Sierra Bernia new year walk

sierra berniaDSC_2590

I have been admiring the view of the Sierra Bernia ridge for the past three years, as both schools near Benidorm that I have taught in offered excellent views of the ridge in all seasons. My question was always “is it donkeyable?” and the reason for going up there was twofold: to enjoy the walk and also assess the route as a donkeyable walk for the future.


The walk contours most of the way along the top of the ridge – south side and north side – returning by a natural tunnel through the ridge.  All in all, a vigorous but not too challenging walk (if you remember to take your sandwiches, which I didn’t…)  In the end, from a donkey point of view, it is a non-starter. There are many points which require a scramble up rocks, so it would not work as a donkey walk.  The views below are looking out from the ridge. Out to sea, Ibiza was spectacularly clear: the mountains of the whole island from south to north with cloud above mount Atalayassa clearly visible. Then Benidorm and the Aitana range, of course, and looking down into the valley my school: so I can show the children what the school looks like from up there at the top, which we can see in panorama from our classrooms.


A great walk and a good way to begin the new year 2014. My new year’s resolution now is simply, don’t leave home without the sandwiches…

Sunshine Award


Acceptance speech: I am very happy to receive this award on behalf of the donkeys, the vet, the farrier, and all other players in this donkey soap opera. It gives me great pleasure to acknowledge all those who have made this award possible: Nutrivila animal feed store, for keeping the donkeys well supplied; Estrella Galicia and the Bar Cantonet for keeping me well supplied; and of course Cait and Carl who looked after the donkeys and gave me a few days break in the summer, so I could go off to Ibiza and pretend I had a life other than room service for donkeys.

Thank you all for recognizing the donkey blog with this wonderful award and I shall redeem it in Carrefour tomorrow for a packet of carrots and a bottle of Estrella Galicia #escandalosamentebuena



About Gareth Thomas

After a mixed career as an aircraft technician, London fringe theatre playwright, Franciscan friar, and secondary school teacher, I find myself looking after the needs of four donkeys in a remote location in the mountains in the Costa Blanca. I like to listen to BBC Radio 4 and the wind in the pine trees. I am writing a comedy about a school in Benidorm. My favourite film of all time is "Jean de Florette". If I had my time again I would not have spent the early 1970s working for Special Branch.
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8 Responses to Sierra Bernia new year walk

  1. GC says:

    . . . Cait and Carl who looked after the donkeys and gave me a few days break in the summer, so I could go off to Ibiza and pretend I had a life other than room service for donkeys,

    Lapin, I have sometimes thought of you being rather limited in your opportunities for quality “away by yourself” time. Are there no donkey hotels.such as there are cat B&Bs and dog camps? Or is it time you engaged an assistant asinist?

    What are you going to do about it? You obviously can’t take them with you to Ibiza, like a normal family.

    Lovely pics.

  2. Frere Rabit says:

    Funnily enough, I was just talking with my friend Carl yesterday about a new stables just two kilometres up the road from me, where the owner is boarding other people’s horses. That would certainly be a possibility if the price was affordable. Happy New Year, GC!

  3. GC says:

    And a very happy AD2014 to you, Brother Lapin, and to every one of the donks, especially Aitana (she’s my little girl).

    Perhaps, Lapin, you could negotiate a discount with the stabler since there are altogether 4 donks (that should surprise him anyway?). I’m sure the equines would enjoy an occasional change of scenery too.

    I’m sorry you think the donkeys are not up to the walk along the ridge. That probably means we’ll never see a picture of Matilde like this one? A shame. I thought donkeys were good at all those mountain passes and things. Or is that yaks? I forget now.

  4. GC says:

    Can I impose on your status as a geographer? I heard somewhere that the Iberian peninsula is really a bit of North Africa that got away and hence the arid landscapes, headlands, mountains, Pyrenees and Barbary apes.. Is it all true?

  5. Frere Rabit says:

    No, GC, it is quite untrue. If you replay the tectonic plate movement over hundreds of millions of years, the Iberian section starts off as an island, then eventually gets attached to the Eurasian plate (Pyrenees are the consequence), while the African plate squashes the Penninsula continually. It will eventually disappear in 100 million years time, while the British Isles continues much as they look today.

    No more World Cup after that, Spain?


  6. Banyuls Billy says:

    Couldn’t you get a local punter in to look after the beasts? Cheaper than stabling. Similarly a UK person who will have a bit of a hol.

    (I am pleased that you did not write ‘peninsular’ as many of your countrymen do. That, as you know, is an adjective.)

  7. Frere Rabit says:

    What my countrymen do with their peninsulars is quite unspeakable by anyone’s standards, but I try to avoid Benidorm most of the time.

  8. Frere Rabit says:

    Sorry GC: I just caught up with this comment. Aitana is my favourite too (but that is not to be said to the other three). The problem with some mountain walks is that a scramble up steep rocks is necessary, presenting two problems: 1. donkeys will refuse anything that looks too risky (unlike horses); 2. if they manage to go UP, that’s great, but coming DOWN can be doubly dangerous and sometimes impossible, due to leg movements.

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