Mountain Journeys

The mountains of Costa Blanca walk of the week: Mallada del Llop

It is great to be back in the Costa Blanca mountains once again, feeling the warm sun on my back and blue skies overhead. This part of Spain – the north of Costa Blanca is still fairly green - there’s not been much rain here this summer but enough to keep away the dried, parched out look that you see further to the south.  This mountain area is only about half an hour inland from the busy coastal resorts of Javea and Denia but they might as well be a million miles away.  It becomes quieter and quieter the further into the mountains you drive and on many walks, you’ll hardly see a sole all day long. I love the beauty and wildness these mountains offer that enthuse you to get out and explore them!

The list of walks to do here is endless with ones to suit everyone - high mountain walks with rocky ridges that require some scrambling; walks on good paths that traverse or meander around the mountain; walks up to hill tops with Moorish castles; walks down into valleys following ancient Mozarabic steps or walks through valleys with ancient terraces full of almond, olive, lemon and orange trees.

To give you a good insight into these fabulous mountains and to tempt you a little I shall write about a different walk every week over the coming months…

Walking_in_costa_blanca_mountains_Mallada_del_Llop

Walking through terraces of olive and almond trees at the start of the walk up Mallada del Llop.

Walk no. 1 – Mallada del Llop & El Regall

Distance – 10k.  Ascent – 650m.  Time – 4 to 5 hours

Mallada del Llop (1360m) is the eastern peak of the Serra de Serrella and you first see the mountain on your drive there as you near the mountain village of Castell de Castells.  This majestic mountain rises above the village – green terraces and pine trees on the lower slopes, topped by a rocky ridge high above.

costa-blanca-mountain-walk-Mallada-del-Llop

Following the small mountain path across the mountainside with views of El Castellet ahead.

There are several routes up this mountain but this walk starts from the mountain village of Famorca and begins on tracks through terraces of olive and almond trees.  In early spring the whole area becomes a pink patchwork from blossoming almond trees, a beautiful sight to see. 

Soon one turns off onto a delightful mountain path, gently traversing up and across the mountain side until it eventually reaches a col with views across to El Castellet (Serrella Castle) and one looks steeply down into Barranc de la Canal, a wide, deep trench with huge rock walls on either side.  The route from here descends into the barranc and follows a path up the centre of the barranc.  If you look carefully you'll find three old snow pits along the way which were used in the 18th century to provide ice to the coastal towns and villages.  Once at the top of the barranc we reach a col and from here it’s not far to the summit were spectacular views greet you - the huge bulk of Aitana, the beautiful Guadalest valley and lake below and in the distance, the shimmering, blue meditteranean.

                      Looking into the Barranc de la Canal                                          Walking up the Barranc de la Canal
I think the best bit of the walk comes next – a spectacular wild ridge all the way along to El Regall (or the Pico de Serrella).  To the left of the ridge is a vertical drop down huge towering rocks to the Guadalest valley below.  For those who don’t have a head for heights don’t worry, the ridge to your right is gently sloping and so it’s easy to keep away from the edge!
                         Walking along the ridge to El Regall                                                                El Regall summit
El Regall is the final summit of the day and it's good to linger here for a while and take in the ridge you've just walked along and the 360˚ views before the return route to Famorca begins.  It's downhill all the way now. One passes a lone pine tree and near here I once saw a herd of goats grazing, their bells jangling like in an alpine meadow. 

On reaching the col below one takes a right turn following a small path and passing another snow pit.  Just after is the Clot de Noguer followed soon after by the Font de Noguer.  One can now see the village of Famorca far below and soon after passing a walled corral a good path zig-zags its way down the mountainside to the village below and the end of the walk.

Another walk to follow next week, keep posted...

Kate

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Herd of goats just below the summit of El Regall

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