It was roughly a year ago that I set out to trek through Mallorca on the long-distance GR221, also known as the Ruta de Pedra en Sec, or the Drystone Route. Almost the entire trail runs across limestone mountains, so running water and springs are rare, but pines, palms, scrub and colourful flowers thrive on what little there is.
The sharp rocky ridge of sa Dragonera
My memories of the early stages of the route are dominated by the rugged little island of sa Dragonera, whose razor-sharp rocky crest never fails to excite. It isn't on the GR221, but it is in view for several hours. It's one of those islands I've struggled to visit. A case of 'so near, yet so far', as I've been thwarted by adverse weather for ferry sailings, or been there when there just weren't enough passengers.
The other day was different, as the sun shone, the sea was calm, and passengers queued to get on board the Margarita. It goes without saying that all trips to sa Dragonera feature good weather. I made a point of going out on the first ferry and coming back on the last one. The island features four signposted routes
and my plan was to join them all together into something approaching 20km (12 miles).
Ruined lighthouse on the highest point of sa Dragonera
There are three lighthouses on sa Dragonera. A ruined one sits on a remarkable rocky summit at 349m (1145ft), reached by an amazing zigzag path that makes light work of some very steep slopes. A semi-ruined lighthouse occupies Cap de Llebeig and another in good shape sits on Cap de Tramuntana, and both are reached by obvious tracks.
While exploring sa Dragonera, which features on the front cover
of Trekking in Mallorca, I often found myself looking back to Mallorca and tracing the course of the GR221 over the hills and along the coast. I plan to Intercept the Drystone Route over the next few weeks as I explore the mountains of Mallorca in detail. Who knows, I might even meet some of the first few readers who obtain copies!
The lighthouse on Cap de Llebeig
It's a small world... Paddy bumps into some friends
Jean and Robert on the left with their friends Lisa and Gary
I have been walking with some friends of Cicerone today and they send their greetings. I was just leaving a cafe to climb a mountain when an Englishman came running after me asking if I had left a book. It was 'Walking in Mallorca'. I told him it wasn't mine, but that I'd had a hand in writing it
. He didn't believe me, so I directed him to my mugshot.
Anyway, it turned out that the book belonged to four Scottish walkers, and two of them said they'd walked with Jonathan and Lesley in the Alps recently
. See the above photo, with Jean and Robert on the left. The other two are their friends, Lisa and Gary. Lisa is running the Laugavegur in Iceland
this summer. Anyway, we were all heading for the same mountain - Massanella - and they paid my €6 'environmental destruction' fee before I could stop them. I felt obliged to tell them everything I knew about Mallorca by way of thanks!
Should've bought a flag with me
In other news, my pal Jaume took me up an excellent mountain yesterday, and he seriously thinks I'm the first foreigner to climb it. Of course, once it's in the guidebook the whole world will know about it but for now it's mine!
All the best from Mallorca,