Report by Rob Mackey
It is 50 years since I last visited Soller on the north-west coast of Mallorca. I had forgotten why I wanted to go back. But I took my trainers and walking boots just in case!
Soller and Port De Soller are surrounded by spectacular peaks, many over 1000m with the highest just short of 1,500 metres, that’s nearly 5,000 feet. The village and Port are separated from the main part of the island by a mountain pass which is almost 500 metres high. The old road with its 65 hairpin bends attracts hundreds of cyclists although the main road now goes through a tunnel under the col.
Where there are mountains there are footpaths! There is an extensive network of well signed tracks, paths and long distance walking routes despite some problems of access by uncooperative land-owners. These footpaths attract huge numbers of walkers from all over Europe and, of course, trail runners. I thought I had better try a few of them. I rolled out of bed early when it is cool and picked a route. The tarmac in the town soon degenerates to gravel, then to paths; amazing paths. Some are OK but I found some of the roughest tracks I have ever run on; twisting and steeply undulating, loose gravel and larger stones at uneven levels polished by numerous boots and slippery when dry (it didn’t rain so I don’t know what happens when wet). All this is set amidst spectacular scenery; misty peaks, orange groves and terraces of gnarled olive trees; some are reckoned to be over 1000 years old.
It won’t by another 50 years before I go back.