Having many times driven along the CV-720 from La Llosa to Castell de Castells, I often wondered what the walking routes along here offered. Today I found out, and was not disappointed.
Not even sure what to call this route, so i'm going for 'La Llacuna' as the signpost suggests. This is the name of the principle summit.
About 4km beyond Benigembla is a large lay-by on the south side of the road, this is immediately after crossing the river. Park here and follow the wide forestry track as it meanders steadily up the hillside. The cliffs high up on the left kept my attention, there's surely many splendid rock climbs to tackle on those fine faces of Limestone, will try to come up with a plan for that!
After about half an hour or so I come across a ruined building (and many Bee hives), I notice a blob of blue/green paint and small cairn heading off left into the scrub. Not sure where it goes, but am tempted to follow it, but not tempted enough. I decide that sticking to the larger track will keep progress quick and there is a storm coming after all!
After much more uphill and increasingly wonderful views over to the Serrella range I reach a high point on the track. Now the dilemma is to carry on or turn back. It looks like to continue may allow for a circular route to be followed, but the map doesn't confirm this. This time i'm tempted enough to give it a go! The wide track circumnavigates the very well tended fields of 'Corral de la Llacuna'. Seemingly miles from anywhere and very peaceful, the fields have bright red/brown/orange soil that has clearly only recently been turned over. The place is immaculate.
Before long the good track ends and a tiny cairn marks the beginning of a narrow path that I hope is leading me back. It's certainly going in the right direction, always a good sign.
Don, who I always have on a lead when in the mountains, has been religiously following the small path (he's brilliant at this, even when the going is rough or terrain vague), but suddenly he is distracted. He's looking left, I look left too. A dozen or so Ibex are watching us. Still and silent, they check us out and seem to quickly conclude we are not worthy of their further attention, so they disappear into the scrubland. This is probably the closest i've ever been to Ibex, they were within 50m of us. Such a wonderful experience.
Don is now on full alert for more interesting discoveries, so is somewhat less focused on sticking to the path!
Just as I had hoped, this small path did in fact lead back to the ruined building, making the circuit complete. Very pleased about that :-)
We find a nice spot for lunch before the final downhill back to the roadside. The Gota Fria has now arrived!
Views today included: Aixorta; Mallarda de Llop; Aitana; all of the Serrella range; Caval Verd; and more. We were walking for a little under 3 hours, although i'd suggest allowing 4 hours to fully appreciate the surroundings.
This is one of many wonderful hikes in the region. If you'd like to know more, or would like to hire a guide for the day, please get in touch anytime.
Thanks for reading