Saturday, October 10, 2009

10 Oct 2009 - Bernia Fort

David and Rosemary invited us to a walk to Bernia Fort which they had arranged for his sister Diane and two friends. The friends were not regular walkers, and this would be a shorter walk than we would normally do.

We were very lucky with the weather, which was sunny and warm - but not too too warm. This weekend is a Spanish holiday, and it was soon obvious that we were not alone in liking the Bernia for walking.

There is a lot of space to park around the start of this particular walk. Because of that, and because it is a relatively easy walk on a good path, it is very popular with local Spanish families as well as our walking groups. So e were not too surprised to find a lot of cars, in fact it was quite difficult to find a space near the start.

We were soon off up the winding path. At first there was not much sign of other walkers, as they were probably doing one of the many more difficult walks which also start from the car park. But it was not long before other walkers stated to catch up and overtake us.

The path soon became quite busy, and we could see other walkers both ahead and behind. For those of you who walk in such popular areas as the Lake District this will not be unusual. But around Bernia is is almost unknown. Usually when we walk in this area it would unusual to see more than one other group. Today we found ourselves in the sort of walking chain you often find in the more popular walking areas in UK during the summer months.

We were not particularly worried about the larger number than usual walkers, and when you look at the photographs you can see why it is so popular. And the slower than normal pace gave us the opportunity to look around and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

As we neared the Fort we found that the path was quite badly eroded. This is also very unusual on our normal walks, and highlights just how popular this walk is. It was also a first to find that parts of the path were diverted to allow for repairs. Its not unusual to walk for a whole day and never see a single sign post, so this was very unusual.

As we neared the Fort we were greeted by the low cloud. Again this is not unusual. Unfortunately it spoiled the spectacular views you normally get to Benidorm and the sea. We have seen it many times, and find the clouds and mist to be quite atmospheric. But its a shame if this is your only visit not to be able to get full value from the views.

The Fort is not at the top of Bernia, but is is high enough to give lovely views around the whole area. And as it is so easy to get to it does have a lot of visitors. We were sad to see that the plaques which explain what you are looking at had been vandalised. They were put there about two years ago, and were very useful. Instead of a collection of ruins, you had a drawing and explanation of what it looked like when it was used. Outside of some of the larger cities it is very unusual to find this type of mindless destruction, and it was very sad to find it today.

The Fort covers quite a large area, and there is enough of it still standing to be able to imagine what it must have looked like when in use. It is about 300 years old, and had a garrison of about 50 men plus pack animals.

All of the forts in this area were built in the most inaccessible areas, and this was no exception. It certainly dominates the whole area.

Pretty well every blog shows a photo of the group eating, and this is no exception. It is often the only opportunity to get them all together, and not posing for the camera.

We had quite a long lunch, and only left when a large Spanish family group arrived. Not that we minded the company, but I expect that they would like to have it to themselves for short while, until the next group arrived.

A very enjoyable walk to an interesting spot we had only previously visited as a lunch stop during a much longer walk.