Time for a dip

Down the beach this morning the air temperature was 1 degree C. The water temperature was 5 degree C.

But for some people it was time for a paddle.

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Actually it was a couple of the lifeguards out on a training exercise.

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I continued my walk along the beach and although I was looking into the sun I thought I saw a monster ! On closer investigation I realised it was just two pieces of driftwood.

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My imagination had run away with me. Was it the effect of too much red wine last night.

I glanced to my right and I am sure I saw the Iron Man nod and whisper Yes.

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Today down the beach.

Whilst most of the country is covered in snow, here on Merseyside it is a beautiful morning. Clear blue sky and bright sunshine, but bitterly cold.

Time to put my boots on and go for a walk. Due to the lockdown restrictions I was not able to travel far so I opted for a short walk along the coast. There was plenty to see

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I liked the contrast between the red berries and the lichen.

Along the shore all was calm, the only sound was the gentle lapping of the waves.

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Back by the coastguard station the tide was in but a seagull found that one of the Iron Men made a wonderful perch.

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Only four miles but so good to be out.

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Round the Embalse de Guadalest.

Our walk today was round the reservoir at Guadalest. The village of Guadalest was built by the Moors in the 13th century  and has many attractive features,

18a Guadalest18b Guadalest

From the remains of the fort there were good views of the bell tower and the surrounding mountains. We could look down on the reservoir round which we were due to walk later in the day.

19a Guadalest

The Guadalest Valley was one of the last strongholds of the Moors who had lived there from c. 600 – 1600. As they were cleared it left a population vacuum and many people moved here from Mallorca. These people were given large tracts of land but with a stipulation that they had to breed pigs, thus ensuring that non of them still belonged to the Muslim Faith. To this day the area is one of the biggest pork eating regions in Spain.

19b Guadalest

 

After coffee in a local bar we drove out through Benimantell to the village of Beniarda where we began our walk. We walked through the village and went steeply downhill before turning right through at a gatepost bearing a red dot. The path led along the southern edge of the reservoir to towards the dam. As we crossed over the dam we could see straight ahead the Sierra de Aixorta with the summit at 1218m. To, our right was the deep gorge carved out by the Guadalest River and to our left lay the Sierra de Serrella.

We stopped for our picnic on a small headland from where we could see three castles. The Serrella Castle at the end of the Aixorta Ridge and the Benimantell Castle perched on top of a rocky outcrop and the castle at Guadalest.

20b Guadalest

20a Guadalest

As we continued we could look across to the Sierra de Aitana with the radar installation at the summit. This was built by the Americans during ther war and later used by the Spanish for their 9 months compulsory National Service. It now forms part of the Spanish air traffic control system.

After lunch we continued along a good track towards our starting point at Beniarda.

21b Guadalest

21 a Guadalest

Nearly all the villages in the area have names beginning with ‘Beni’ which is derived from the Arabic “Son of”

The weather had been brilliant, sunny with clear blue skies. Temperatures reached 26 C in the afternoon.

11th November 2002.

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A climb to the watch tower.

December 9th 2006.

Today we were walking in the Font Rioja National Park where the plan was to climb up to a fire watch tower high on the ridge of the Sierra Serrella. There were just three of us today, Vanessa who was leading, Tim and myself.

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The start of the walk was easy as we strolled along a concrete track passing a water depository and continued through mixed woodland. As we gained height we entered an area of evergreen trees, Pine and Holm Oak. Soon we could see the fire watch tower perched on the top of the ridge.

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832 The watch tower

There were panoramic views in all directions.

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After a short break we followed the ridge with the cliffs to our right, pausing frequently to take in the view.

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We now had a gradual but sometimes tricky descent back to the track that we walked up earlier in the day.I thought our walk was nearly over but Vanessa has a surprise in store for us. We had another steep climb to the top of a ridge where we could see Africa !

Not really, just a large hole in the rock that resembled the shape of Africa,

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We were in a sheltered position and so we paused here for lunch sitting in the sunshine and gazing down on Guadalest.

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Another interesting days walking. It is hard to believe that we are just a few kilometres inland from Benidorm.

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Dramatic lighting

It has finally stopped raining and I have been for a short walk down the beach.

There was some dramatic lighting and I managed to capture this image of one of the Iron Men with a rainbow behind him.

He didn’t seem to care. I don’t think he even noticed.

Dramatic lighting

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Sanchet. Polop to Finestrat.

I awoke to clear skies and I was picked up by Neil and Vanessa at 9.00am. Our plan was to do a linear walk from Sanchet to Finnestrat. approx. 16km.

Vanessa drove out along the CV 70 towards Polop before turning left onto a bumpy road heading up into the mountains. Where the road ended we got out and Vanessa drove back to Benidorm. She would pick us up later in Finestrat. There were just four of us on the walk which was led by Neil.

01 Sanchet

We headed up towards a house and a dovecote with the impressive cliffs of Sanchet providing a backdrop. It was a long steady climb but the view looking back made it all worthwhile.

02 Looking back

We followed a narrow path at the base of the cliffs admiring the different colours in the rock.

03. The cliffs of Sanchet04 Walking below the cliffs

There was impressive mountain scenery all around.

05 Es Castellets

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We stopped for lunch at Casita  Sacarets and then continued along a narrow path with a drop to one side. At one point I looked down and nearly  lost it. I froze. Neil had to come back and rescue me.

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Eventually we reached the Shepherd’s Cave and having climbed up to it we headed for the pass leading to the Collado de Pouet and a flat rock where several paths intersect. Another chance to pause and take in the view.

08. Pausing to admire the view

09 The view towards Calpe

Our track continued uphill and then contoured round the eastern flank of Puig Campana and on to Finestrat. It had been a long day and the light was beginning to fade. Neil tried to tell me that it was only 10 km but I think he meant miles !.

10 Fading light

We enjoyed a coffee in Finestrat while we waited for Vanessa and our transport back to Benidorm .

Back in Benidorm there was a glorious sunset. Time to sit and stare and of course take a few photos.

11. Benidorm Sunset

A long soak in the bath took me up to dinner time where I enjoyed a nice meal and a bottle of Rioja. Purely for medicinal purposes.

There were only another couple of English people in the hotel, all the other guests were Spanish Old Age pensioners. There seemed to be a social event lined up for the evening so I stayed in watching them dancing and getting over excited over a game of Bingo.

It had been a marvellous day but I am so tired.

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A stroll on the Sierra Helada.

We are back in lockdown and unable to travel even short distances to do a walk. I am keeping myself occupied by reviewing some of my earlier walks.

It was way back in December 2006 when I set off for Benidorm for a short walking holiday. I arrived at my hotel late in the evening with just enough time to grab a bite to eat and to unpack before bed. I needed an early night as I was booked on a walk the next morning.

I awoke early to the sound of rain battering on the window and the wind howling. Just as I was about to go down to breakfast the phone rang. It was Vanessa who was due to lead the walk. She has obtained a local weather forecast for the area in which we were due to walk and decided it was too dangerous for us to walk high in the mountains. What would I do all day?

I had a leisurely breakfast by which time it had stopped raining but it was still very windy. My hotel was situated in the old town so I decided to have a stroll along the Playa Levante. No need to put my boots on.

I decided to walk to La Torre, an old watchtower. My guidebook said it was only  3km and graded easy.

644 La Torre

I passed through the gap in the railings at the end of Playa Levante and headed down to  the small cove below. I followed the path round to the headland above the next cove, the Cala Ti Ximo. From here the way was straightforward walking along the asphalt road to the next headland before continuing along a footpath to the Punta da la Escaleta. I now had to climb up to cross another asphalt road and follow it to the ruins of La Torre, the old 17th century watchtower. The scenery was very impressive with marvellous views along the sheer cliffs of the Sierra Helada.

642. Sheer cliffs of the Sierra Helada643 La Torre

I returned along the road but as I reached Cala Ti Ximo the sun came out. I decided to extend my walk and walk up to the large cross on the top of the next summit. I followed the road leading up to the radio antennas. Just a few metres away was the large cross from where there were good views looking down on Benidorm Bay.

649 Benidorm Bay

655 La Cruz

The weather was now fine so I decided to continue along the footpath along the ridge of the Sierra Helada. The route way waymarked with splashes of red paint on the rocks and was fairly clear. I descended to the head of a barranco before climbing steeply to the top of the first cliff and a small cairn known as El Mendivil at 338m.

It was a marvellous viewpoint from where I could look inland to the mountains, Puig Campana, Pinoch and the Sierra de Bernia. The areas where I hoped to be walking in the next few days.

653 Looking Inland

651 Looking  inland

The path continues along the ridge to Albir but it is not an easy route. There are lots of ups and downs as you cross several barranco and at times the path is very close to the edge of the cliffs with a danger of vertigo. It was not for me today as I was only wearing trainers and it was still very windy.

659 The Sierra Helada

I retraced my steps pausing often to take photos using the cairns to add foreground interest.

664 El Mendivil

665 View from El Mendivil

666 View from El Mendivil

655 La Cruz

657 Looking down on Benidorm

It had been an interesting morning and a good start to my holiday.

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The resurfaced Dibb Lane.

Dibb Lane is a popular footpath linking Hall Road in Blundellsands with the village of Little Crosby. It is well used by both walkers and riders on horseback from the stables in Little Crosby.

A few months ago the local council decided to tarmac the surface to make it more cycle friendly. Despite some local opposition the plan went ahead. What would the results be like ?

Yesterday as part of my daily exercise I decided to walk the route.

Dibb Lane

The surface has a ‘bit of give’ in it and made for pleasant walking. At least you could walk without getting your boots muddy. There was plenty of evidence that horses still used the path so you had to be careful where you trod.

In the coming months the verges will no doubt become grassed over and the fields will dry out. It made for a nice two mile stroll. Just the thing on a crisp cold morning.

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More memories of the Lake District.

I am keeping myself occupied during Lockdown Number 3 by looking back over some of my old photos.

04 Looking down on Buttermere

Looking down on Buttermere was taken in 1987. I had walked along the shore of Buttermere and then climbed Haystacks before continuing onto Fleetwith Pike. The dog looks as exhausted as I felt.

05 At the summit of Helm Crag

The summit of Helm Crag was taken in March 1988. The classic walk along Far Easedale then up onto the ridge walking over Calf Crag, Gibson Knott and Helm Crag.

I must have been a lot fitter in those days.

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Looking back over Catbells.

Looking back over Catbells

I have been looking back through some of my old photos.

This was was taken in the Spring of 1986 on one of my early visits to the Lake District. I had just climbed my first Wainwright and similar to many other people it was Catbells.

I have returned many times and have now climbed 109 of the ‘Wainwrights. I am just over half way, only another 105 to go. I must get a move on, at this rate I have calculated that I will be 110 by the time I complete them all.

I can but dream. We have all got to think positive and look to the future.

Happy New Year everyone form Crosbyman

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