This was a demanding but thoroughly enjoyable trip for a pair of novice walkers. It was our first ever walking holiday and as the trip loomed we were worried that we may have been a bit ambitious selecting a Moderate/Challenging trek despite doing a good amount of preparatory walking to get fit. The walking was tough with around 800-1000 metres of accent on each walk coupled to quite long days. A couple of our fellow travellers who had been on other ‘challenging’ grade trips mentioned that they thought this trek was more demanding. This is probably down to the fact that the terrain is very rocky and uneven in places and considerable sections of the walks were on rough trails which was quite hard on the feet. The ascents were generally not a problem and although hard work they were conducted at a civilised pace with everyone finding their own speed.
There is an excellent balance to the days which were very satisfying with the hard work being rewarded by some fantastic views over the surrounding area, which is totally unspoilt and a world away from the costal resorts of Alicante and Benidorm. More importantly (I think) there was a heavy emphasis on refreshments in the evenings with plenty of food, wine and beer which I don’t think anyone felt the least bit guilty about indulging in after a day’s toil in the hills.
The accommodation was very good. The first hotel was clean and basic with a good breakfast and dinner in the evenings. The second hotel, which I was expecting to be more remote and rustic, was Casa Roc in the lovely little village of Sella. This was a charming spot with clean and comfortable rooms and communal kitchen areas and terraces. The honesty bar with its seemingly inexhaustible supply of beer and wine was particularly popular. We didn’t find sharing facilities too much of an issue, we shared a bathroom with two other people and were quite happy to trade the earlier slot in the shower for an extra half hour in bed! The hosts Steve and Liz were very friendly and clearly work hard to keep their guests happy. Liz did a fantastic job producing delicious authentic Mediterranean meals for us in the evenings, no mean feat considering how many people she was catering for. Steve did an equally good job keeping the jugs of wine and the bread baskets topped up.
There were 14 people in our group and without exception everyone was friendly and sociable and for us this really made the holiday that extra bit special. There were people who were obviously more experienced and fitter than us but they were very supportive and encouraging, especially when we expressed doubts about joining the group on the last day for the climb to the 1408 metre summit.