Day 4 Mallorca – Puig de l’Ofre, Pilgrim Steps & Sóller

This was by far the best day so far, not necessarily the most demanding but certainly the longest at 10.5 miles, with 1628ft of ascent and a whopping 3,831 ft of descent if my Garmin watch is to be believed. We began walking beside a reservoir called “Embassament de Cuber”. On the map it shows it as its full extent but the lack of rainfall meant it had only a meagre offering of water. At the southwestern end of the reservoir we started to ascend to a col between two groups of mountains, Coma de Son Torrella to the right and a group of three like-minded hills on our left. This region is called Escorca.

At the col we could see our high point of the day, Puig de  l’Ofre at 1090m high and is the one in the far distance with the pointy top. The pinnacle was our objective and it was to involve some steep walking and a little scrambling, always easier to ascend than descend. From the col we skirted around the Puig in the scrubby woodland before the path led us to the bare limestone for our climb and our lunchtime stop.

Then came the descent, which we took steadily, and once off the bare rocks we were back in the woods, looking for Trevor’s telescope. We were expecting a massive structure looking heavenwards picking out the stars but when we found it it was something of a disappointment. It was just one of those things that we have at Niarbyl to look out to sea, and furthermore it didn’t work. Trevor was ribbed the rest of the day for promising and not delivering 🙂

We walked down a valley towards Puig de Na Maria, with its grassy ski slope, expecting to meet the 2000 Pilgrim Steps at any time. The views from this point all the way down are stunning and not to be rushed. We saw many people coming up from Sóller but to my mind this way is the best to get the full panorama again and again as the path twists and turns, dips and drops between the mighty cliff-like rocks.

The Pilgrim Steps is part of a longer trail. There are almost 2000 shallow cobbled steps, with about 2 metres between each step. They are not generally as evenly spaced as they appear on this photo and mostly had a more gentle slope and then a slightly larger step. They wind their way through majestic scenery, sometimes the mountains wide apart and at other times barely narrow enough for the path and stream. The gorge comes as a surprise about half way down, and you can imagine that the non existent stream now would become a torrent with huge waterfalls in the winter-time. The steps become a little tedious and you do have to watch where you put your feet, but time is not of the essence compared with the opportunity to be awe-inspired and captivated by the moment. Photos with a mobile phone cannot do this scenery justice.

At the end just when we were ready for a drink, the quaint village of Biniaraix turns up and delivers. But first of all we could have a bath in the old outdoor wash-house. Having a pint of beer on a relatively empty stomach was bound to cause merriment and we had an enjoyable time walking the remainder of the way to Sóller. There was not time to become tourists here, and indeed no enthusiasm, so we got the tram back to Port de Sóller in time for tea.

 

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