Wed 3 July 2019
Local News | Walking the Bernia Circuit
Walking the Bernia Circuit.
July 3, 2019
The magnificent Sierra de Bernia mountain range dominates all of the most spectacular views here in the Jalon Valley. 11km of dramatic elevations and rugged rocky peaks. It separates the Marina Alta and the Marina Baja and rises to 1219m at the highest point.
So, what else would you do on a Sunday morning with a group of good friends (and a pack of equally friendly dogs), but walk the “Bernia Circuit”? We had talked about it for long enough and it was time to put our walking shoes to the test. None of us are seasoned hikers, nevertheless we arranged to meet at 7.30am on a fine morning on the 2nd June. In our backpacks we carried some sustenance, in the form of a few sandwiches, nuts and dates and a bottle of Marnes red wine, locally produced of course! Oh yes, and water, as much as we could comfortably carry.
Although most of the hiking guides show the route clockwise, we decided to live dangerously and go anti-clockwise. As we all live here in the Jalon Valley, the car journey was an easy 20 minutes. If you don’t know the road its best to take it slowly, there are some blind bends and narrow passing points. From Jalón you follow the CV-749 for 11km and park outside the restaurant Serra Bernia. We already had lunch reservations at the excellent Real de Bernia but Serra Bernia is great for good traditional Spanish fare. They have carnes a la brasa (meat cooked on an open fire) and a very good paella.
We parked up, readied the dogs and set off on our intrepid journey. The wild flowers here at this time of year are incredible and the path was paved with colour. Then we spotted a herd of mountain goats right at the top of a particularly high elevation with a very steep, shale drop. A piece of cake if you are a mountain goat! It was already worth the early start.
The views are nothing short of awesome, pretty much all the way. Be sure to take a good camera, you will take many incredible shots. From the stunning vistas down to Altea and beyond as far as La Manga to the impressive concrete high rises of Benidorm. On a clear day, which it was, you can easily see Ibiza and Majorca, a mere 120km away! One has a feeling of being on top of the world up there.
We soon reached the Fort. Dating back to 1562, it was designed by Juan Bautista Antonelli and commissioned by Prince Philip the second. It is a fine example of Renaissance military architecture. It was built to combat the Moorish uprisings, having a panoramic view of the coastline. For us it was the perfect spot for a picnic and a well deserved celebratory drink.
After a 15 minute break we set off again, by this time it was getting warmer and we were glad of our sun hats and sunscreen. I have to recommend planning this hike and making sure you have good walking shoes and a stick, there are some tricky parts where the stones can shift beneath your feet.
The best part of this great walk is the Forat (hole) in the mountain. This is a man made tunnel made by smugglers years ago. You will have to crawl through but there is daylight all the way and its only 20metres long, so not so bad for those of you who suffer from claustrophobia. Just when you thought the views could not be any more spectacular you are greeted by a jaw dropping sight.
4 hours later we were back where we started. By this time it was 29 degrees and getting hotter. At this time of year, an early start is essential. People were setting off as we were finishing and, it has to be said, they looked hot and bothered and we didn’t hold out much hope of them doing the whole circuit!