Tuesday 23rd October 2018
Most of our walks are mountain or hill walks. They start in the down position, go up and, via multiple downs and ups, finally end with a down.
Unlike the zigzag conundrum (i.e. which is a zig and which a zag?) ups and downs cannot be confused. Gravity will always assist with the definition.
Today’s walk was that rarest of beasts, an upside down walk. It started in a high place, went down and, via a few ups and downs, ended with an up.
I can tell I have your attention. Let me explain…
We are staying at the really rather excellent campsite Camping Vall De Laguar. In the Xaló Valley, part of the mountainous interior of the Costa Brava.
This area is predominantly limestone. Limestone is a porous rock which is always good for forming interesting geography , given a millennia or two, such as; sinkholes; caves and gorges (or, in Spanish, barranco). Our walk today takes us into the Barranc de l’Infern. (I am unreliably informed that there is one called the Barranc O’barma in Ireland.)
This 14.5 km hike follows the original bridle path built by the Moors some 6-800 years ago. It visits 3 separate barrancos and has more than 6,500 steps (eat your heart out StairMaster®) with around 1,000 metres of descent and ascent. Just our kind of bimble.
This does not conform to the popular image of the Costa Brava which is a shame. The place is beautiful, the walks are well sign posted and, best of all, the place is empty. We saw only 6 people during the first 4 hours. 3 people repairing the path, two other walkers and this man:
I can’t tell you how excited Mrs P and I were to see this man. He is as elusive as the snow leopard, as mysterious as the yeti and as slippery as a politician. He is, non-other than The man who paints the stripeys!
This was a great moment… what? What do you mean by “what the hell are you babbling on about?” It’s the man who paints the stripeys for Petes sake! Do I have to explain everything?
Across the whole of Europe mountain trails are identified by stripeys. Well, at least that’s what Mrs P and I call them.
They are painted stripes on rocks to direct the weary traveller on his (or her) path. In the Alps they are red & white, in Spain they are yellow and white. It is a well known fact that all stripeys in both The Alps and Spain are painted by just one man (at least that is the case in my deluded cartoon world) and we now have a photo of him.
Mrs P and I have been travelling in the mountains of Europe for many, many years and have never seen the man who paints the stripeys. This is a truly momentous occasion. It’s like meeting Van Gogh in a field full of sunflowers, Leonardo da Vinci at a slightly grumpy lady convention or Michelangelo at the physiotherapists.
We are so awe struck we fail to get an autograph.
What we did get are some great photos that might just entice those walkers amongst you to head for the Costa Brava hills.
And finally, here’s an interior shot of what Gandalf looks like at dinner time if your washing doesn’t dry while you are out during the day…