GR221 trip report and feedback from a previous post
I took an early bus on Sunday from Palma to Port Andratx and started walking. The bus was a lot speedier than the timetable suggested. It was only a couple of hours to St Elm. Then 4.5 on to Estellencs. There were two water tanks at La Trappa and I topped up on the way. I filled up with water at the clothes washing area just below Estellencs (and had a wash) and walked into the forest above the village to camp.
The next day I walked to Banyalbur filling up with water at the font before the village and then through Esporles and to Valdemossa . Public toilets in the village behind the TO. Again used a cafe for water and camped at the font Abeurada just out of the village. Several flat platforms and some water in the font.
A short walk to Deia the next morning (10km, 2hrs 40m) for coffee. Interestingly it looked like there was a refuge on top of Es Poeut - any ideas anybody? Water in the village at a fountain followed by a 16km, 3 hr walk to Soller. Lots of drinking fountains in town. I continued walking through Biniaraix and up the lovely valley. There was a tap between Can Silles and Can Sivella at about 500m in the valley - perfect. I camped just below the Coll de L'Ofre in the woods about 9km, 2.5hrs from Soller.
On day 4 I walked past the locked refuge of Cuber. The council were coming to collect thye refuge and they said they had to lock it because people were coming to party there. There is a large covered area for shelter or to bivvy if the weather was poor. There was water in the reservoir and the font in the recreational area on the MA-10 was flowing (font de Noguera). A good walk up to the Coll de Coloms (9km/2hrs). The font des Prat is just after the pass and water was bubbling away. There were numerous sites to camp near the font. I met lots of hikers for the first time here (other than day hikers out from Deia to Soller). They had all stayed at Tossal Verds refuge which was still apparently full each night! From the pass it was another hour up to the coll des Prat.
It was a gorgeous day and I knew I had to get up Massanella. 100m below the pass is a trail heading off to the right taking you up from the west. It is an easy walk and I used my poles all the way up. Decided to come down the front which was fun - poles definitely away although fine with a pack! From the pass if you follow the dry-stone wall to the peak there is a route to the right of the wall and one to the left. The one to the left is apparently slightly harder than the one to the right. Both require some easy scrambling (I came down the right side and just for fun I started going up the left hand route as well just to see what it was like). Cairns and small red arrows mark both routes.
After returning to the pass I continued to Lluc which took about 2.5hrs. I had a much needed wash and shave in the downstairs monastery toilets a couple of hours in the sun and too much coffee before filling up with water and continuing. There was water and camping places at the Ermita just above Lluc, but I continued to the Coll des Pedregaret to camp about 1hr from Lluc.
The next morning I made an early start following roads for most of the route into Pollenca. There has been some re-routing here and you have to walk along the main road a bit. Water and a few camping spots fairly near the Font Muntanya. It was under 3hrs into Pollenca and the end of the walk.
No problem getting flat smooth campsites! The majority of the sitges (charcoal burning sites) are flat and moss covered - very comfy.
We are doing the southern section, Port Andratx -Soller in March. We arrive Friday afternoon and leave Tues afternoon. Like you, we want to wild camp. Am I right in thinking there is a lot of road walking between St Elm and Estellencs? Or have they rerouted it?
Wanted to do a couple of hours on Friday -any good cmping spots near St Elm?
Sant Elm is a busy little resort and it would be quite difficult to find a wild camping spot close to the village.
There isn't any road-walking between Sant Elm and the Coll de Sa Gramola, which is halfway to Estellencs. Of the remaining distance, most of it is along the Ma-10 road, but a couple of stretches can be avoided by using the old road, or Cami Vell, running parallel. Of course, you could abandon the road completely and climb over s'Esclop and Galatzo.
Thanks Paddy yes Mallorcan guide.Any sign of progress with the opening of the other refuges,seems a very slow process..The text of the book I have is by Joan Satre ,Vicenc Sastre and Miquel Rayo
No news yet about the opening of the other refuges, or with signposting on the early part of the route, though there has been some new signposting on a number of variant routes. You can keep up-to-date with developments at www.mallorca-camins.info
It's well worth considering a variant start... from Peguera, through the wonderful Galatzo estate between s'Esclop and Galatzo, then over to Estellencs. It's possible to walk from Peguera to Estellencs in a day, while it takes two days to get from Port d'Andratx to Estellencs.
As you head out of St Elm there are flat spots in the woods before you gain too much height and it gets rocky. You could also camp around La Trappe where there is water. Not sure if people work the finca on a regular basis!
Paddy answered about the road walking.
Thanks very much David and Paddy.
Paddy- I have your GR221 book. Bearing in mind that we have from Fri PM to Tues AM to get to Soller, do you have a preferance of one of your varients in terms of landscape, lack of road walking and timing? (Peguera?) And if so, how easy is the route finding? Or would you stick to the "normal" route? We will be going light and happy to do 6-7 hrs per day.
BTW -I bought the Alpina Sud map 2011 and its seems to show the "normal" route avoiding the Ma10 entirely. Is it possible that negociations through this part have been successful, or is it/me wrong?
David/Paddy- We will be wild camping for Fri/Sat/Sun/Mon nights- walking into Soller Tues AM. I was therefore thinking to trying to pass through the villages/towns in the middle of the day so as to find a quiet spot by nightfall. Perhaps that is not a good idea regarding water?
Again- thanks for your feedback
Just realised there is, of course, still road section on the new Alpina...
Any views Paddy on the above?
Mark... the route on the Alpina Mallorca Sud map is a route worked out by a pal of mine, Jaume Tort. It's not waymarked as the GR221, but it is walkable so long as you do your own mapreading. Personally, I like the approach from Peguera, because the route through the Finca Galatzo is all off-road and the scenery is amazing. The Finca Galatzo used to be jealously-guarded private property, but was bought for public use only a few years ago, and most people simply aren't aware that they can explore it. All the trails were overgrown, but they've all been cleared and waymarked, so I'd recommend it.
Also... a variant route from S'Arraco to Coll de sa Gramola is now waymarked, but of course that still leaves you high on the Ma-10 road with no further waymarking to Estellencs.
You won't find much water on the GR221, but those sources that are available are mentioned in my book. If you plan to pass through the villages midday, then read ahead and see if there's a water source mentioned in my book, and if there isn't, then you'll have to get supplies in the villages before you head for your overnight camp.
Paddy- That's what we'll do then! Have your excellent book- suitably butchered- in the pack.
Thanks for your kind advice.
I know- I saw that- might have to unpack the swimming trunks1
Owen- I'll let you know how we get on.
...and it snowed again yesterday...
...and more snow is due on Saturday...
I bet they've never had so much snow!
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