Tuesday, 28 February 2012

27 Feb 2012 – East Bernia

Due to a variety of medical problems there were only seven of us for this challenging walk.  We were lucky with the weather today, warm but with a cool breeze.  Just right for tackling Bernia.
The first part of the walk is the same as Bernia via the Forat, but we then leave the path and head down hill into the valley.   But not for long, we are soon walking uphill again.
At the top of the first steep climb we had a short rest, whilst Peter went off to check out any new paths.
As we rested we spotted these wild goats.   The mother kept a wary eye on us, whilst the lambs (?) played amongst the rocks at the edge of a long drop.  
Peter got us going again with the promise of a banana stop at the next col. We followed this excellent marker, which Peter claimed he had placed during an earlier recce. I am sure I was not the only one who took this with a “pinch of salt
And then it was a long and very steep climb uphill for half an hour. I took a break to ease my heavy breathing and take this photo of David and Rosemary.
  Eventually we reached the top, and the views were just as impressive as I had remembered them.
  There was a particularly impressive, and unusual, view of the Olta, with Calpe Ifach behind.
And then it was downhill again.  This time no path to speak of and the going was particularly difficult.   So it was more a matter of sliding down rather than walking.   It might well have been this same section which resulted in Jan’s smiley face patch.
Lunch was at the picnic site.   It was a real pleasure to have a proper table and bench to sit and eat.   Despite the sun it was cool in the shade – hence the jackets.
And once more a steep climb uphill to join the path we would have used had we done the more traditional circuit via the Forat.   It’s unfortunate that this hard climb has to be tackled immediately after lunch.
 Within a short time we could look down at our picnic site, and the coast beyond
  A final short break at the fort before returning to the cars.   The walk was longer, and more difficult, than I remembered it from last time.   It was 4pm by the time we finished, and most of us had found it quite hard going. At the same time most of us had enjoyed it, and it’s good to tackle a more challenging walk now and then.

Monday 5 March 2012
Next week we meet at Tormos in the car park on the Orba-Sagra road.   Peter is leading a walk which we did a year or so ago.  Pat and Peter have did a recce last week, and found part of it to be overgrown.  So Pat has asked that everyone bring a pair of secateurs to do a bit of route clearance.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

25 Feb 2012 – Xativa

This was our second day trip with U3A, this time to Xativa.   Although only an hour or so away, we had never visited and were looking forward to it.

The trip included an optional visit to the castle.   Its possible to walk up, but we were quite happy to catch the tourist road train along with the rest of the group.  This included a recorded commentary as we made our way through the town and up to the castle.

We were quite impressed that entry to the castle was only 1.20 euro each.   Very good value, but a long wait as they tried to issue tickets to our large group.   There were very few other visitors, and obviously they were not geared up to large numbers arriving at the same time.  

Unfortunately we did not have a guide, but most of the exhibits had an English translation.   Despite this is very interesting exploring the grounds.

Unlike our last trip, we did not have a guide around the town.   We did have a map from the tourist information office, but it was not much use.  We soon tired of walking around the streets and found ourselves a nice cafĂ© for lunch.
Xativa is well worth a visit, and we were lucky with the weather.   Without a guide we did not get to appreciate the full historical importance of the town, but we did enjoy the castle.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

23 Feb 2012 – Orba Castle

This is one of our local walks.   We walk from the house, and can see the castle from the end of the street.

We were pleased to find the new orange route signs at the start of the walk, and decided to follow them and hope that they led to Murla.
It was a very good path, and very easy to follow.   Walking through the almond blossoms most of the way.
As expected they did lead to Murla.   It was much quicker than our old path, and avoided the long walk along the dry river bed.
David and Rosemary joined us for the walk.   We had our banana stop just before we started the climb to the castle.
The path was overgrown, and it was difficult to follow the signs.  But having done it so often before we did not have any trouble reaching the top.
Warm and sunny for our picnic lunch.  The four of us have done this walk so often that we even have our own regular spot to sit.
The path down was even more overgrown.  This is not part of the new official path, and therefore not so well signposted.   What marks there are were mostly faded or covered by undergrowth.   But again we know it so well that we found our way down without difficulty.
It was nice to do this walk once more, and particularly so with the new path.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

20 Feb 2012 – Parcent Carrascal

This is the first time we tackled this difficult walk as a group, and we wanted to make sure that the weather would be reasonable when we reached the top to appreciate the views.  So Jan and I were delegated to decide whether to cancel the walk if the weather was not too good.  This was the view from our naya at 0800 when we had to decide.  The weather forecast was overcast with a chance of rain.   We decided to do it and hope for the best.
We had cancelled this walk three times due to poor weather, so it was a relief when it was at least dry we all met at the Piscina in Parcent.   We parked three cars at the Col de Rates so that we would not have to walk back downhill to the Piscina at the end of the walk.
It’s a steady two hour climb to the top, and we had to set a pace that was suitable for everyone.   When the group fell silent I called a short stop.   Fortunately this did not happen too often!
We were all ready for our banana stop, but everyone is still looking quite cheerful despite the steep climb.
The view over the valley and Parcent is pretty impressive, but it was too cold to stop and admire it for too long.
We did make time for this “top of the world” type photo of Jan and Wendy. One for the photo albumn.
The last part of the climb is particularly difficult.   Fortunately it is now much better sign posted than it was when we first did this walk with the local Spanish walking group.  Then the group broke up and everyone made their own way to the top.

It took us two hours to reach the ridge, and being exposed it was very cold.   After a short rest we wrapped up and set off again
We soon reached the rocky patch, which looks like I imagine it must be on the moon
Once more the walk was made much easier by the new sign posting, including easy to see posts.
By 1pm the sky had cleared and there was even a little sun.  But it was still bitterly cold, even when we managed to find a sheltered spot for lunch.
It was one of those times when it was more important to keep warm, than to worry about how you looked
Nearing the end of the ridge walk we came in sight of the fire observation post, which is clearly visible from our naya at home
Tired but happy group.  We all felt that it was quite an achievement to tackle such a difficult walk.
From here there is a proper road down to the Col de Rates.   An easy end to the walk, but still another hour to reach the cars
We felt a little scruffy to have a coffee at the Col, but much more at home in the Cooperativea in Parcent.   A hot coffee con leche was a suitable end to a very enjoyable walk.

27 February 2012
Next week Peter will lead his circuit of Bernia.   Meet at the car park at 10am

Sunday, 19 February 2012

19 Feb 2012 – Lliber to Senija

 David and Rosemary had done this new walk with the CBMW a few weeks ago, and wanted to see if they could extend it to make it suitable for a future Monday Club walk.

The walk followed an off road track between Lliber and Senija.  It was well sign posted with the new orange triangle signs which have appeared recently in the Jalon valley.  They provide pleasant walks between the villages.
We were fortunate with the weather, which was ideal for walking.   Warm and sunny, with a cool breeze.

We were able to extend the walk to a total of four and a half hours, just about long enough for a Monday walk.   We enjoyed it, and would like to do it again.  But I am not sure whether it would be challenging enough for the Monday Club.

20 February 2012.

Over the past few days the weather forecast for Monday has been pretty grim.   But it has started to improve, and is currently showing clear weather in the morning and light rain at 4pm.  

We will decide tomorrow morning whether to do Carrascal Ridge or the alternative Pedreguer walk.   If it is clear at 8am we will do the ridge.  If not we will ring David and Barry to start the call around.  

We use this website for the weather forecast

If you want to check you can ring us between 0800 and 0830 tomorrow.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

13 Feb 2012 – Gata to Soldates

Having missed last week’s walk due to Jan being ill, we were delighted to be able to join this week’s walk from Gata to Soldates.   It’s almost two years since we last did this walk, and we were really looking forward to doing it again
We met in the centre of Gata and walked along the very impressive promenade along the side of the river.
Despite the sun, it was again a very cold morning, particularly when shaded from the warm sun.   But no sign of rain or grey skies, and we were soon warming up as the walk got going.
The first part of the walk is on good paths and very level.  Lots of time to chat and catch up on everyone’s news.
And then we reach Soldates.   It’s a very steep climb to the top, though the track is quite good.   One of those walks where everyone goes at their own pace, and meet at the top.
The climb does not seem to have bothered Jackie or Rosemary too much
It’s often too hot to stop at the top for too long, but that was not a problem.   It was not as windy as expected, so quite pleasant to recover in the sun before we set off again.
Wendy with her famous red hot – of which enough said!
Then it was off downhill on the way to our lunch stop
Again we found a little sun trap for lunch.   We always stop here, and there is both shade on hot days and shelter from the wind on cooler ones.
Jan gets lunch organised.
Pauline lives on the outskirts of Gata.  She used to be a regular walker with the group, but has not done so for some time.  We were delighted to find her at home, and we stopped for a chat.   Lovely to see her looking so well and enjoying life.

20 February 2012
Next week we will attempt to walk Carrascal.  Our previous three attempts have all been cancelled due to rain, so we are keeping our fingers crossed that it will be ok next week.
We will meet at the Piscina in Parcent at 0930.   The earlier start is to allow us to take cars up to the Col de Rates to save us walking back down to the Piscina at the end of the walk.
We need a clear, and preferably sunny, day for this walk.   If the weather lets us down again  we will do a shorter walk from Pedreguer instead.   I will ring on Monday morning before 0830 is the walk is cancelled