Hiking the Dry Stone Route, Mallorca, Spain

Back on the hoof Part I

Hiking the Dry Stone Route Mallorca

I hadn’t done an overnight hike since leaving New Zealand, and a weeks’ stopover in Mallorca seemed like a great opportunity to get out for a walk. I did a little research, and came across the Ruta de Pedra en Sec – ‘The Dry Stone Route’. In the olden days, olden day Mallorcans built a network of cobbled pathways that linked remote communities in the rugged Serra de Tramuntana mountains. Today’s Dry Stone Route walk is comprised of 8 main stages and sidetracks, enabling hikers to access some spectacular country.

After picking up a Nissan Micra hire car and folding myself up to get in it, I drove the beautiful coast road from Mallorca’s capital city Palma up to the town of Soller. Soller is nestled half way up the Tramuntana Mountain chain, which runs the length of the north-west coast of the island.

North-west coast of Mallorca
Mallorcan north-west coast

After parking the car illegally, I headed to an outdoors shop where I hoped to pick up a map of my intended hike – Stage 5 of the Dry Stone Route. When I arrived the shop was closed. It’s amazing how many shops have neglected to mention on their still-active websites that their bricks-and-mortar stores are actually closed. After swearing a bit, I took the opportunity to grab some hiking food from the grocer next door, who asked me how on earth I had got in to Spain.

When I got back to the car, which thankfully hadn’t been towed away, I assessed the situation. I had no map: pretty much the most basic essential item you should take on any hike. I was considering doing a strenuous walk in a mountainous, relatively remote part of a country where I knew nothing about the environment, or the climate, and I couldn’t speak the language…and I didn’t have a map. After much consideration, common sense prevailed, and I decided to press on regardless.

The walk left from the the little village of Biniaraix on the outskirts of Soller. From the information I could glean from the net, the walk was apparently well signposted, so I figured if I could find the starting point I’d be right from there. Possibly.

Hiking the Dry Stone Route Mallorca
Behind the village the mountains loomed…

Following the directions, I arrived at the starting point and sure enough found a sign for the GR-221 (I’m buggered if I know why they chose ‘GR-221’ as a code for the walk, but I guess it fits on sign posts more easily than ‘Ruta de Pedra en Sec’). Now as most streets in Mallorca are too narrow to permit two cars to pass each other, it’s bloody hard to find somewhere to park. I eventually found a place where I could leave the car, without it looking like I had run out of fuel and simply abandoned it in the middle of the road. I slung on my backpack and headed off.

The first hour and a half was a steep climb over cobbled pathways, through pine forest and olive groves, and I have to say I was feeling it. However it was great to be out of town and into the bush, and the steep country afforded some amazing views.

In addition to the cobbled pathways, the old Mallorcan’s had also built terraces and stone walls, presumably to stop the shepherds and their flocks continuously falling down the mountains.

Hiking the Dry Stone Route Mallorca
Terraces, Mallorca
Shifting all that rock would have been a bastard of a job

I reached the highest point of the hike in the late afternoon, and got some fantastic views down the mountain range to Cuber Lake.

Hiking the Dry Stone Route Mallorca
From high up in the canyon, the Comanche watched the lone white man approach

I walked around the lake as the sun set behind the towering rock walls, then looked for a suitable place to camp. Bedding down in the bivvy bag amongst the pine trees, I fell asleep to the tinkle of sheep bells. It was my first night camping in many months and I slept soundly.

Sheep, Mallorca
‘Who are you calling skinny legs?’
Accommodation sorted

Next morning, the sunrise over the mountain range was amazing, and the cool of the morning just perfect to begin the descent. I usually like to walk loop hikes, so I don’t have to backtrack over the same country. Although the way down was the same as the way up, the views were so spectacular it didn’t matter.

Hiking the Dry Stone Route Mallorca
I can see the sea
Hiking the Dry Stone Route Mallorca
The walk was very well sign posted, which was a relief

I wound my way back down the cobbled paths, and after arriving back in Biniaraix was relived to find the car had not been removed or wheel clamped.

Biniaraix Village

After walking a single stage of the Dry Stone Route, I have only caught a glimpse of the 90km long Tramuntana Mountains. But what I did experience certainly was impressive, and I can definitely recommend getting out and exploring them on the hoof.

For more on the Dry Stone Route click here

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6 responses to “Hiking the Dry Stone Route, Mallorca, Spain”

  1. Vicki Avatar

    Even on skinny hoofs! How cute were those sheep! Scenery gorgeous too. Great pics!

    1. Jim Clayton Avatar
      Jim Clayton

      Glad you liked the pics! The sheep have really stacked on the fur to cope with the chilly mountain winter

  2. Kat Avatar

    Those sheep are adorable …. & tho you didn’t count them, they lulled you to sleep nonetheless.
    And thku for the 18 sec footage of alpine steep jaw dropping amazingness ! Bloody lucky u are sturdy of foot (despite your munted arches ;<}}♡)

    1. Jim Clayton Avatar
      Jim Clayton

      Haha they did indeed lull me to sleep! Yeah Mallorca does steep really well. Thankfully my arches of munt haven’t been causing me too many problems!

  3. Changa Avatar

    Better than Begs Spide, who took only an uncooked potato to Mt Feathertop for an overnighter

    1. Jim Clayton Avatar
      Jim Clayton

      Yeah that’s under catering for sure. Did Begs at least take matches and aluminum foil?

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