Costa Blanca Mountain Adventures
Some years ago I recall having a whinge to a friend about the lack of reliable information about all the fun activities throughout the Costa Blanca. His answer was straight to the point. 'Why don't you write a guidebook?' Well Mike Leese, I have, it's here and you're in it.
I spent hours putting together a proposal to send in to Cicerone publishers and even though I felt it a good proposal, was sure it would be rejected. Joe from Cicerone met me for coffee at Esquires cafe in Ambleside and I poured out the mass of ideas in my head. Joe picked up on my enthusiasm and was keen to make the project happen. A few weeks later we had a deal for a 45,000 word multi-activity guidebook spanning the region. Phew!
My photography was going to need to improve. Step one was to get a better camera. Step two was learn how to use it. The camera went everywhere with me and amongst all the poor photos, I was getting more and more decent results. I also really enjoyed taking photos and seeing the results.
For the following years, winters in Spain were spent either researching or guiding. I was a busy boy, but all of it was fun. Often I could combine guiding work with a research day. This was always a good excuse to be staying in Spain longer and longer. Sadly nowadays we're restricted to 90 days of winter in the EU, but hey, that's not so bad right.
There would be notes everywhere, usually just on scraps of paper and often in a mess. Then I learnt about Apple 'Notes' and this started to save me a lot of time and effort. Modern tech is sometimes a wonderful thing and for me, 'Notes' is the pinnacle. I'm easy pleased 🙂
So the outline plan was to include 60 activities split into the following categories:
The hard part was deciding what to leave out. There is just so much to do, so many wonderful ridge lines, mega trad routes, amazing sport crags, and perfect running trails. So a few great routes didn't make the cut this time and that's just fine by me as it provides scope for updates. What we're left with is a medley of mountain fun of the highest calibre.
All the notes started to come together, a coherence was forming and it felt like the beginnings of a book was now there. When I finally submitted the text to Cicerone I felt a sense of relief but this was mixed with trepidation as I knew there were many errors. When the first draft was returned to me I couldn't quite believe just how many errors there were, it was like being back at school and having my homework handed back. So many words written in red and so much crossed out. As I read through the notes it all made sense and the improvements were already dramatic. It turned out this was just a preliminary read through, a far more thorough edit was still to come.
Step in Felicity. Wow, every word had to be justified, needed to be useful, clear, understandable, and the best fit. If it wasn't it was toast. I liked what Felicity was doing, even though at times it felt tedious. Her meticulous attention to detail further enhanced the text and made it more concise. Every little detail checked again and again by both of us, Felicity had me questioning everything and I couldn't have asked for more. Thank you Felicity 🙂
Next the final proof arrived. I had to check all was well. Even at this late stage, this felt like a big responsibility as missing detail now may mean errors in the final cut. A few minor adjustments and corrections and all was well. No doubt something will have slipped through the net, but I promise we've done our best.
Then it's the long wait whilst the printers do their thing. Covid and political turmoil haven't helped. But eventually the printed material is here. How does it look? Absolutely fantastic, although I might be just a little bit biased 😉
Want to buy a copy?
If planning a visit to the Costa Blanca, or thinking about having a multi-activity holiday in Europe and not sure where to go. This is well worth the £17.95 cover price.
Where to purchase Costa Blanca Mountain Adventures
Best way is to contact me directly - I can get a copy to you straight away
Or visit the Cicerone website
And many literary retailers hold stock.
To the many friends who have accompanied me on research days and to Cicerone publishers. A big thank you.
And to those who have made it this far down the text, thanks for reading 🙂