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Walking Ibiza take us Around the Island in 10 Walks part 5

Aching limbs and priceless views


As part of their 10th Anniversary celebrations, Toby Clarke and his team of experienced guides at Walking Ibiza are circumnavigating the entire coastline of Ibiza. Over 10 consecutive weekends, we will explore the island as we have never seen it before and to enjoy views and experience moments that we will never forget.

Around the Island in 10 Walks' will build up into the definitive guide to the coastline of Ibiza that we hope will inspire you to explore the island on foot. It's reached half way and not too late to join in the remaining stages.


STAGE 5: CALA SALADA to san matteo

Faster than anticipated, we have reached the halfway point of this incredible 10-week challenge. Stitching together several of Walking Ibiza's most popular routes, a particularly beautiful, but equally challenging, trek from Cala Salada to Sant Mateu (San Matteo), via the peaks of Cap Nunó and Puig de San Andreu, will put both physical and mental stamina to the test.


OLIVIA EBELING TAKES UP THE STORY…

Bright and early, we set off from the popular Cala Salada beach and headed straight towards the first climb of the day: Cap Nunó. Sticking out like a giant ramp, the mountain is an iconic sight on the island's western coastline and would see us work our way up a steep, sweat inducing 253 metres. That's sure to wake you up at 9am on a Saturday morning!

Thanks to the mild November temperatures, we reached the top dripping in sweat. The expansive views, however, more than made up for our efforts. Despite the overcast sky and carpets of fog hanging in the air, we could see as far as Cala Comte and Cala Bassa, which we had passed the previous week on Stage 4.

With an epic 27km + to tackle, there wasn't too much time to hang around - in the distance, we could see the majestic mountain awaiting us later in the day, Puig de San Andreu, shrouded in mist.

After carefully navigating the slippery path down, we eventually reached a flatter stretch of forest, and Toby sent us off one by one to follow the woodland trail by ourselves, to enjoy the luxury of silence, and drop into our own thoughts. ‘This is exactly why I am doing this,' I pondered, soaking up the peaceful surroundings and inhaling the fresh forest air.

Adventure and surprise await round every corner on the Around the Island hikes and soon we reached another stop with the ‘wow factor': a secret cove with spectacularly clear waters and dramatic rock formations. Despite the tempting azure colours, only one of our fellow walkers braved the sea, while most of enjoyed a little breather and some snacks – much needed fuel for the next part!

Barely moments later, I found myself clambering up a red, crumbly ledge of rock and earth, asking myself again: ‘Why?' ‘To push yourself out of your comfort zone,' a much braver part of me than my conscious self replied from somewhere inside my head…

Feeling rather proud of ourselves for managing this daredevil ascent, we marched on towards the Gates of Heaven (Las Puertas del Cielo), a famous rock formation and sunset hotspot, close to the picturesque village of Santa Agnes. It seemed that the further we ventured north, the more otherworldly the scenery became. Steeped in mist, the cliffs appeared higher, the boulders larger, the drops sheerer and the forests more mysterious… like something out of Jurassic Park!

On and on we went, and with several steep climbs under our belt, I could feel my strength levels fading with every further uphill ascent. Worrying, given that we had barely reached the halfway mark! A much welcome snack, atop the majestic peak we had spotted earlier, refreshed mind, body and soul as we soaked up the vast views. Cap Nunó, our first challenge of the day, now looked tiny in the distance!

‘Why am I doing this?' I asked myself as I tried to squeeze a last bit of energy out of my tired legs while carefully navigating rocks and roots on a steep uphill climb through the forest. Nearing the final part of a solid 10-hour day, I felt a mix of emotions bubbling up as I pondered, once again, Toby's ‘Word of the Day' for Stage 5 of the Around the Island hikes - ‘Why?'

Looking out over the swatches of Ibiza's famous red soil, the answer was clear - the almond tree orchards and little white buildings of Santa Agnes made for a heart-wrenchingly beautiful sight in the foggy distance.

What we have all learned by now is that, on long hikes like this one, you have to listen to your body and mind… and it's perfectly acceptable to withdraw into yourself and walk, in silence, for a while. On the other hand, thanks to a strong sense of camaraderie amongst the group, you will always find a sympathetic ear or a word of encouragement amongst your walking buddies.

With the sun beginning to set, we had to press on to reach this week's finishing point in Sant Mateu. ‘Today you have climbed a total of 1,161 metres,' Toby proudly informed us – which would go some way towards explaining my achy feet and tired legs!

Thankfully, the final stretch was mercifully straight. Making our way through the autumnal vineyards of Sant Mateu, the church emitting a warm glow in the distance, it was a beautiful end to an epic day.

Exploring this wild and wonderful island, immersing ourselves into the great outdoors, a touch of adrenaline and a sprinkling of adventure… Stage 5 truly combined all the best parts of the Walking Ibiza experience. And that is exactly WHY we are all doing this!


If you want to join the next part of the ‘Around the Island in 10 Walks' adventure, from San Matteo to Benirrás, you'd better hurry because spaces are going fast! Are you up to the challenge?

Words: Olivia Ebeling & Tim Dackombe

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