Tuesday, 25 November 2014

The windmills walk above Xabia

A surprising early departure from Camping El Naranjal this morning as
Palm regrowth after the forest
fire, Xabia 
we finally determined that today was The Day to undertake an interesting walking route Dave spotted on the Xabia website (It's shown on the Port Xabia-Montgo pdf link) which goes from Xabia port, up into the hills above, and then back down to the port to finish. The Spanish for windmills is Molins and there are eleven, so we learned, along the La Plana ridge above the town. Originally built between the fourteenth and eighteenth centuries, their heavy mill stones were used to grind wheat into flour. I think these days all the wheat fields have either been built upon or are growing orange trees. Certainly we've not seen any yet in Spain. There was a huge processing place outside Almenara, Harinera Del Mar, and we bought their flour in the Mercadona for our bread.

We have already walked to the port and back a couple of times - it's about an hour from the campsite - so drove there today instead. There's plenty of free parking there at this time of year. Clear wooden signposts pointed us uphill on a lightly screed rough path which soon turned into a bit of a scramble. Once underway, the route is clearly marked with yellow, red and white stripes on rocks, trees and walls. Bizarrely, the whole area was blackened trees where there had been a wildfire in September. Little palm trees and cacti are already beginning to regrow so there are splashes of green amongst the cinders, but it's eerily quiet without the multitudes of birds we hear elsewhere around town. We continued clambering upwards until the path levelled out at the end of a valley, then turned back on itself with a more gradual slope across the opposing face. Part of the way up was the odd sight of a rusted car come to a halt against a tree part way down the steep slope. We wondered if its plunge from the road above had been the cause of the fire, but it didn't look particularly burned. We carried on ascending and were rewarded at the top from which there is a fantastic view across the port and out to sea.

We had to stick on the road for a kilometre or so as there were clean-up crews working to clear burned trees along the ridge. A couple of Spaniards were also 'helping' by filling their cars with chopped down but unburned wood for their winter stoves. We paused to enjoy another sea view, this time from the Cap de Sant Antoni. Having actually remembered to carry our water bottles this time, we didn't need the water taps at the recreation area nearby, but it is useful to know it's there.

The windmills themselves are each about seven metres high by six metres across and have incredibly thick stone walls. Their shells have been neatly renovated and are lit at night, but there's no machinery inside anymore. The path led back downwards from by the second windmill and, unfortunately, was a similar loose surface to the earlier uphill stretch. I went slowly as I'm rubbish at descents. I'm always convinced I will fall. Once we got to the town outskirts there were some elegant houses and the buildings became less grand as we descended back to sea level. A roundabout we recognised is topped by a full-size white painted boat surrounded by pretty blue flowers.

We got back to the car after just over three and a half hours and were nicely tired despite Dave's tracker app saying we had only walked just under ten kilometres of horizontal distance. I'm proud that our total overall ascent was four hundred and twenty-nine metres. We're getting our walking legs back in shape again!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Due to increased spam, I've turned on comment moderation for the time being. Genuine comments will appear after I've checked them!