cairns.

It was such a pleasant spot that we had an extended lunch break. Unlike last week on Bernia when the cloud came down during our lunch break, today was sunny and warm and we could have easily spent all afternoon there. Just as well we didn’t, for just as were leaving a group of young Spanish walkers arrived.

Yet another spectacular view of the surrounding mountain range

David went dangerously close to a steep fall to get a photo of us, and was told off by Rosemary. Not that he seems particularly bothered!

Almost at the end of the walk. Jan, David and Rosemary look back over the route we had walked.

Jan and Rosemary deep in conversation walking down the path to Tarbena.

A typical narrow street in Tarbna – obviously not designed for cars. And strange how you don't notice the urgent need of a new coat of paint on some of the houses when you are walking around there.

The café where we had a drink commerates the Spanish Civil War. The walls are decorated by period newspapers and posters. We all agreed that when we return with the Monday Club we will take advantage of the menu del dia which is only 10 euro.

Monday, October 12, 2009

12 Oct 2009 - Tormos to Campell

This is a very local walk for us, as Tormos is just a few miles from Parcent. Despite that we were the last to arrive at the car park, and were surprised to find so many cars. There were 19 for this popular walk, one of the largest groups I have know for the Monday Club.

The walk starts through the village of Tormos and then out into the campo, with lovely views of Cavell Verde on the right and the walls of the leper hospital at Fontilles on the right.

We did not stop at Isbert Dam, but started to climb up to the railway line which was laid to build the dam.
Then it was through the rail tunnel, quite long but tall and wide, and you can see the exit after just a short time in total darkness.

The tunnel exit and a relieved Ann who does not like the tunnel, but was prepared to face it in order to enjoy the rest of the walk.

Now we have gained a little height there are lovely views Montgo and the coast at Denia

Quite a steep climb to Fontilles home of the leper hospital which is still operational and trains doctors and nurses from all over the world.

Another climb through the woods to the picturesque music room and a well deserved rest

The walk continues through more woods, and this is one of my favourite parts of the walk

This is probably as near as any of our local walks get to a walk in the woods back in UK. The trees are rather different, but the impression similar. Its lovely walking through the woods on a warm sunny day along a dappled path.

As we pass through the woods there are views of the Campell on the opposite side of the valley.

Lunch was at this lovely little church. It was quite hot, and our group scattered to find some shade. But I insisted on a group photo with the church as a background. This one is unusual as Jan took it, and there I am included in the group (front left)

This is the view from the church - not bad for a picnic lunch stop. And just look at that blue sky. And we can expect this sort of weather most days now right through the winter and spring.