Tuesday 15th May 2012
The Archduke’s Trail.
In 1867 the Austrian Archduke Ludwig Salvator visited Mallorca and loved it that much that he stayed. He built several large mansions such as Son Marriog and Son Moragues, but he also liked to get out into the mountains. However, he did not struggle up them on foot like I have to. He rode his white stallion. To make life easier he constructed a bridleway along the edge of the cliffs with spectacular views down to Valdemossa and Deia. This is the Archduke’s Trail, the Cami de s’Arxiduc.
We parked the car in Valdemossa and walked up a couple of quiet roads to reach a gated dirt track. A few moments later we turned left onto a broad track that climbed steadily through the woods. After half an hours climbing we reached a flat area, the Pla d’es Pouet. Here in a shady area is the old well, Es Pouet. It makes an excellent place to pause for a rest but the water is not drinkable.
We now had a choice of routes. It is possible to vary the walk to between 10 and 16 kilometres but we wanted to do something a bit different from our last visit in 2010. Also we wanted to visit the Cova de s’Emita Guiem, which some of our group had not seen before.
We therefore ignored the left turn at Es Pouet and took the path leading to the Coll de Son Gallard. A branch path near the top of the climb led us to the cave. Inside there was a shine and many books. There is some cooking equipment and a rudimentary bed. A ‘Heath Robinson’ system of plastic pipes collect rain water that filters through the rocks. We signed the visitors book and were just leaving as another group arrived. Greg, who with his long hair and straggly beard looked a bit like a hermit went back inside to lie on the bed. I told the newcomers that they could go inside and that the hermit was at home. As they entered into the darkness Greg sat up and said “Hello”. All I heard were screams and a white faced lady dashed outside. I could not understand what they were saying. Perhaps it’s just as well.
We were soon back on the main part of the Archduke’s Trail. It is quite spectacular but you do need to keep your wits about you as sometimes you are very close to the edge of a 500 metre drop
This walk is deservedly rated as one of the best on the island. We savoured every moment of the next kilometre, taking in the marvellous views. We turned inland still following the Cami de s’Arxiduc to reach the small summit of Es Caragoli ( 946 metres ) where we stopped for lunch. Visibility was perfect and we could see all along the coast to the Torre Picada at Porto Soller.
Back on the track we reached a small group of trees. A new signpost indicated a choice of routes. Route 3 was the return via the Cami de ses Fontanelles which we had taken on our last visit. We ignored this to carry on past the Puig Gros to pick up the path to the Font des polls and the picnic area. The wide track seemed never ending but led us back down the Cairats valley to Valdemossa.
Half way down we saw a path off to our left signposted – Cami de sa Coma des Cairats. Apparently it is a tough route but leads to Teix. A possibility for next year.
Back in Valdemossa we enjoyed a pint before our drive back to Porto Soller. it had been another memorable day.
That evening I once again ate at Las Palmeras. I am now into Mallorcan cuisine. What better than roast suckling pig and a bottle of vino tinto. I have to keep my strength up. We have another big day tomorrow.
For more images from the Archduke’s Trail go to Archives , May 2010 > The Archduke’s Trail.