|Bernia from Callosa
|Estimated net time||4-5 hours|
No difficulties up to the fort and to
Beria's west ridge. Along the ridge there are two points which will
require the use of hands.
The first section, which is supported by a metal chain, has some exposure but is not technically difficult if the rock is dry.
The second point, which is a narrow gap, has no exposure and the scrambling is even easier than the first scramble.
|Drinking water||No access to running water.|
|GSM coverage||Coverage throughout the route (May 2012).|
|Parking||Room for a couple of cars at trail head, and more cars further down along the mountain road.|
|Start height||289 metres|
|Vertical metres||865 metres for the roundtrip.|
|Trip distance||10.4 km|
Overview of route to Bernia from fort.
From motorway A-7 along the coast between Alicante and Valencia exit north onto road Cv-70 at junction 65, close to Benidorm. Drive approximately 9 km to the round-about in Polop and exit towards Callosa on road Cv-715. Drive approximately 4.1 km to the round-about in the centre of Callosa and continue another 1.8 km on Cv-715 to where the road for the water centre (Les Fonts de L'Algar) exits right. Continue another 1.6 km, and just above Les Fonts de L'Algar, turn left. Drive 1.0 km uphill, and then fork left onto a mountain road. Drive 250 metres along this road and find parking on either side of the road. Note that there is an open space on the right side of the road, which might be used for parking.
Walk uphill along the mountain road, and turn sharp right onto a wide path after 290 metres. Then turn left onto a more narrow path after another 110 metres. Follow this path up to a ruin at approximately 610 metres, 1.5 km from the start of the path. From here the path widens to a forest road, and you should stay on this wide path 1.1 km and turn left onto a path signed for "Fort". Follow this path up to a path junction at 810 metres. Turn right and walk the few tens of metres to the old fort at 815 metres.
From the fort head uphill towards the west end of the long Bernia ridge. When you get up towards the south wall of Bernia you will find red paint marking the route up to the ridge. When you get onto the ridge turn right and head east towards the summit. You will soon get to a point where you will need to use your hands, and there is some exposure. This section has a chain attached to the rock to allow an easier climb. Soon after this section there's another section requiring scrambling, but there's very little exposure. Once above this point follow the red paint and the fairly well defined path to the summit, which is marked by a concrete cairn.
Descend by reversing your ascent route.
08. May 2012
Elisabeth and Njål wanted to join me for this hike, and we decided to make it a day out, with some sightseeing as well as a hike. We left Gran Vista after breakfast and drove to where we expected trail head to be, outside the town Callosa. Here we located a large map on a board, showing the route to Bernia. There was also another party looking at this map while we were there, a group of three Scandinavians. We left the map before them, in search of trail head, but after having driven a couple of kilometres without finding the trail head we turned around and came back to the map. While driving back we met the Scandinavians, and assumed they had made the same mistake as us when interpreting the map. Back at the map we spotted our mistake and drove the opposite direction from our first attempt.
When we arrived at what we expected to be trail head we didn't find any signs towards Bernia, but we decided to have a go. But we found confirmation that we were on the right track when we saw a sign after 300 metres. Unfortunately we missed the next exit and soon found out that we were not heading in the right direction. After a little bit of searching we decided to go back, and this time we spotted a small cairn and a path heading uphill. From here it was easy navigation up to the fort below Bernia.
Elisabeth and Njål decided to relax by the fort while I attempted the summit, which I suspected might have some difficult scrambling sections. But as I started my hike up from the fort and found a well defined path I remembered what Arnt had told me on several occasions; if there is a well defined path then a lot of people have hiked the route, which means it cannot be very difficult. And up at Bernia's north ridge I found that Arnt's words, as always, were correct; this route required some easy scrambling, but was not more difficult than that most people can do it comfortably.
At the summit I had a great view to both cost and mountains, which I enjoyed and captured on memory card, before heading back down to Elisabeth and Njål by the fort. From here we started our descent, which eventually produced a big surprise; when we got down to the flat section at around 630 metres we met the three Scandinavians we had met before our hike. This was 2½ hours later than we had passed this point while ascending, and it turned out they had messed around for all this time trying to find the trail head. They asked us how we had managed to find the trail head, and I was milliseconds away from doing a big-headed "if you have some mountain experience you learn to read the mountains, etc, etc.", but Elisabeth got in just ahead of me and very politely responded that we had driven back to the map and on a second inspection had found the correct road to drive in order to find the trail head. They still had plenty of time left of the day, so I assume they made it to the summit, if that's where they were heading.
Back at the car we decided to drive down to the water park below trail head, which was nice enough. We also got the chance to buy a yellow fruit we had seen on so many farms in the area. Before buying it we were offered to taste, and it tasted very refreshing and nice. We had never seen this fruit before, and I still don't know the English name for it. The whole concept reminded me of the Austrian marillen (apricots), with stands along the road selling the fresh fruit, and also all kinds of marmalades and liquors. After the water park we drove to the nearby village Polop, where we walked up to the small top with the old religious building of some kind, and also visited the square with the fountains. Then back to Gran Vista and the pool before a well deserved dinner.