Sunday, 11 November 2012

Barranc de Biniaraix – Ses Heures - Sementer Gran – Es Cornadors


Thursday dawned bright and sunny after the rain and storms of the day before.  We headed off to Biniaraix for the start of this stunning circular walk which would take us up and down the Barranc de Biniaraix

The Barranc itself is a stone track, which was either built during the period of Moorish rule or during Roman times. This track, down which a torrent flows, passes between the stepped walls which contain olive plantations many of which are in disrepair. The track connected Sóller with Lluc, Orient and L'Ofre long before the arrival of the Romans and the Moors and later, after the introduction of Christianity, it became the pilgrim way to the Monastery of Lluc.


Communal wash house – Biniaraix

These old communal washing sinks, where the towns women would have done their laundry, are to be found in the ancient hamlet of Biniaraix. We passed them a few times during the week as they mark the beginning of the route to the Barranc de Biniaraix.

Leaving the village we began the climb up the Barranc


Biniaraix in the foreground with Soller in the sunshine beyond


The Barranc

This amazing structure is now part of the GR221 (loads of info on the internet) and much work has been done to maintain the path since we first walked it.


About a third of the way up there’s an opportunity to take refreshments.  This used to be an open water channel, but work has been done to enclose the supply.  The cup, chain and stone trough are original with a tap to the enclosed source now provided.


After yesterday’s rain the barranc was stunning, the normally dry watercourse was now transformed into a myriad to rills, falls and bathing pools.  Something that we’ve never seen before as the limestone means that the water disappears underground very rapidly after rain.


This is the time when the ban on fires is lifted and the olive trees are cut back for the winter.  Throughout the valley smoke rises producing a haze.  Below are the terraces constructed by the Moors some of which are still worked as you can see.  Most are neglected, there are much easier ways to earn a living in Mallorca these days.


Almost at the top of the barranc and the view out to sea is superb.  Below - looking down on Port de Soller with the lighthouse from previous posts left of centre looking out to sea.


Passing Es Cornadors  at the top of the Barranc, we would visit the summit on the way back, we carried on up to the Col de L’Ofre .  Skirting Puig de L’Ofre we then picked up a cairned way (not a path!) which would eventually take us onto the ridge leading to the summit of Ses Heures.


Es Cornadors (3,139ft)

It was in this remote area that we came across a new born goat kid, you can see the afterbirth bottom right.   Unknowingly, our approach had scared off the rest of the family - this little fella couldn’t stand up by himself and we hurried past to allow the others to return, conscious of the black vultures up above us.



The sun was strong, with clouds skidding across the sky, but looking north there was still a thick layer of cloud covering the peak of the highest summit Puig Major (4,741 ft).  This produced a striking effect of a blind being drawn down over the island’s highest summit.


Puig Major (4,741 ft) with the summit in the cloud base

We pressed on to the summit of Ses Heures  (3,448ft)).  A spot of lunch before descending the ridge via a narrow chimney and again picking up a cairned route to take us to the ridge and eventually the summit of Sementer Gran (3,326ft).


Ian approaching the summit


L’Ofre (foreground) and the Sa Rateta ridge beyond where we were two days ago  -  from the summit of Sementer Gran

We then picked up the cairns to take us past the refugio below the summit of Es Cornedors and then on to the summit before heading down to the Barranc.


Below Es Cornadors

Thursday was a bank holiday and so lots of folk were out and about on the Barranc


Walkers almost at the top of the Barranc as we were descending


Looking down the Barrance to Biniaraix


The wash house




That’s where we were!   Looking up at Es Cornadors from Bianiaraix


Back to the Port for a beer as the sun began to leave the sky


Getting ready for supper back at the digs!

Full day out on the mountains with some challenging terrain and climbs, but a very rewarding route expertly led by Ian Smile

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