El Canton, Friday 5th of April.
Photographs by Brian and Alan.
When we planned the walk for the 5th of April the weather forecast was good, but as the day drew nearer the forecast became more and more gloomy. On the other hand, the bookings for lunch at Manolo’s restaurant at Rincon del Blas at El Canton grew quickly until we had completely taken over the whole restaurant!
So we awoke on the day, with some trepidation, to a slightly overcast sky, but no actual rain and 34 walkers and 2 dogs gathered in El Canton to brave the elements. In the end the weather remained clement and we set off on our 8.5 Km circular walk in the hills to the East of El Canton. Philip had estimated that the walk would take 3 hours and had booked lunch for 1.30 to 2.00. However, the weather was actually ideal for walking and the group made excellent progress along the rambla that runs alongside the Algueña road before walking up a fairly gentle hill, gaining 190m and enjoying some interesting views before descending again and arriving at the route option point where we split into two groups. Many of the more curious followed Philip down an apparently rough route along a barranco, whilst the second group continued along a track to gain the La Canalosa to El Canton road, where they turned down towards the village.
It was planned that the groups would rejoin at a semi-derelict farm on the road to take a direct track back to El Canton, but the enthusiasm of the on-road group to get back to the pub drove them past the RV and onto an extra half kilometre of walking, but getting them back to the pub first. The off-road group arrived at the farm RV to a surprising silence, but quickly deduced what had happened and continued on the planned track back to El Canton and the pub. In the end there was no hazard and spreading the timing of the returnees did reduce the congestion at the bar. Moreover, the group ably demonstrated their collective fitness and the last person back arrived in 2.30, ensuring that we had more time to slake our thirst before lunch.
Thirty-one people then stayed to enjoy a menu del dia, which everyone seemed to enjoy and from the noise level in the small restaurant it was a very well oiled event. The food was basic Spanish fare, but of good quality and served in a friendly and efficient manner. It was clear that the staff also enjoyed our visit and Manolo insisted on taking a photograph of the group, which he said would eventually hang on his wall; perhaps so that he could recognise and bar the guilty parties!
Eventually, we left Manolo and his family and friends to the washing up and made our way home, when the long promised rain finally arrived in some force to wash away our footprints. Overall the feedback was that it was an enjoyable walk and lunch and a repeatable event, if Manolo will allow us back!