Another cloudless sky greeted us this morning so we decided to get our act together and try for the circumperambulation of the Bernia. The Bernia is a v. large lump of rock, about the height of Snowdon, to the south of the Jalon Valley overlooking Altea and, in the distance, Benidorm (which we try hard to ignore). Depending upon the source, the path around it is either eight or nine kilometers. We drove up to the start point, the roads being unencumbered by lorries today, at about 10:30 AM and started the walk at 11:00 AM going clockwise.
The path starts on the north side as something resembling a road but eventually gets quite steep and narrow as you climb to cross to the south side. Crossing to the south side is quite amazing; the path goes through a tunnel, only three feet high in places, carved through the mountain to emerge overlooking the sunlit Mediterranean, Altea and, yes, Benidorm in the distance. We had to remove our camera rucksacks to get through. It’s a stunning view from the end of the tunnel despite Benidorm.
We were making grand progress on the south side until, about half way round, we took a wrong turn up to the wrong saddle (knowing that we had to cross a saddle). We were on a treacherous scree slope which should have been a clue but carried on regardless. At the top it became obvious that all was not as it should be and we had to descend the same scree slope, which was even more treacherous, to correct our mistake.
There were a couple more oh-my-God-where’s-the-path moments but we eventually managed to return unscathed after five hours (it would have been four without the scree slope detour) to the start point and car, still basking under a cloudless blue sky.
A swift trip to the Masymas supermercat on the way home to get something for dinner (a monkfish tail to go with those pink peppercorns) and we could release el perrito from his prison.
A sense of achievement prevails after what must be the roughest walk we’ve undertaken. What a great day; all is well. 🙂