The Uttlesford Ramblers

Making a walk a pleasure

Menorca September 2015

Essex's Uttlesford Group enjoys their first Holiday Abroad -

In October the Uttlesford Group, under chairman Clive Gillingham, travelled to Menorca for its first overseas holiday.  We were a party of 21, 10 from Uttlesford and 11 from other parts of the UK and in conjunction with Balearic Outdoor Holidays we travelled around the unspoiled areas of Menorca. We walked the coastal paths, passing through inland villages and small towns full of white painted and red tiled buildings, and seeing birds such as the Booted Eagle, Egyptian vulture, Peregrine and Golden Oriole which particularly delighted Jo and Bob who are keen birds watchers

The views of isolated bays, with lovely sandy beaches, small fishing villages and rocky outcrops were all enjoyed as we walked sections of the Cami de Cavalls, one of the main walking routes on the island. This path of 186 km circumvents the island and was originally a horse track used to warn of an invasion

We walked from the port of Mahon along the estuary passing the leper island and the many fortifications. The port's history and its involvement with the British was provided by our guides John and Carolyn  It was a stimulating day and ended with a cold beer at Es Castell

On the Sunday we were fortunate enough to see the Es Migjorn Gran fiesta with its prancing horses immaculately dressed and controlled, riding round the town. The local brass band took over the town square with the crowd stamping, clapping and shouting to the beat, including the Uttlesford group! It was a fascinating spectacle after a day spent walking across nature reserves, up deep ravines and visiting the huge Cara del Coloins or Cathedral Cave. We ended our day in the town sampling a delicious drink of Menorcan gin and bitter lemon

Our walk on the only wet day took us through inland gorges where local produce was grown on terraces created alongside streams. It was an echo of the past, as was the smugglers path we followed. Walking in farmland and hilly fields showed how the island was self-sufficient before tourism arrived. The more hardy of our party walked through heavy rain, while a few of us took refuge in the van, where we enjoyed our girlie chats (Brian was there too!!)

Our day out on the coach took us to El Toro, the islands only mountain, with its lovely gothic church and the wonderful views around the whole island and included watching cheese being made, seeing the largest imaginable flock of ravens and a tapas meal at Fornells looking out over the pure blue sea. Perhaps the one exception from the walking and learning about the island was the quiz organised and run by our leaders. It was great fun, very noisy, created much silliness with Uttlesford competing against the Rest of the World (ie the other walkers on the holiday)

The walking was good and the sights seen were at times spectacular particularly after the night storm, with the sea crashing over the rocks.  Many of the wonderful views were captured by our resident photographer, Sylvia Hayes who, as always did a marvellous job. The accommodation in an 18th century stately house was comfortable and with a special character. The food was enjoyable, the wine good and plentiful, the company very social, the weather very warm and taken overall Balearic Outdoor Holidays did us proud. 

The only injuries sustained were a very bruised thumb (after drinking the gin!! But I don't think they were connected!! ) and a sore head from walking into a tree (no alcohol involved!)

We will look back on our first excursion abroad as a great success 

Eileen Cooper

Saturday, February 24, 2018