Majorca - January 1st-8th 2005

Day 1: Leaving a cold, grey rainy Britain we arrived in glorious sunshine at Palma airport.
We headed off across the island on excellent roads to reach Puerto Pollenca where we were
surprised to find small banks of sand on the harbour road and big pools of water.
The guy we were renting our apartment from told us that over xmas there had been some terrible weather and it had only just improved! 

Day 2: The mountains on the island run in a huge ridge along the north side and Puerto Pollenca is in the northeast corner of the island where relatively small sloping ridges run into the sea.
There is some good walking along these ridges including the well known Cavell Bernat ridge. 

We had a lazy day and drove up to the tourist viewpoint ("Mirador") just outside the town.
Looking east we could see Cap Formentor in the distance (above) and to the west (below) was the Cavell Bernat ridge Afterwards we drove out to the lighthouse/tourist cafe of Cap Formentor. 

Day 3: The weather over the mountains to the west looked pretty murky but we were in bright
sunshine in Puerto Pollenca so we walked from the apartment up the Bocquer valley with the Cavell Bernat ridge on our left.
A very challenging day would be to walk right along to the sea, scramble along the ridge low down to gain its very end and then scramble along the whole length of the ridge westwards.
However in places this may be more of a climb than a scramble so we opted for the normal route which heads off from the valley path at a small wall to gain the ridge well before the sea is reached.
This is still a very good day out! 

Gaining the ridge gets the muscles working after the gentle warm-up of the walk along the valley.
There are huge drops from the ridge over to the north side and we had a grand view of the next village (San Vicente) - we noticed that the sea was quite rough too.
[Later in the week we walked from San Vicente up the hill (Mola) on the seaward
  ridge north of San Vicente to it's highest point - just right of that peak beneath the cloud.] 

There are some interesting scrambles both up and down as you progress along the ridge
and one tricky section which needs care with the route-finding.


Day 4: Up early and our first drive into the mountains. A very cold start and we noticed some frost on the road in places. Our sights were set on Puig Massanella (1367m) which is the second highest peak in Majorca.
[The highest is the nearby Puig Major whose summit is 'out of bounds' because a huge radar
establishment is built on it.. there's also a road leading up to it... ]

From the car we walked up along a forest road to come out near a hill farm where the farmer
charged us 4 Euros each "to maintain the pathways" - at least we knew we were still on route!
Up through thick forest as the path got steeper and steeper and then suddenly we were
out of the tree-line with fabulous views all around. 

Finding patches of snow and ice everywhere we continued up to the summit area which has
three small high points. Superb weather with great views of Puig Major and in all directions. 

On the way down we spotted a pair of raptors lazily circling in a thermal updraft 

We went down by a slightly different route in order to visit the Font S'Avenca.
This is an underground chamber reached by a set of stone steps which take you into complete
darkness about 25m down.
The water trickles down an aven to collect in troughs carved out of the stone floor! 

Day 5: Tired after our ascent of Massanella we decided to drive trough the mountains and do a brief recce of the top and bottom bits of the Pareis Gorge and then drive on to the mountain village of Fornalutx which we'd been told was well worth a visit.

In fact we'd already been to the starting place from the road to the top of the Gorge and been
put off by all the warning signs and "private" &"no entry" signs, (the evening before, after getting down the mountain).   I'd been a bit disappointed by this but we'd thought we'd go down to the seaward end of the gorge at the village of Sa Colabra and have a look.

The road down was good but was a long series of hairpin bends which would've demanded care in the dark. At the end of the road we walked along the promenade and through a tunnel to the beach at the end of a spectacular gorge! 

Intrigued we were so we walked up the gorge to some deep pools where we were able to traverse around the edge on the rock. Clambering over some huge boulders we came to a place where a deep pool had to be crossed by stepping across several small boulders and then doing a standing jump to reach the other side.
I could see that we could get over, but coming back might be a problem!
Deirdre was game to carry on and see how far we could get, so totally unprepared and with limited time (we'd set out quite late) we forged on and were fascinated by the rock architecture! 

We came to a deep pool which by stepping onto submerged boulders we could get across at knee depth, so we removed shoes and trousers and waded across - boy was it ever cold!
We walked easily along further fascinating stretches of gorge with the occasional scramble/climb over huge boulders and then we came upon a more serious pool...
Again we waded it but it was thigh deep and we were in it for much longer so our legs got quite cold!
Walking briskly on we soon warmed up and found we had gone quite a long way. Time was now an issue and we decided we could only go on for another ten minutes before we ought to turn around.
Quite soon we came to a huge wall of big boulders where the only way on was to climb a groove up to a small cave-tunnel. I climbed up and decided I could (probably) reverse the hardest move safely but that it was too risky for both of us. Coming out of the tunnel I spotted a cairn which led to a path around this obstacle so Deirdre came up to join me. 

We carried on for a few minutes but soon came to a long deep pool filling the now narrow gorge for about 30m. Swimming being the only option we decided it was time to retrace our steps!
On our way back we were able to move faster and we were amazed by how far we'd actually
gone up the gorge!

[ NB. This account of a trip up the Pareis Gorge should be read - linked articles too - especially if you are considering this trip.] 


Day 6: Another sunny day but quite cold in the breeze so we had a late start and headed up to the 'mirador' to park and visit the bolted crag at Creveta. We found six other people there, occupying the only three easyish routes (4+), but it wasn't a problem and I was soon climbing up a very steep bit of wall on a rope I knew wasn't really long enough!
After I'd sorted out that little problem Deirdre had a go but decided that Majorca's reputation for
undergraded routes was well deserved! We did the same on a second route but the cold breeze decided us to call it a day.
We drove from the 'mirador' up to a watchtower on the nearby hill which had fabulous views
in all directions - we were able to climb up in it to the very top. 

Day 7: We drove to San Vicente and (with a little bit of difficulty!) found our way out of the village and up onto the hill. Although we had planned to do a scramble the only possible line looked a bit ambitious so in the end we had a good walk up over similar ground to reach the summit of Mola (~540m) with it's fabulous views over San Vicente, the Cavell Bernat ridge and Puerto Pollenca. 

Day 8: After packing up our gear we headed off to the mountain village of Fornalutx en route to the airport. This is a really quaint and charming place with inspiring mountains towering all around it! 

Having had brilliant weather all wek we got to the airport in blazing sunshine for our flight back
only to find out that the weather in England was so bad that our plane couldn't take off from the Leeds-Bradford airport! After an eight hour delay we finally got on the plane only to have to
disembark for an hour or so while they fixed a faulty engine! 

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