Thursday, January 27, 2011

Who is visiting this site?

In November 2010 I closed this site, because the blog was full and I could not post any more photographs. I transferred all of the 2010 material to a new Jan and Paul in Spain 2010 blog, and provided a link on this site.

Since then there have been a large number of visitors to this site, and relatively few of them have transferred to the new blog.

I have quite a few blogs, and I think I have changed the link on all of them to the new blog. So I am at a loss to know why there are still a large number of visitors here.

If you are one of those visitors I would be grateful if you would leave a note to confirm where you found the link.

Many thanks


Friday, November 5, 2010

Link to New Blog

This blog is now full, and we have had to open a new one.

All of the 2010 blog has been transferred and all new entries will be on the new blog

Please follow this link to the new blog

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

1 Nov 2010 - Juvees de D’Alt

We had planned to walk the Green Horse today, but we woke to an overcast morning with light rain and very heavy winds. Not the best of weather for a ridge walk. We all agreed that we would walk in the valley instead.

Fortunately both David and Pat had done a valley walk some time ago, and were reasonably confident that they could find it again. We had also walked it before, but that was three years and in the opposite direction to today.

The walk started down the mosarabic path to the valley bottom. This is the same path we use on the return leg of the Baranco Inferno walk. Good path and much easier going down than coming up!

At the bottom is this sign to Cova Santa – more appropriate for Christmas perhaps

This valley must have been quite populated at one time, for there are more abandoned finca’s and farms than is normal.

By the time we reached the valley bottom the weather had improved. The grey skies were replaced with blue, and we had a warm sun on our backs. So a halt was called to remove a layer or two.

This is a very dramatic looking valley, with a distant view to Denia and the sea

However it’s not long before we are climbing up again. Another mosarabic path, but a very manageable ascent. It is a gradual climb with level bits to recover in between the more steep sections. A cool breeze also helped to make it a pleasant climb.

We had no idea what this walk is called until we came upon this sign post - Juvees de D’Alt

A short distance further on we arrived at our first objective, an abandoned village.

Trust Pat to find not only a chair, but even a table! Just one of the perks of being “the boss”

The first part of the walk had been much better marked than we anticipated. And from here it was a broad dirt road to the rural restaurant where we usually have lunch when we walk The Green Horse.

The dirt road runs around one side of the valley, and climbs the whole way. There are no really steep parts, but the constant gradient is quite tiring.

This is a view of the dirt road from the opposite side of the valley.

We were all quite pleased when Pat decided it was time for lunch.

And it would be hard to find a better spot for it

After lunch we soon joined the track back to Benimaurrel, with long views past the village to the coast beyond.

Next Walk

The next walk will be on Monday 15 November. It will be El Cau. Meet at same place as last time. Take Pinos road. Just past motorway bridge look for parking area on right of road. We will meet there at 1000.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

30 Oct 2010 - Col de Rates

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, October 27, 2010

25 Oct 2010 - Fig Tree Walk

We have been unable to do this walk for about two years, due to the road to Castells being closed for widening. We were a little apprehensive at the start as there were black clouds and it looked like it might rain. As there was no sun it was quite cold, by our standards anyway. So most started the walk in jackets.

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.

It was also the first time we had seen Colin for quite a long time. He had medical problems last time he was with us, and it was good to see him looking so well – at least at the start of the walk!

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

There is a very steep climb immediately after the finca. It follows a very ill defined track, which is difficult to find at the best of times. This was not the best of times, as it was very overgrown.

Despite this we made good progress, and were soon able to look back down at the finca where we had our short break.

Whilst Pat searched for the path we caught sight of this local. We think it is called a wasp (or perhaps bee) spider. We saw one in Wendy’s garden during our (wet) BBQ, but can’t remember whether it was wasp or bee.

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.

After lunch it was a long downhill walk towards the finca and later the cars. The track was still wide and easy to follow, but no longer firm. It’s very easy to fall on this sort of surface, particularly going downhill. You tend to brace your legs a lot, making it quite tiring. The views remained impressive, but you had to stop if you wanted to look.

As always the walk ended at a local bar. You will note that I settled for a coffee (coffee in front on empty chair)! The arm on the left belongs to Barry. Everyone moved slightly back for the photograph and he ended out of it completely. I blame the photographer.!!

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, October 23, 2010

23 Oct 2010 - Pinos Marnes Circuit

It is some months since we last walked with the CBMW, and we had forgotten how many cars there can be. The walk started just outside the mountain village of Pinos, and there was no formal car park. Even though we arrived 20 minutes before the walk was due to start, all available parking space had been taken. We had to pull in at the side of the narrow road as close to the edge as we dared.

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.

The 10 km walk started downhill and along the road towards Pinos. These are narrow and winding roads and quite dangerous when so many walkers are far more interested in talking than watching where they are walking.

In less than half a mile the 49 was reduced to 48. One walker fresh out from UK had not appreciated how difficult the terrain can be here. Although this walk was not particularly difficult, he packed it in as soon as we started on the first hill. The group had to wait until he reached the road, from where he would be unlikely to get lost on his way back to his car.

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.

Autumn is our favourite time of year for walking here in Spain. It’s similar to walking in UK on a particularly warm summer day. The breeze is quite cool and makes the walk really pleasant. Mind we have a lot more sunny days than you are likely to find in UK, even in high summer. The mountain scenery is very peaceful, or at least as peaceful as it can be when walking with a group of 48!

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.

When walking in this area the CMBW always stop for lunch at the house of an elderly chap who used to be a leader with the group. That was long before we moved here, and we had never walked with him. But he makes the group very welcome to his very isolated home. He normally offers all a glass of wine, but he had a bad harvest this year. He did lay out a great collection of chairs, but not quite 48. By the time we got there the chairs were all taken, and we had to find a comfortable rock to sit on.

The return journey was mostly downhill on narrow and rocky paths. It is a feature of walking in this area that you spend a lot of time looking at your feet to make sure that you do not lose your footing.

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.