Saturday 9th April Casa Benali to Casa de Callado

What a dreadful day, joking yesterday about taking each day as it came and not really planning ahead came back to bit me big time. Just about everything went wrong.

Planning on this part of the GR7 is really difficult, there is absolutely no accommodation on the route, and I had changed my mind several times about what to do about it. One option I played with was walking through all the way to Cortes de Pallas but that would have been about 55 kilometres. Some itineraries split the route at Casa de Callado but the GR7 doesn't actually hit a metalled road until for another 6 kilometres making that the logical place to leave the trail and get a lift. I had worked that out during the planning but because I didn't check it last night I had forgotten and had Casa de Callado fixed in my end as the end of stage.

To add to the scope for confusion, Christine Durrant's husband John had agreed to pick us so we had to know exactly where we were to be able to arrange this.

The walk started well enough, it was sunny, but a breeze kept it from being too hot. It was also a bit hazy which perhaps suggested that it was going to get hotter. The first couple of hours involved a long but steady climb along a forest trail. a climb of just under 500 metres, and then a walk along the ridge before descending into the next valley.

Heading down towards Caroche


In the distance was the mountain of Caroch, which at 1126 metres was our target. This involved going right down to the bottom of the valley and then climbing up another 500 metres to the pass near Caroch.

It was now getting really hot and after lunch in the shade we started the climb. I saw this line of bins in the distance and worked out that they were probably bee hives but thought nothing of it, was listening to an interesting set of Yale lectures about the history of Europe. All of a sudden I was being attacked by bees, never happened before and it took me a few seconds to work out what was happening, absolutely horrible. Dropped my bag, I tried to beat them of with my sticks and then my hat but they just kept coming. They were getting in my hair and flying straight at my face. I felt like running but where to and my bag was on the floor covered in bees. Eventually my mind cleared enough to remember that I did have a weapon, mosquito spray in my bag, and focusing on this rather than the bees, I was able to open the bag and find the spray and let rip. I sprayed everything with it and, apart from a really persistent bee that had got into my hat, they at last retreated.

It felt like I had been stung all over but it is was not as bad. Christine had some anti-sting cream and some anti-histamine and I'm sure that helped. I was a bit shaken up however and for the next hour or so started to concentrate on the location of the bees hives, there are lots, rather than the route. As it happens it seems there were two GR7 routes, one for cyclists around the Caroche and one for walkers almost over it. We took the former rather than the later.

By the time we got to Casa de Callodo we had probably walked an extra 5 kilometres and because I hadn't checked the map properly last night thought than John was meeting us here. The phone signal was very poor and it turned out he had gone to the wrong place anyway. We decided to stay put and wait for him to get to us which involved an 8 kilometre drive along the bit of the GR7 we should have walked to finish our stage.

Not a very nice trail for driving, although the views looked great, better than we had seen all day. I very much doubt that I will be able to persuade John and Christine to risk their car along the route again tomorrow so may have to sacrifice this bit of the trail. Feel really annoyed with myself and a bit fed up.


Stayed in Hotel Murphimer in Ayora, a hotel which should have been condemned rather than given two stars. The discotechque looked so derelict it seemed impossible to think that it was going to be used. It was and although I didn't wake to the noise until about 3.30, John and Christine decided to leave and return home. Looks like I will walking on my own for next week until my own Christine turns up.


  1. What a day, could have been worse, Spurs could have lost. Been following your blog with interest. Keep it up and hope you are OK

    Dennis Skinner

  2. John. I know quite well what happent to you with the bees and the terrain. I spent the night at the top of the Caroig in an abandoned van near the litle house of a forest guard.
    Tomorrow you will cross Cortes de Pallas, near the nuclear plant of Cofrentes and also you will have similar problems to find lodge. I also spent the night in a small town called Venta Gaeta in the medical room, no other place to spend that night as it was a freezing weather.
    It is a pity you could have contacted myself on the planning phase as I would have helped a lot.
    Anyway you will get to a better places soon.

  3. blooming heck john please sort out the route and the accom before i pitch up next sat.
    think i'll leave the fleece behind.
    people swimming in the sea in brighton today; we have our own mini heat wave.

  4. Unusual that bees attack without good reason. You seem to smell like a honey flower ... What else will you attract except your wedded wife?