Friday, 31 March 2017

Alt de L'Ample - 26 March

A year ago we tried and failed to find the starting point for the route out of Xalo, spending a frustrating couple of hours doing so. Even "asking a local" failed, and in the end we ran out of time, and gave up. Keen to avoid a re-run and armed with a better map we realised it would better to avoid Xalo with its maze of lanes and start out of town on the edge of the hill. Reading "between the lines" of a route description and a "must be there" footpath led us to believe there would be a path linking the descent route to the road from where the climbing started. Unwilling to find out it didn't actually exist at end of the day we reversed the route and found the unmarked path existed and is heavily used.

Climbing out of the Barranc de Cau the path zigzags through hundreds, probably thousands, of disused and derelict terraces. The work to create and maintain such a huge area is unimaginable and it isn't possible to see all these ruined terraces without wondering what the last generation of farmers must think now - they, of course, may be delighted to earn a living in other, probably easier ways, but it is like watching a huge factory disintegrate very slowly.

Having seen the race markers on Serra de Olta yesterday we were surprised to see them again on Alt de L'Ample - of course, it is a longer drive between the two hills but we saw a 20km marker yesterday a 30km marker today so it is a mighty race. The race markers marked our route too, for a while, and took us right passed the path to the summit, the path we wanted! Seeking an alternative we found, instead, an abandoned farmhouse with its well which still contains water. Back to the "taped-off" path and on to the summit where the views are worth the two attempts plus today's "near miss". Back to the race route again but this time only as far as les Planisses where we turned towards Xalo for the final descent.

Abandoned Terraces above Barranc del Cau
Abandoned Farmhouse
Abandoned Farmhouse with covered well
Abandoned Farmhouse and Terraces 
Looking South from Moraira with Bernia Ridge in the far distance

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