Sunday, 31 January 2016

28 January 2016 – Combre del Sol to Granadella

After a few days of grey skies and low cloud we were delighted to find sunshine and blue skies for today’s walk.   The start of the walk at the Hipicia can be difficult to find, so we met at Masymas in Benitachell.
The walk starts with a gentle walk along a very good dirt track towards the coast.   Apart for a couple of dogs (wearing collars) who wanted to join us, there was no one else in sight.
We soon reached the first challenge, which is the headland overlooking the fort.   Here there is no path, and we had to scramble over an assortment of large sharp rocks.   David, who led the walk, knows the area well.  But even he had to retrace his steps once.
The coastal view at the end of the scramble makes it all worthwhile.   There is still a steep path down to the fort, but the worse is over (at least for the present).
The fort is one of a series along this part of the coast.  They were built in the 18th century to deter Moorish pirates.   This one was destroyed by the British during the Napoleonic Wars (early 19th century).   It does not say whether it was held by the Spanish at the time, or by the French.   The former were both allies and enemies at different times.  The latter were enemies throughout.
This is a very suitable place to have a short break, enjoy a banana and a cold drink.   It is a very popular spot and we had to share it with other walkers.  But there is sufficient space for us to find a suitable collection of rocks to sit and enjoy the views.
The next section is the coastal path to Granadella beach.   The path is broken and indistinct, and quite difficult in a few places.   But it does offer excellent coastal views, providing you stop to look.   Whilst walking care must be taken and looking around is not advised.   
We soon reached the next challenge, which is a short descent using a well-placed chain.   It is not difficult, providing you have confidence in the chain.   But it is unusual enough to make the walk interesting.
A little further on the path is badly eroded, and a permanent chain is in place to help cross.   It is wise to make full use of the chain, though Rod did not feel he needed to do so.   A few weeks ago a lady fell during a walk along this section of the coast, and had to be lifted and flown to hospital by helicopter.   
The final part of this section of the walk is a steep climb to the mirador overlooking Granadella beach.   Fortunately the path is reinforced and has a sturdy hand rail.   But it is still a steep climb to the top.
Again the view makes the climb well worthwhile.   This is also a very popular spot, as it is possible to climb here directly from Granadella beach, although it does involve a steep climb on a mostly concrete road.   It can be exhausting on a warm day.
We reached the beach at 1pm, which is our preferred time for lunch.   David put it down to excellent timing on the part of the leader.  I suspect it was more due to luck.   Whichever was the case it was good to stop and have a well-deserved picnic
We did however have to share our lunch with these two.  They are obviously used to humans providing their lunch, because they were very vocal if we did not feed them quickly enough.
The return journey involved a long uphill walk, which left everyone in need of a long cold drink.
In future I hope to include statistics of each walk.
David will provide distance and elevation
Dee will provide calories and difficulty
Difficulty will be expressed as measures of Gin and Tonic from one to four

Time – 5 hours
Distance – 9 ½ km
Elevation – 378 metre
Calories – 465
Difficulty – 3 G&T

4 February 2016
Next week will be a five hour Jalon Valley Almond Walk.   Meet at the Tramonti in Parcent at 10am.