Wednesday September 15, 2021 – Well, This Is It. Today, we started walking the first stage of 20 over 13 days which will take us round the island – if we survive, of course. It is one year and two days since we started our Camiflage walks, the exercise of trying to recreate in Surrey the walks we couldn’t do in Menorca due to the pandemic.
If, by the way, you can’t bear the idea of reading through the following screed about what we did and saw today, and if you’re prepared to spend 3 minutes watching a video, then the tl;dr can be viewed on Relive. You’ll see the route and some photos, but you’ll get more information by staying with me here.
To sum up: we had to walk 20.37 km between Mahón and Favàritx, over hill and dale with a vertical gain of some 450m – and we had to get to the end by 3.30pm, as this was the time we’d agreed to be picked up by the Cami360 folk to take us to our accommodation for the next stage. The hotel breakfast started at 8am so we took as early a breakfast as we could and then Got on With It.
The start, as I mentioned before, was at the Three Horses statue by the convent, and we’d researched the first few metres of the route, making sure we were aware of signposts and such.
The route took us past a view of the industrial end of Mahón harbour
past caper bushes embedded in stone walls
and out on the road north of the town. The first several kilometres of the route were on paved roads, which was a but dull, but the views were OK. For example, we got a good sight of Mahón from the north side of the harbour
and a look at the back end of Golden Farm.
We wound our way along the road, occasionally spying mysterious things in the distance
before arriving in Sa Mesquida, which is a town with a popular beach, but also some nice residences.
Some convenient benches
gave us a chance to look over the place
and we eventually discovered the mysterious object.
We couldn’t get close to it, but it looks like it was once a watch tower, similar to those found all over the island.
Mesquida has a popular beach,
and also marks the point where the trail leaves paved roads. From this point, the marking is done via posts.
and the surface becomes a lot rougher.
(The posts are very well-placed. Above you can see one in the foreground and if you look carefully, you can see the next one. It actually takes no little skill to get lost because the trail is so well-marked.)
The trail winds up and down
(occasionally very steeply up – see later) and can be very rocky. The purity of the air is attested to by the existence of some very colourful lichen on the rocks.
As I said, the trail is very clearly marked, occasionally passing through traditional-style bentwood gates.
I don’t want to bore you, but actually some of this trail was really quite steep
(20% according to the booklet) and overall the going was somewhat tougher than I’d expected. In theory, we’d covered pretty much exactly this mileage and ascent in one day in Surrey a year ago; but here, on rocks and tree roots, in 30 degree heat, it just seemed rather a lot harder going. So it was with considerable relief that we reached the mid-point of the day’s trekking.
The Cami goes left at this point, but we headed straight on into a town called Es Grau in search of beer and lunch. I’m glad to report that we were successful, and, much refreshed but feeling we had to get on with it to make our 1530 deadline, we headed back to the track to get on with the next bit – officially Stage 2 of the Cami, from Es Grau to Favàritx.
The first part was on a very different surface – almost like a forest trail
leading past a lagoon.
into some weird woodland
and eventually offering a nice view back over Es Grau.
We got our first sight of our finishing point for the day
which was the lighthouse at Favàritx (you can see another watch tower in the foreground). From here, the track wended up over headlands and down into coves and beaches.
through some rather blasted scenery
past some actual cavalls (whose copious product could be found, piled up on the path by some unknown force)
past tantalising glimpses of our lighthouse destination – closer, ever closer –
through more weird woodland
past mysterious government-sponsored things hanging off trees (moth traps?)
to the end (phew!) of today’s part of the trail.
All we had to do was to walk to the lighthouse (which began to seem a long way away at this point, although it was probably only one kilometre on a paved road) but eventually we reached it
and got to our pickup point
with about five minutes to spare before our official pickup time, which is either brilliant planning or a source of considerable relief, depending on your view point. Anyway Juan Gabriel (“Juanga”) from Cami360 turned up bang on time and drove us to our overnight accommodation. En route we asked him whether they were very busy, and he said that they really were: they had to manage 40 groups of people doing the trail in various places. That’s a lot of co-ordination; let’s hope they carry on as well as they’ve started.
Our accommodation was actually back in Mahón – a fairly basic hostel, Hostal La Isla. It describes itself as being “family run”, and the practical upshot is that a single person runs the reception and the bar – he whole place, in fact. It is not at all fancy, but at least it has a lift to get us and our bags to the second floor, even if the timer switch on the corridor gives out before you can get from lift to room, leaving you in utter darkness. Once inside, you discover that the room is almost entirely taken up by bed; but it was at least spotlessly clean and the cramped space was quite well-organised. And since we were fair knackered by this stage it didn’t really matter. To validate our tiredness. let me bore you with some stats.
- Garmin Connect says we walked 15.6 miles, or 25km. OutdoorActive says 14.2 miles, or just under 23km. The Cami 360 book says 20.37km and we did a few detours. Whatever, it was quite long enough, thank you.
- Garmin says we ascended 449 metres, much more than OutdoorActive’s 1000 feet. The official datum is 475 metres. Whatever it was, it felt tough.
We showered and rested a bit and then pottered out for some tapas before an early night, because we have agreed to be on the road again early tomorrow; the Cami 360 guys will take us back to Favàritx so we can carry on our trek round the island. So, please come back to the blog so you can see how we got on. See you then!