Tag Archives: Covid

Cami-flage 2: Here’s the Walk(er) plan

My previous post outlined the background and general approach to the next couple of weeks, so I thought I’d provide a bit of plan detail for the record before we start trying for a succession of walks that take the place of the Cami de Cavalls on Menorca.

A disclaimer: this is a plan, OK? If the weather takes a turn for the worse, or some domestic admin gets in the way, we are going to be flexible. But the idea is to walk around 115 miles starting this Friday, September 11th.

The vast majority of these walks come from a great website called Fancy-Free Walks. So, if you fancy free walks, we can recommend this as a great place to look for them.

Our 13 planned walks are as follows:

Day number Description Length Cami Length Hostelry
01 Puttenham and Waverley 12.45 12.66 The Barley Mow
02 Friday Street, Leith & Holmbury Hills 9.34 8.47 The Royal Oak
03 Staple Hill & Chobham Common 5.85 5.94 The Red Lion
04 Holmbury & Pitch Hills 6.88 6.77 None available 🙁
05 Virginia Water Lake 5.58 5.36 Cafe in the Park
06 Windsor Great Park 9.42 9.11 Bluebells
07 Box Hill 11.13 11.74 The King William IV
08 Fishpool, McLaren, Horsell Common 9.12 8.11 Heather Farm Cafe
09 St. Martha’s, Tillingbourne 10.14 9.32 The Percy Arms
10 Ockham, Wisley 7.12 7.18 Ockham Bites
11 Leith Hill 10.41 10.79 The Plough
12 Haslemere, Hindhead 10.14 8.53 Devil’s Punchbowl Pub
13 Denbies Hillside 9.12 10.99 Denbies Wine Estate
TOTAL 116.7 115 2,678m

Had we been in Menorca, we would have sought out somewhere decent for a rest and some lunch, and so I’ve noted some inviting-looking places for us to stop during our re-creation. While it would be nice to stop in for a full lunch at each hostelry, we’ve begun to think that the consequences on our waistlines would be too much. However, where possible we’ll look in for a beer and a packet of crisps or some such. As you can see, there are a couple of excursions where there’s no obvious hostelry, so either we’ll take a picnic or we’ll soldier on without much of a break and have a glass of something cold when we get home.

While it’s a shame that we’re not in The Foreign doing the lunatic things that one does when abroad (lunch every day, walk immense distances, that kind of thing) one has to admit that there are compensations for having to remain in the UK. We know the bed will be comfortable; we know the shower will be luxurious; we know that there will be The Right Sort Of Tea (and milk); we will have unfettered access to appropriate clothing for the day (including clean underwear); and we can say “sod it, we’re not going” if it rains. But our earnest hope is that we can do the walks above in the order above in succession. I will report on each walk (including, inter alia, the photo of the Xoriguer gin bottle) on subsequent blog posts, so keep your eyes peeled for each enthralling instalment!

Cami-flage: what we didn’t do on our holiday

For us, as for so many people, the novel coronavirus has ravaged our holiday plans. The various excursions my wife and I had planned for 2020 have been put back to 2021 (or possibly later – who knows?) and lockdown meant we had resigned ourselves to a year at home. We’re lucky – we don’t feel this is much of a burden.

But then the government eased lockdown to the point where travel to selected foreign countries was not only permitted but even encouraged as a way of getting the battered travel industry back on the road to recovery. With pleasant memories of Menorca from our recent Spanish sojourn, and Spain being on the “approved” list, we hatched a plan to return to walk the Cami de Cavalls, a 185km hike round the coast of the island over the course of several days. This, we reasoned, would give us a chance for some exercise while keeping us away from crowds and minimising any Covid-type risk.

This plan lasted about a week.

Gradually, virus infections started rising around the world, and first mainland Spain and then the whole country including its islands lost its approved status. We held out as long as we could, but the Foreign Office guidance still says avoid any but essential travel, so this excursion joined the others in the “pending” file.

However, nil desperandum, as an office colleague of mine used to say when events and idiocy conspired to shatter expertly-constructed plans; we decided to stage a UK-based version of the endeavour. The version of the Cami we had planned took 13 days (as you can see, there are levels for hardier, and even, some might say, mentally suspect, folk), so we decided we would do 13 walks around our neck of the woods in Surrey, recording and photographing them as we went, and including a photo of the distinctive bottle of the Menorcan gin, Xoriguer.

So, here’s the plan: to recreate the 13-stage walk

(Image courtesy of Cami-360)

The 13 stages are as follows:

Day number Description Length(km) Length(miles) Elevation gain(m)
01 MAÓ – FAVÀRITX 20.37 12.66 403
02 FAVÀRITX – ARENAL D’EN CASTELL 13.63 8.47 227
03 ARENAL D’EN CASTELL – SES SALINES 9.56 5.94 109
04 SES SALINES – BINIMEL·LÀ 10.90 6.77 160
05 BINIMEL·LÀ – ES ALOCS 8.63 5.36 323
06 ES ALOCS – CALA MORELL 14.66 9.11 278
07 CALA MORELL – CIUTADELLA 18.90 11.74 304
08 CIUTADELLA – CAP D’ARTRUTX 13.05 8.11 25
09 CAP D’ARTRUTX – CALA GALDANA 17.37 10.79 161
10 CALA GALDANA – SANT TOMÀS 11.56 7.18 239
11 SANT TOMÀS – CALA EN PORTER 15.00 9.32 198
12 CALA EN PORTER – BINIBÈQUER 13.73 8.53 141
13 BINIBÈQUER – MAÓ 17.69 10.99 112
TOTAL MAÓ – MAÓ 185km 115miles 2,678m

So the Menorca hike averages just over eight and three quarters miles each day and climbs around 640 feet, which makes the pomada at the end of each day very rewarding.

Some rules of engagement:

  1. We’ll measure our distances using Endomondo on a mobile phone. This tends to be optimistic in its distance evaluation (particularly compared with, say, ViewRanger), but, hey, I’m not complaining.
  2. It won’t be possible to match distance and height, but we’ll do our best.
  3. We’ll plan to include a hostelry on each walk if we can. In desperation, I suppose we’ll have to take a picnic.
  4. We will do the walks in as close to a two-week window as we can, but if it’s raining, I’m sorry, all bets are off for that day. This is a holiday we’re supposed to be recreating, here.

I’m pleased to report that the endeavour was successful and very enjoyable. To see the details of the plan and the actual walks, take a look at the blog section devoted to this.