Thursday, 5 October 2017

S'Algar to Mahon (Camí de Cavalls 1)


We got a cab from our hotel to S'Algar in the south east corner of Menorca to begin the Cami de Cavalls (literally Horse or Donkey Path, Menorca's Coast Path). It extends for 184 km / 115 miles. See its website for more information.

It is a small and quiet, but pretty, resort.  To the south you can see a tower (of which there are lots on Menorca) - this one is the Torre de Alcafar Vell) and a lighthouse.

We walked uphill away from the village as a party of 50 or more walkers came towards us and turned right. Here is our first sight of the distinctive Cami de Cavalls sign posts.

We followed the well waymarked track, stony, but otherwise easy to follow and reached the point in our walk book where there was a detour to the right to Cala d'es Rafalet. We had a bit of trouble finding the right path - this is the access point.

We headed downhill towards the cove through a wonderful rocky valley with trees on both sides.

 At the bottom the was a beautiful rocky inlet. A few intrepid Germans had just got out of the water having had a swim. A wonderful spot and well worth the detour.

We continue the route uphill and across quite bare countryside to join a donkey track with dry-stone walls on both sides.

There is a beautiful farm house on the right.

 And another attractive one on the left.

I stop to try to photograph a female Clouded Yellow butterfly and suddenly discover that I am face to face with one of the famous wild Menorcan tortoises (Herrman's tortoises) - in fact there were two. Maybe they belong to the house but who cares.

We continue along a second walled section of donkey trail and eventually, after the walled Villa Eugenia, have an open view to the right. We can see at the rear the great headland with the Fortalesa de la Molea which marks the entrance of the vast harbour of Mahon. In the foreground is a small lighthouse.

 Soon after this the track heads sharply downhill to the pretty Cala de San Esteve (a Cala is a creek).

We climb a steep track and follow the road towards Es Castell. Over to the right we can see the far side of the harbour, with a whole swathe of military buildings behind the Mole fort.

At the entrance to Es Castell there is a rather splendid windmill - and there is another at the other end.

We head into the centre passing the main square with the lovely Town Hall ...

... and the former army barracks opposite and to one side.

After an excellent lunch at a roadside tapas bar we head towards Mahon, passing the Isle de Diable

We are soon forced inland and onto the road. There is just one more sight - the handsome Collingwood House, now the Hotel del Almirante.

Before long we reached the edge of Mahon and were back at our hotel.

Conditions: warm and sunny.

Distance: 12km.

Rating: four and a half stars.

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