Sunday, 27 February 2011

26 Feb 2011 – Orba Castle

It was our turn to host David and Rosemary for the day, and we agreed a walk to Orba Castle from our house.  From the bottom of the road you can see the castle just to the left of the lamp post.
One of those magic moments.   As we neared the hill we met this chap exercising his horse.  He is on holiday from Barcelona visiting his parents.   He was very apologetic that the horse was too fat, apparently there was no one to exercise him and he ate too much!
David eventually let the poor man go on his way, and we continued towards Orba hill.
This has always been our favourite path up to the castle.   Recently we have followed the official way marked route, but we always found this one easier to climb.
Always time to stop and look down over the Jalon valley.  You can just make out Parcent in the middle right, just below Col de Rates.
And finally to the castle itself.   As so often happens we had it to ourselves, apart from a mass of butterflies who were making the best of the warm sun.
 We had expected it to be cool having climbed the hill, but in fact it was very warm.  There is no shade on the top, and it was almost too hot.
Lovely views, including this one of Orba and the Orba valley leading to the coast. 
Rosemary is still suffering from a bad cold, so she was ready for a long picnic lunch in the warm sun.
The decent is almost as bad as the ascent.   Going up you have the climb, but the paths seem much easier.  Coming down there are sections where the track is quite difficult. 
One final look back at Orba Castle through the last of the almond blossoms
A short stop to recover before the long walk back to Parcent.   Jan and Rosemary surrounded by almond blossoms.
It’s very exposed on the dry river bed and we were all pretty hot and tired by the time we finished the walk.

We then had the rest of the afternoon to sit and chat on the naya and have a shower and change of clothes before ending the day with a very large meal at La Solana in Alcalali.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

21 Feb 2011 – Col de Rates

 We could see today’s walk from the naya – our own Col de Rates.
 The walk started from Alcalali, a change for us all.   We usually walk from the house, and the group from Jalon.   We had done the walk from Alcalali once with the CBMW, but this was a first for our group.
We started with a walk across the valley, and were lucky to catch the tail end of the Almond Blossoms.  Another couple of days and the blossom would disappear for another year. 
There are two popular paths up the mountain, and when we arrived five years ago we always used this one.   The path was badly damaged in the Gota Fria in October 2007, and we have avoided it since then.
The path has been repaired since then, but it still broken up in places 
The early sun turned to cloud, and despite the effort of climbing it was too cold to stop for long.
Which is a shame, because there are lovely views of the Jalon valley as we climb, particularly with the almond blossom.
Our first banana stop was at the mirador on the main road.   This is a very popular spot with holiday makers driving through the mountains from Benidorm, but was deserted today.
This spot is ideal for a panorama shot,  but my camera is not really up to the task.  This is the best I could do.
One last short climb brought us to the cafĂ© on the Col de Rates.   Once more the weather seemed to have discouraged any visitors.  
The views of the mountains towards Benidorm are really spectacular, and we even had a touch of sun to tempt us to have lunch here.
Peter had a much better spot in mind for lunch, a short downhill walk away and with views of Parcent andthe Jalon valley.

Unfortunately the sun had disappeared, and the bitter wind made us seek shelter behind the crest and away from the views.   Eating our picnic in the cold reminded me of almost every holiday we ever had in Scotland or Pembroke!

Next Week

Meet at Teulada golf shop at 0855 to car share to Font Moli to walk Puig Campana

Saturday, 19 February 2011

18 Feb 2011 - Almond Blossom Time

For the past two weeks the Jalon almond blossoms have transformed valley.   And this is one of the best views, taken from the end of our road.

Many groups organise walks in the valley at this time of year.  We always do our own walk from Parcent to Jalon, and this year we were joined by our neighbour Brenda.

 As we walked down the hill from the I took  this view of Parcent
 The walk is about 5 miles each way, and avoids any main roads

 We passed a couple of other groups, but most of the time it was quiet and peaceful
 This is a very easy walk, on good paths and mostly flat
 We were lucky that the blossoms survived the recent heavy winds

And it has the advantage of a wide choice of cafes in Jalon ideal for a refreshing drink sitting in the afternoon sun before tackling the return journey.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

14 February 2011 - Benissa

Margret found this new walk in the local English language weekly paper.  

The official name of the walk is Roca de la Salve, but to me it will always be the Benissa cemetery walk, because that is where we met.   It is a circular walk of 13 kilometers, including two pretty steep climbs.
13 of us, including Jan,  met at the cemetery car park.  It was a bright sunny morning, but with a bitterly cold wind.   It was the first time Jan had walked with the group since she fell and injured herself four weeks ago.
The walk follows an old path which runs alongside the toll road.   In face it crosses under the road at two places.   The first is unremarkable, but the second has this excellent example of pop art.
It is not long before we come to the first climb.   By now we were warming up, and off came the jackets in preparation for the climb.   It was not too long, but it was very steep.
The climb was followed by a gentle path through the woods, with views towards Montgo and the coast.
It was a good hour before Margret let us sit down for a “banana stop”
But she did choose a lovely spot for it amongst the almond trees which are in full bloom this week.  
Within a week or so they will have lost their blossoms and the show will be over for another year.

 Jan and Wendy made the best of the opportunity to sit and have a break.   As the old saying goes “never walk if you can stand, never stand if you can sit”, or something like that!
It was just a short to walk to the second climb of the day.   Soldates is one of those climbs that are best tackled at your own pace.  It is a long climb, and very steep in parts.   Some, though not many, like to rush at it.   Some like to tackle it at a slow pace, but keep going to the top.  Many do what they can, and rest when they can’t.   There are no medals for being first, and everyone is pleased to finally reach the top.
Though bright and sunny, the wind was too cold to remain at the top for very long.    So just time for a quick photograph and then down the other side.

This was the worse part of the walk for Jan, as she was being careful not to jar her shoulder.   So we let everyone else go on, and we brought up the rear.   Everything was fine, and much easier than she had feared.
 At the bottom we stopped for lunch at an old finca.   I was very happy to let Jan get our picnic lunch ready.   After our climb and decent we were all quite warm, and it was sheltered by the finca.
The remainder of the walk was along the valley on very good paths, with views of Bernia and El Cau in the distance.

 Any opportunity for a photo is always welcome

Especially such a good subject as this youngster.

Next Week

An old favourite, Col de Rates, but from a new starting point.    Meet at the car park in Alcalali on the junction of the Pedreguer and Jalon roads at 10am