So after surviving our illegal night in the car park, we were up very bright and early. The first walkers came past the van at 6.45am which seemed a bit unnecessary so we stayed in bed. About 10 minutes later though another car pulled up and it soon became clear the day has started with or without us.
So we made a cuppa and planned were we would go that afternoon as the walk would take around 3.5hrs. Having decided after this early start that a beach day was in order we finished up our tea and headed off. The morning was still relatively cool as we headed up the track to the mouth of the gorge, past the campers who arrived late last night, and on through some small olive grove. The entrance to the gorge warns of rockfalls and treacherous terrain, so suitably interested we headed in. It soon narrows with the high rock faces rising either side. And then it really narrows, to the point my camera insists that I’m taking a nighttime picture and tries to put the flash on. The path is sometimes level and straightforward but interspersed with boulders that require climbing over from time to time. It’s evident the popularity of the route, as the rocks are polished to a shine in strategic places by thousands of pairs of feet looking for a foothold. One of the flatter sections, with a scattering of trees fighting there ways up the walls for light. Lee attempts rock climbing and probably gets an impressive 3ft off the floor. The view upwards. You can see the tree at the top has lis its rock it was once rooted too and the roots now hang midair. Some very gnarly ivy climbs the side almost looking like part of the rock. The gorge then passes through some more open and wooded sections, while still narrow back to a few feet wide in places. Soon we pick up the GR6 footpath towards the end and follow this out to a track. Here turning right to follow the signs to Merindol and complete our circular route. The path is a forestry track for a while and then turns off onto a narrower path through the forest. The GR routes are the red and white stripe waymarks. I left my phone in the van so we are reliant on the signs and footpath way marks. Fortunately being a ‘GR’ route these are quite good. We then climb gradually upwards where the view opens out, we are higher than we realise. The path continues with the views also getting better.We then start our descent to Merindol although once down in the village we have to divert back to pick up a path to return us to gorge. Around 4 hours to complete the loop meaning we are back at the van around 12. We then have a 1.5hr drive to the beach.
This is one we visited previously and although touristy is nice sand and sea. You can also pay to drive through the barriers which gives you access to miles more beach which is much quieter. We planned to park on the beach, but the woman spoke no English and wouldn’t let us through. So we decided to park up and come back later as apparently the barriers lifted at 6pm.This in itself is a task as the campsite was expensive, and we didn’t want to camp anyway, but the car parks had height restrictions. We found one part that didn’t but it was full. However looping back round there was a space, the the car in front of us pulled in and promptly parked in it. This particularly annoyed me as there was loads of space in the height restricted car parks but only one in the bit. Still, after sitting in the van and giving him a dirty look for a few minutes there wasn’t much else to do. Eventually after more pissing about we did get a space as another van left.We spent a nice few hours on the beach and then headed back to try and get into the beach spot. Turns out the barriers are down till 8 and we didn’t want to wait. Fortunately there was someone new operating them and they had no problem us paying the €13 to stay for a night. So we drove down, pitched up and settle down for the night.
Again thunder is in the vicinity as we watched a single isolated cloud full of lightning over the mainland. Again we didn’t imagine much of a lie in, as people no doubt would drive down early. We also don’t like to get up late places we aren’t supposed to be and although we paid we were supposed to be in our designated motor home area (a neatly marked out space in the car park, approximately 3mm from the next vans washing and the previous vans awning) not on the beach.