Saturday, December 5, 2009

5 Dec 2009 - Orba Castle

Orba Castle is one of our local walks, in fact this photo was taken from the end of our road.

Its always difficult to know what to wear for walking at this time of year. This morning we had blue skies, but it was cold enough to need a coat. We both love December and January, because it feels so fresh - like Spring in UK.

The first part of the walk is through "the campo" through masses of orange trees. The mountain is "The Green Horse", another favourite of ours. We usually walk in a group, but its nice to be on our own for a change. Everything is so quiet and peaceful.

This is pretty typical of the paths we use. They are not marked, and you only know about them by someone else taking you the first time. We have done this walk about 20 times, but earlier this year we took a wrong turning on the way back - too busy talking! There are many paths and most of them are farmers paths which only lead to his field.

After half an hour we reach the barranco (a dry river bed). This used to be a narrow river bed overgrown with weeds and bamboo. But a couple of years ago we had a big storm which resulted in heavy floods, and this river was completely changed. For months we could not do this walk at all as the water was too deep - and about four times as wide as we had ever seen it before. It is now almost completely dry, but still the same width. Very impressive, and unlike anything we had seen in UK.

Next comes the village of Murla, and then into the campo again heading for Orba Castle. The village was very busy, which is most unusual. First there was a market in the square, with lots of cheap and tacky Christmas decorations. Then there were a large group of hunters meeting in the village before setting off for a days shooting.

The climb is not too difficult, though it is on very bad tracks. There is a new "official" route, but we prefer our old one. It was not as overgrown as we feared it might be. It involves a little scrambling, but there are plenty of places to stop for a short break.

Two hours after we left the house we were at the castle. I am not sure how long the walk is, about 10-12 km I would think - plus the climb of course.

And this is the view which makes it all worth while. The castle is in ruins, but there is plenty of space to find shade or shelter from the wind if required. Today this was not necessary as it was sunny and warm when we reached the top.

We had the castle to ourselves, and we choose to sit facing the coast to have our picnic lunch. It is not the most comfortable place to sit, and you have to move around to find a spot that is not too uncomfortable.

This is the view we had whilst we ate our lunch. The town is Orba, and the mountains behind Benimeli (The Aerials walk). Orba valley leads to the coast at Ondara, which is near Denia. Today is a fiesta, and whilst we ate we could hear a distant band playing in either Orba or one of the other villages.

It was very pleasant sitting in the sun, but you don't want to sit for too long or you get stiff and its difficult to get going again. We took about half an hour for our lunch, and were off again before 12.30pm.

Half an hour later we were down in the valley again, and were home by 2.30pm. Even after a shower it was still warm and sunny on the naya, where it was 23 degrees in the shade. Just right for a well deserved cup of coffee, a short read and a doze!