Sue and I don't possess any notable guide books or maps of Mallorca. Despite it being my third visit, I've always wondered whether I'd enjoy repeat visits, and my companions have always been heavily armed with literature. So my own library is unusually bare when it comes to Mallorca.
This time Robert and Lyn have everything you could want to know about cycling on the island, and Sue has borrowed the 'Walk Mallorca (North & Mountains)' Discovery Walking Guide, by Charles Davis. Thanks Nightbird. This week's walks have been based on some in that excellent guide book. We have no walking map.
Today Sue and I were kindly transported by R+L to Kilometre 12 on the scenic road to Cap Formentor on another beautiful warm, sunny morning.
This placed us in a fine location to tackle three of Charles's walks and be home by bus for 4.30.
Walk number 38 was our first target. Setting off at 10am, the easy stroll down to Cala Figuera, on a good track through the pines with tuneful chaffinches, hardly prepared us for what was to come.
The route from the beach up to the 299 metre summit of El Morro de Catalunya was rough and tough. Marked by cairns, it's easy enough to find the way, but very slow going. Not that one would want to hurry, given the fine views that unfold during the ascent through beds of Rosemary and St Johns Wort. Cap Formentor soon comes into sight, then from higher up there are views to the green fields of Casas Velles and, in the distance, the Torre de Albercutx. Today's picture was taken on the summit, looking west.
An hour later we had descended back down past chatty stonechats to the sparkling sea at Cala Figuera, where a few bathers were now installed on the rocky beach. It's a steep haul back up to the road, especially in this heat. We comforted ourselves in the knowledge that the heavily tattooed group of Brits in flipflops that we encountered may have found it tougher than we did.
That got us up to the car park at Kilometre 13 on the PM-221 road, the starting point for walk number 39.
Our 12.45 start took us down a pleasant lane towards Cala Murta. After 15 minutes, spot on 1pm, a picnic table appeared under a canopy of pine trees. Perfect timing for a picnic!
After lunch we headed along rough paths all the way up to Coll de Olivares. Near here the guide book describes having to climb a fence to enter privately owned land (ie trespass), but we were pleased to be able to negotiate the high fence by way of a sturdy new ladder stile. Mallorca has not always welcomed walkers, but I suspect the activity is now recognised as producing good income for the island, whose landowners are gradually becoming more tolerant. I suspect that thanks are due to in part to the numerous German visitors who love to walk on the island, for this gradual improvement.
Anyway, this potentially unwelcome barrier having been surmounted, we strolled on up the rough track to Coll de la Geneta, from where a trail of cairns led us directly over a rough limestone pavement to the spacious 332 metre summit of Na Blanca.
More fine views, especially towards this morning's summit.
On the cairned way up we had passed two Brits, the only two people seen out walking today. They had Charles Davis's guide book in their hands. Maybe the German guide books don't recommend today's routes?
Walk number 37 starts at Playa Formentor and covers the ascent of Na Blanca. Since we were already on that summit, all we had to do was follow walk 37 in reverse. This is pretty simple so long as you follow the basic rule about following cairned routes where there is no path as such. (If you lose the cairns retrace to the last cairn you found and start again.)
Not even a 'lost cairn' incident prevented us from achieving the descent to the bus stop in around an hour, though a 'low branch' incident did cause Sue to falter for a while, muttering "Why didn't you tell me about the low branch?" Simple - I didn't notice it!
A word of warning to potential passengers - the 15.45 bus back to Puerto Pollença left Formentor rather early!
We had been on our feet in the heat for nearly 6 hours, ascending around 700 metres in total, covering only about 13km despite 'ticking off' three walks in Charles's book.
R+L have now arrived back from a 47 mile peramble on their bikes, including a couple of hours in Manacor looking for lunch.
'Paella' is calling from our local restaurant...
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