Wednesday, 27 March 2013

25 Mar 2013 - Cocoll

This is a walk that Jan and I have long wanted to do.   We can see Cocoll and its tower from our house, and have suggested that we do it as a group.   The usual route is from kilometer seven, and its on a concrete road all the way.  So there was not much support for it.   Today we started from Benichembla.   Its a shame that Jan had to miss it due to her wrist, which is still not fully healed.

Its a long steep climb from the village.   We were fortunate to have clear blue skies, but once more the wind was quite cold.  

Pat didn't have any problem with the climb, and was obviously making the best of being able to walk in such lovely surroundings on such a nice day.

It was not long before we could see Cocoll, with its distinct tower, above us.   We would continue to catch sight of it throughout the walk.

it was not too long before we started to warm up, particularly when sheltered from the cold wind, and top layers were soon being removed.

There were only seven of us this week, including Sylvia and Ken (who had to miss last week).

After an hour or so the steep climb was starting to have its effect on most of us, and a banana stop was very welcome.  Only a short one mind, the wind was still pretty cold.

Eventually we reached the rather basic landing strip.   There was some discussion about what it was used for, finally settling on fire fighting and crop spraying.   There is a large building which we were told is for the pilots and service crew.   No sight of either as we crossed the strip.

Then it was uphill again towards the watch tower on the top of Cocoll.   Time time on a hard concrete service road from the landing strip.

I have to thank Wendy for this rather impressive view of me standing on the ledge.   It was not nearly as difficult or dangerous as it looks.   On the other hand you wouldn't want to be there on a very windy day.

And the very impressive views made the climb more than worth the effort.  

It was too cold to have lunch up at the tower, but not too cold for a quick group photo.

We decided to return to the shelter of the buildings at the runway for our lunch.   Much easier strolling downhill than struggling up.   On the way we heard a helicopter, which we hoped might be landing on the strip.

We were in luck.  It had indeed landed, and when we got to the strip there were a group of civilians around it.   It then took off and performed a series of low flying and landing which was an extra treat for us as we ate our picnic lunch.

Too cold to sit for long, and we were soon off again.   Peter had promised us a little detour to avoid a having to return on the same path back to the village.

Peter had not done this detour for some time, and gave us a break whilst he set off to confirm the path.   Sylvia wisely took advantage of the opportunity to have a sit.

The detour was a marked path, but obviously not much used.  It proved to be a little overgrown and provided a last challenge before the good path which took us back to the village at the end of our six hour walk.

Monday 1 April 2013

Next week will be Orba Castle, an old favourite.    Meet at the "chicken shacks" in Parcent at 10am.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

18 Mar 2013 – Castell de Castells

Only five of us for this week’s walk.   Seems to be a lot of illness around, or perhaps it was the prospect of doing our annual Carrascal ridge walk.   Because there were so few of us Pat decided to put off Carrascal for another time, and we did the alternative Castells walk instead.
We were fortunate to have a bright and sunny morning.   It is always a few degrees colder at Castells, but it was just right for hill walking today.
It was a 40 minute climb to the first view point.   We had our banana stop overshadowed by Serrella castle, the half way point of today’s walk.   We did not visit the castle itself, but there is still a very steep climb to the foot of the castle hill.
When we reached the castle we were pretty hacked off to find a car parked there.   No sign of the occupants, and Pat suggested that they might he climbers.   We did pass a small group of walkers shortly afterwards, so perhaps it was just lazy walkers.   Having struggled up the hill it gives you a great sense of superiority over someone who has driven up!
After a short break it is off again on the winding scenic road which descends and then climbs again to our lunch spot.
On the way we had views down to the valley below and the village of Castells.  A reminder of how high we had climbed to appreciate the lovely views.
There is another steep climb to reach our picnic site, and after the earlier climb there is not a lot of energy left.   
However it is well worth it to have this sort of view for lunch.   It must be one of the best views of the Guadalest valley, and for me is the highlight of this walk.
The rest of the walk is an easy downhill ramble back to Castells.

Monday 25 March 2013  

Next week is a new walk for the group, from Benichembla to Cocoll.   Meet in the bar car park at 10am.