Wednesday, 4 January 2012

25 Dec 2011 – Christmas at Rothbury

 Once more we spent Christmas and New Year at Rothbury.   No snow this year, in fact most days were bright and sunny.   But very cold.
Christmas morning started early with present opening.   Jack, of course, got the lions share of presents.
Closely followed by Georgia, who also had a large pile of presents.   However she really preferred tearing off the wrapping paper and making the sitting room as untidy as possible.
 Stuart also did quite well.   He bought Jack TWO remote controlled cars.   This was so that Jack could race them, not so that Stuart would also have one to play with.
Jan was not forgotten, her presents included three bags of her favour humbug sweets.
 After lunch Stuart could not wait to race his remove control cars with Jack.
Boxing Day found us all at the local park so that Jack and Stuart could play with their cars again.
It was another sunny and bright day, but once more very cold.
Georgia loves walking and only needs a little help from dad and granddad
I have started a new blog for 2012.   You can find it at

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

19 Dec 2011 - Lleus to Pinos

Sunny clear morning as we met at Lleus.   There should have been eight of us, but Mike and Jackie were late.   Peter waited for them, whilst the rest of us set off across country to Pinos.
It was not long before Peter, Mike and Jackie caught up with us, and we stopped for another photo opportunity.
We soon got our first view of Pinos, with Bernia in the background.   It looks quite close, but we did a detour along a dry riverbed, which added an hour to the walk.
Then a short, but quite steep, climb up from the riverbed to the village.
When we were last here they were renovating the church and square, and they have made a great job of it.
The square is a real suntrap, and in the summer we have to find shade to have lunch.  But today was just right to sit and enjoy the winter sun.
A local painter has opened a business in this lovely house beside the church.   Local groups also use it as a meeting place. 
Me and Barry soaking up the sun and minding our own business.  Not a bad way to pass half an hour or so.
Then it was downhill back towards Lleus

Throughout the walk back we had extensive views of the coast, Olta and Calpe Ifach.

Next Walk

The first walk of the New Year will be Smugglers Cove.   Meet at the main car park in Moraira (where they hold the weekly market) at 10am on 2 January.

Jan and I will have to miss that one.   But we hope to see you all for the second walk, which will be Pinos to Bernia.   Meet at the usual parking place, just after the first bridge after passing through Pinos.   Start at the usual time of 10am on 9 January.

Best wishes from Jan and I to all our blog readers for a very Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year. 

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

12 Dec 2011 – Fig Tree Walk

Some weeks ago David did part of this walk and found it difficult due to the overgrown path.  He suggested that we might do it as a group, and clear the worse parts of the path.   Last week Pat suggested that we do it this week do some work to clear the path.

So today we met to do just that – complete with secateurs.   You will note that David is not in the photo – he is now back in the UK!   You will also note that Pat is not in the photo – she had a doctor’s appointment and could not walk today!

 You will see from this photo that David was not telling lies, the path was indeed overgrown.
There were six of us on the walk.  The three men did the path clearance.  The three ladies brought up the rear offering advice and complaining that it was getting cold as we were moving so slowly!   My offer to change over and let them do some of the clearing to warm them up was not taken up.

It was hard work, but it was a job well done.   And we were all very pleased with our efforts by the end.

Next Week
Later than normal start for the Lleus to Pinos walk.   Meet at Lleus church at 1030.   This will be our last Monday Club walk before Christmas.

Friday, 9 December 2011

8 Dec 2011 – Benimeli Aerials

When we decided to do this walk we had forgotten that we had done the same walk on the same day last year

This has long been one of our favourite walks, and one we often do on our own.  At three hours it is a little short for our Monday group, but more than long enough for us.
Right from the start its quite a brisk climb, and looking  back on the village you realise just how high you have come in such a short time.
Despite the blue sky it was quite chilly when we started the walk.  But by the time we reached our first stop at the ruined finca we had warmed up.
Although we knew it was a Spanish holiday, we were still surprised to find so many people about.   As we started the second stage of the climb we became aware of a Spanish group behind us.  They were climbing at the same pace, so we had to keep going to keep ahead of them!
When we reached the picnic site just below the aerials they continued downhill, leaving us to enjoy the views in peace.
It was gone midday when we reached the aerials.  Ideal weather for walking, just like a sunny summer day in UK.  A thick haze came in from the sea making it less than perfect for taking photos.
A short walk along the crest brought us to our picnic spot.  As we arrived we passed another group of Spanish walkers who were just leaving.
Whilst we had our lunch we watched another two groups of walkers passing just below us.  It is unusual to see any other walkers here, let alone the five groups we passed today.
The return journey is on a much less popular path, and we saw no one at all until we reached the village
The square was empty when we got there at 2pm and we enjoyed a well deserved rest and a strong cup of coffee con leche.  

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

5 Dec 2011 – Castell de Castells

It was such a relief to have a sunny morning, that we didn’t mind at all that it was also pretty cold.  It was even colder when we prepared to set off from the village, as the temperature is usually 3-4 degrees lower than in Parcent.
We soon warmed up, as the climb from the village is pretty steep.   It was even longer than usual as we took the scenic road, in error,  and did a long circuit of the hill rather than going straight up the mosarabic trail as we usually do.
It took about an hour to reach the view point, about twice as long as normal.  No one really minded the extra length, as the path was very good and we could admire the views. 
In the shadow of the castle itself we had our first stop……..
…..which was of course a banana stop.   I wish we had ten euro for every banana we have eaten on a Monday morning during the past six years!
We did the walk anti clockwise for a change.   We missed the very steep road up to the castle, and had different views as we approached our usual lunch stop.
We had started our walk with unusually clear views of the mountains.  But by the time we reached the top of the climb a haze had come in from the sea.  In addition there were the usual plumes of smoke from wood burning the valley below.
It’s a very steep climb from Castells to the castle, so we could only admire these cyclists.   Its hard enough on foot, both steep and a rock covered path.   It must be very painful riding a bike.
Despite the extra detour we had made very good time, and it was still too early for lunch.  So we decided to do the last part of the climb to the castle, and then beyond to the view point for our picnic.
Back again where we had our banana stop, we finally settled down to lunch.   We found a lovely sun trap protected from the wind and again just below the castle.

We arrived back in the village after a five hour walk.   Castells is a typical Spanish mountain village, with winding narrow streets.   Pat had gotten lost last time we were here, and was determined to find the correct route this time.   So we were treated to an “interesting” misguided tour.   For such a small village it was hard to understand how it could take so long to find the car park, but it was a great relief when we finally did.

Lovely walk, and all the more enjoyable after two walks cancelled due to heavy rain.

Next Week
Next Monday will be The Fig Tree walk.   Meet on the Benichembla to Castells road at the new lay-by just after the 30 kilometer sign.   Cross the bridge we used to park under and park on the left.

Apparently a small part of the walk is overgrown, so Pat has asked everyone to bring secateurs!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

24 Nov 2011 – Orihuela

After three days of rain we were all very relieved that it was dry, and even a little sunny, for our U3A coach trip to Orihuela
We were lucky to have Mateo, a local chap, as our city guide for the whole tour.  His English was very good and he turned what could have been a boring cultural visit into an interesting experience.
The coach dropped us at what appeared to be the main shopping centre, and we spent the rest of the day on our walking tour
Orihuela was once the second most important city in Valencia.  It is now overshadowed by its neighbouring cities of Murcia and Cartagena.  Much of the new city is typical of a large rural town, but the old city is interesting and very beautiful.
After a very busy morning we were all more than ready for our menu del dia.   The group was too large for one table and we were divided into two, each with their own room.  The staff did not speak any English, and there was some confusion when we were served with bottles of beer, but wine and water soon followed.  We had a selection of tapas and were then offered a choice of meat balls with chicken or pasta.  We thought that this was the main meal, and were pleasantly surprised when we were then offered a choice of chicken or fish for the main meal.   Finally a sweet and coffee.   Excellent meal, and very good value for 12 euros.
After lunch it was off on tour again.   We visited two churches, a cathedral, a Moors and Christians museum, the private house of a local nobleman and an underground tour of the old city  walls.   Unfortunately none of the photos I took were very good.  So you will just have to take my word for it. 
Walking is by far the best way to see a small city or town.  You get a much better impression than driving around in a coach, and you also get a feel for the people and buildings.   But it is quite tiring.

It was our first visit to Orihuela, and we were surprised that there is so much to see and do.   I suspect that we saw much more due to our official guide than we could have hoped so see on our own.   It was a lovely day out and introduced us to one of the less well known attractions of Valencia.