On a couple of our day trips out, usually heading for dragonfly sites, we have driven higher up the nearby Vall d’Ebo. As one drives the road, high up on the righthand side can be seen a moiuntain peak capped with an arch forming a hole in the rock. This hole is La Foradà. Today we joined the Costa Blanca Mountain Walkers to walk up to La Foradà beginning and ending from the adjacent valley, the Vall de Gallinera, which is apparently a corruption of a phrase meaning “valley of the large hole”. To save me repeating someone else’s words, here’s a photo of the explanatory board for the walking route.
The route begins on a concreted road surface, which is never very enjoyable, but soon turned into Spain’s more usual rocky mountain pathway. The going was a little steep in places but our trusty walking poles helped us up and we were eventually on the ridge looking at La Foradà itself. Scale gets a bit difficult in such grandiose vistas so there’s a closer shot of the hole, which was our lunch stop, with a few of our walking companions for reference.
Our leader liked to use the Viewranger mobile phone app to follow his route. As is often the case with technological aids, such things can tend to make one turn ones brain off. We see this most frequently with car satnavs. It also appears to be the case with walking satnavs. The path was, to be fair, awkward to follow in places with a few optional “burnt” rocks over which to walk and on our return route along the high ridge we ended up somewhat off-piste, despite protestations about being “bang on course” “according to the GPS” which can, of course, really mean that you are within about 10-20m of the intended track. Viewranger bleats if you get too far off course but we were not, apparently, too far off; we had just ended up in the rough, prickly stuff beside the fairway. A scout went a little higher up and soon found the actual track. Undaunted, we fought our way back to it.
Constantly nattering instead of watching doesn’t help with navigational accuracy, either, and, still bleat free, our fearless leader shot confidently straight past the descent path. Before anyone had gone too far, though, a hawk-eyed person further back down our caravan spotted the posts marking the path and yelled for a course correction. Here’s a view back along the Vall de Gallinera itself.
Nothing terribly untoward happened and we were not about to get irretrievably lost in the Spanish mountains but the beer at the end began looming large in my imagination and eventually went down very well. We must try to stop people ordering blasted coffee, though – making coffee takes far too long when 20 others are lined up trying to get their hands on a cold, frothy one with but one over-worked barkeep. One of our more canny leaders said he is not beyond falsely claiming that, “unfortunately the barista machine is out of order”.