PRV-181 - Cavell Vert Ridge from Camping Vall de Laguar, Marina Alta

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Tuesday 3 March 2015

PRV-181 - Cavell Vert Ridge from Camping Vall de Laguar, Marina Alta

The beautiful chain of villages that make up the Val de Laguar, Campell, Fleix and Benimaurell, rise gently from the coastal plain into the rolling hills, canyons and mountains of the Marina Alta. Centuries ago it was in this beautiful valley that descendants of the Moors still living in this region of  Spain made their last stand in 1609 and, according to legend, that final stand took place on the Cavell Vert Ridge which runs above these villages on the south side of the valley. With incredible views of the Vall de Laguar, the Mediterranean coast, the sea and even the Island of Ibiza, this hiking loop which traverses the ridge before returning along the valley itself is an excellent day out and marvellous way to get a real sense of the area.

Following our hike the day before of the 6000 steps, we were very excited to be tackling our second hike in the Marina Alta so soon. We also felt very lucky to have woken up to find a clear blue sky and barely any wind to make such fantastic weather for the trail ahead (known as the PRV-181)

The easternmost point this relatively sharp and undulating rocky ridge  is marked by the craggy protrusions known as the "Green horse" (Caballo Verde in Castillan or Cavell Vert in Valencian) which tower high above the plain below and it was here that our feet headed towards as we set off from Camping Vall de Laguar. Using a combination of tarmac roads and waymarked trails, the bulk of the days "climbing" was done in the first 45 minutes of so of gentle hiking as we ascended to 695m in the col which separates the rocky outcrop from the rest of the ridge.

The climb had been beautiful enough with extensive views out to the Mediterranean Sea, but from the col itself we enjoyed such a magnificent view of both the Vall de Laguar and the adjacent Vall de Pop that we just sat on a handy rock to bask in the warm sun high above the villages below. It was a magical place to sit.

Turning west we began to follow the rocky ridge line, which is relatively well waymarked although the 'trail' is often not visible. We found ourselves several times spotting one of the yellow and white waymarkers on another part of the ridge than where we had chosen to head and although it is hard to get 'lost' care is definitely needed on the uneven surface since the sides drop away quite steeply. Some of the rock formations, moulded by rain and erosion, are spectacular with intricate structures of holes and channels but do make for tricky footing.

The ridge climbed steadily west, up to a high point 790m, passing the village of Benimaurell in the Vall de Laguar on the right. As the route climbed, passing pine and wild rosemary, the view behind and out to sea continued to grow, as did the view ahead looking deep into the heart of the Marina Alta hills. The route of the 6000 steps was also clearly visible to the north as well, although that stretch of the Mozarabic trail looked tiny from this lofty perspective.

Towards the end of the ridge the path entered into a small pine forest where the path became less uneven and we began to walk more swiftly to reach the point just before the Collado de Garga at which we would start to loop back on the lower slopes towards Benimaurell and Fleix beyond. As we started to head east once more, entering vast swathes of almond trees all blooming bright pink with blossom we were treated once again to their inviting scent and stopped to take even more pictures of the beautiful flowers as we had the previous day.

The descent into Benimaurell and then onto Fleix passed serenely, with a steady and rarely steep track that was well waymarked and as we arrived back at Camping Vall de Laguar we felt exhilarated by the combination of views and magnificent weather we had enjoyed. Sitting in the late afternoon sun outside of our motorhome, reflecting on a magnificent days hiking we could barely believe it was just the 1st March! Spring had definitely sprung in the Vall de Laguar.

Walk Information:
Motorhome Base: Camping Vall de Laguar
Start/ End Point: Camping Vall de Laguar
Total Distance: approx 9km
Ascent/Descent: approx 400m
Time it took us: 5 hours
Level: Hard
Map: (1:25,000) 822-1 Orba

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