After having given our legs a few days to recover from their first and rather strenuous work out with the Costa Blanca Mountain Walkers, we thought we’d try another jaunt that promised to be a little easier. To their credit, the CBMW group does an excellent job describing the severity of their routes – they are coded rather in the same manner as ski runs – but, with the best will in the world, it’s still darned difficult as an outsider trying to figure out just what you’re letting yourself in for. Basically, you need to try a few grades to pitch your own level. Today we joined them for the Font de Mata walk, described as Moderate. [Reminder: the Col de Rates had been “Moderately Strenuous”.]
This walk started out, rather ominously, at the Benissa cementeri [cemetery]. At least if we didn’t make it, we’d be in the right place. We began by driving to a suitable parking place beneath the A7 autopista, then struck out on foot along a dirt track. Apart from dodging an off-road motorcycle coming in the opposite direction, this was blissfully uneventful. Then we turned right and headed uphill, quite sharply. Clearly the operative word in the CBMW title is “mountain”. They are the Spanish walking equivalent of French cyclists who are not happy unless they are going uphill. A walk clearly must involve ascent.
Half way up our steep slope, we came upon a stretch of concrete. First of all, how did anyone contrive to stop the concrete flowing back downhill and ending up at the bottom? Secondly, who the f**k carried the concrete half way up a mountain in order to lay it at something approaching a 45° angle? I was a little bemused but grateful for the concrete, which had more secure grip than the looser stones we’d been walking on hitherto.
Deviating a little to see the ancient font of the title [Ed: just another pile of old stones], by skirting around the far side of the mountain we eventually arrived at the summit with panoramic views of the A7 autopista. Across the far side of the motorway, we could also see the so-called Giant’s Cave, a landmark that Francine and I had failed to find on a self-(mis)guided walk from Senija some years ago – we’d ended up on an uncomfortable scree slope near the motorway. Whoops!
We’d taken longer than had been anticipated to reach our summit on this day and someone with a clever GPS, including maps of footpaths, decided there was a useful short cut for our return to our cars. This route was un-scouted; decidedly off-piste. However, with just one rather tricky short section of descent involving hands and bums, it was otehrwise a decent route and we got back unscathed.
We’d survived outing #2 with no need for the Benissa cementeri.