4x4 Mania

  Club 4x4 Mania
Once again the morning started with overcast skies and the forecast had suggested rain cloud and showers, possibly becoming persistent. As I drove down to Muro to rendezvous at the 4x4 Mania garage I noticed the skies looked a bit brighter over the Aitaina mountain range so my thoughts were positive. As the garage came into view I was surprised to see so many 4x4 vehicles and people outside. Having missed the last meeting due to being back in Blighty for a short but expensive break I was duly introduced to the newest members coming from as far a field as Bocairent, Sax and Torrevieja.
As the programmed departure time of 10.30 approached the safety precautions of phone numbers, first aid box location and running order was sorted out. At 10.30 sharp 17 adults and nine children eagerly set off for a morning of discovery. The wagon train wound its way on the tarmac road through Benamer to Benimarfull where it turned off onto the campo road passing the two “airports” near Alcocer. Before you get all excited, one is for microlites and small planes and the other one is for model aircraft. Passing through the narrow streets of Alcocer we continued on to rejoin the road and turn towards Benniares. Just before leaving the village we turned off to join a campo road which leads to an old railway track. This was the main part of the route for the morning’s excursion. It used to run from Alcoy to Gandia and was constructed by British engineers using British rails and engines, one of which is now on display in Alcoy. This line was used for 76 years from 1883 until 1969 when it was closed by the Spanish equivalent of Dr. Beeching. Because the railway followed the route of the river Serpis it winds its way through the river valley and has some spectacular views. This route is so beautiful it is now a National footpath and cycling track.
After passing through an old tunnel and past fishermen fishing for trout in the river we saw the ruin of an old castle high on the left. This is the old castle of L’Orcha situated on the mountain range of Alcor. We then arrived at the old station of L’Orcha where we stopped for our first comfort break. Once on the move again we left the track to pass through the village of L’Orcha intending to bypass a section of the track and rejoin it further down. Because of the usual way Spanish roads are maintained we had to turn back as the road ahead was closed. Once back at the station we continued on our way. This route is breathtakingly beautiful and is a must for everyone to see whether it be by foot, on a bike or in a car. The river, wild flowers and wildlife are fantastic the river in particular with its twists and turns, waterfalls, weirs and pools.
We stopped off at one of the pools for another comfort break and to let the children explore it as it was so pretty. The rain held off mostly and we only had a few spatters of drizzle none of it enough to mar the trip. Just before we came to a ruined bridge we crossed the river and continued on our way through the Raco Del Duc and came to a quarry where we turned right and drove a short way to just before Villalonga where we stopped again for a short break and short exploration.
Time was getting on and we decided to backtrack and stop for our picnic at one of the beautiful places suitable for our numbers. After we had eaten, David Edwardes had a surprise for the children. As it was Easter weekend he had arranged an Easter Egg Hunt which the adults enjoyed almost as much as the children. We returned the way we had come and seeing the views from a different aspect was great. To round off the trip we retired to the Co-operative Jaume bar at Benimarfull where Mario made us all welcome. A beer or a glass of wine for the adults and an ice-cream for the children made a fitting end to a great excursion.
The next meeting, when we hope to have another picnic, will be on Sunday 21st May. Meet at the Garage 4x4 Mania at 10:00am for 10:15 depart for those north of Muro and those from the south via the A36 Autovia, pass Ibi to the end of the Autovia. Turn right towards Jiona N340 and wait for the others to join you at 10:30 approx.
Anyone interested in a nice morning and a picnic out are welcome.
Don’t forget for the latest information check the website, www.4x4mania.es or call 96 5530312 or 666006615.
Gerry Coghlan

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