A group of us who met through the Ramblers Association nearly fifteen years ago and united by Munro bagging usually go away for a week?s walking in May. In the past we have made numerous trips to the Scottish Highlands and Ireland and last year we visited Wales. This year was our first trip abroad as a group and Spain was selected for the holiday.
As usual, Stephen made an excellent job of researching the best options and arranging the trip. We made the trip in March as it would be cooler for walking. We were to stay in a villa in Abdet, a mountain village inland from Benidorm in the heart of the Costa Blanca Mountains. Gone are our days of bunkhouses and hostels. We enjoy home comforts in our middle age and even the walks are shorter and less strenuous. It was lovely and warm and sunny during the day although the first few nights were a bit chilly. However, we had a hi-tech stove burning wood pellets to keep us cosy. It was very pleasant in the evening to sit around the stove watching the flames while enjoying a small liquid refreshment after a substantial meal and listening to the selection of music recorded on the I Pod and played through speakers.
We walked every day including around the picturesque village of Guadalest, noted as the most visited village in Spain. In our mountain village, we were surrounded by three Moorish Castle ruins on the top of mountains. One at Guadalest, another beyond Confrides at Benifato and the third at Castell de Castells. As we climbed to all three on different days, you could say we did a round of castles. There was some scrambling at Benifato and Castell de Castells and this made it even more impressive that the Moors could have built Castles on the his steep rock at the top of mountains.
I will describe the walk we did on the Serella mountains just to give you a flavour of walking in this area. The tops of the hills were about 4,000 feet but it was possible to drive to quite a high starting point. There were orange, olive and almond groves throughout the area and the last of the Spring flowers were in bloom. Everywhere we walked we were intoxicated with the smell of wild rosemary. The Cherry Trees were in flower adding to the colour. Spring is a lovely time to visit the area as it does get very hot and dry in summer.
The Serella walk was on a wide, winding track starting from the road. It was very easy walking with good views to the surrounding hills and valleys. As we passed over a covered water course, a snake jumped into a pool at the side, probably to escape from us. We had heard about snakes in the area and were keen to photograph it so David obligingly hooked it on to his walking pole and the rest of us bravely stood at a distance to take the photo! We eventually left the winding road and walked up a narrow path to cross a boulder field and then a steeper path to the highest mountain in the Serella range. There was a hut on the top but not open for drinks! We unfurled the Scottish St Andrew?s flag and had a group photo. The views over the valley were superb. The walk continued down and along the ridge to the next mountain in the range but the path was less clear now in the rocks and there looked like a lot of scree runs on the next top so we decided just to relax and descend to a path missing the third top. David sketched while the rest of us sat and enjoyed the warm sunshine and the lovely views. We returned by a circular route to our starting point. A fine day.
Where to next year, Crete, Spain again, Corsica???? They all sound great for walking.
A very big thankyou to Stephen for arranging a perfect holiday with lovely weather.
Coming attractions; Cairngorms; Arran; Glen Dessary.
E mail me at [email protected] with all your hill news and views.
Thanks to Frances Rickus for the photos.