Walk on: Lent 2021 - Episode Five
Well, Good morning, you can see we're out in the countryside today We've moved away from the beach and you see a bit of the hills and the rugged terrain behind us, because we're going to the Pantano of Elche The Pantano de Elche It's the dam of Elche and it's a nice walk up we're not quite sure whether that's going to be any water in the waterfall but there was rainfall a few weeks ago so we'll see So come and join us on the journey! It must be a footpath because there's a sign here that says "footpath" or something similar it appears as though there´s steps to walk down which should be fun with the camera sure-footed down the steps The canals are full. So yeah that's encouraging about the water actually if we've got water flowing down that means it's actually coming out of the top of the reservoir I wonder how old these channels are then? These channels are as old as the reservoir - 17th century and these channels go all the way into Elche and the water also ran the flour mills as well as feeding the olives the vegetables and the palm trees - all from the dam up here well you said the reservoir was 17th century but it's my understanding that it's the dam that was 17th century They built the dam to stop it but the reservoir was there right from Roman times "What did the Romans do for us?" Well they used this as a Reservoir and built Aqueducts to take the water down to "Illice" Had to be rebuilt when it was set fire how you get a dam full of water to be on fire? I know it's collapsed a couple of times It collapsed a few years ago actually but it's been rebuilt We can see some mini waterfalls down there if i can turn the camera around and we are literally, as the crow flies, about a mile and a half from Elche City Centre you could be in another universe Erm, well I'm not sure about another universe Little bridge for us to go over - makes it a proper journey We've got another sign for us to look at 930 meters it is up here so that's where that's where we're going to I think There's a bit more upwards climbing this time i don't know how I can do this and stay next to you I must admit No, you probably won't be able to I think you go ahead and I'll just follow because there's people coming down as well Buenos Dias Mucho trabajo Pero, necessito ejercicio Appears to be a high road and a low road to take but at the moment we're taking the low road after climbing up to the high road. There's viaducts all the way around actually well lots of pipelines or channels They might be the channels that originally go back to the Roman times yeah there's a little mini waterfall there we can see It's filling the channels you can tell we had rain a few weeks ago I'm fairly sure that these channels are actually from an earlier time I mean in some ways I think there isn't any other way for it to go because it's coming down from the mountains through the valley isn't it? The first bit of the journey is following the valley as the water works his way down from the reservoir towards the city.
Maybe this is the bit that's been replaced by the high road It is a path of some description because it it goes through the bushes Somebody with a machete and a pith helmet has cut the way through these trees have all been pruned actually quite recently to presumably clear the path Oh yes, we're coming to some steps up the cliffside I'll have to follow you here Another little steep section It´s the first time we´ve done a walk like this so not quite sure whether the technology that we've developed will "cut the mustard" as it were That's another strange phrase as well isn't it? Why should "cutting the mustard" be a specifically difficult job to do? Seeing as mustard actually is pretty soft That's why you can't cut it it just fills back in you can't cut a slice You think that's what it is? Yes. but "cutting the mustard" actually means that it does the job doesn't it? It doesn't cut the mustard, so if you can find something that cuts mustard, that does do the job I´m not totally convinced by your argument yes, we could have come across there that's the high road This is probably one of the old viaducts isn't it actually? or footbridge actually, but it looks more like a viaduct because you've got the channel going down the middle, it's all filled in now Walking through this little narrow channel so we definitely can't fit two of us in side by side for this bit Certainly can´t. Hewn out of the rock now I suppose we have a choice of route here because we could walk across there. Could we? I couldn't walk across there. No I couldn't either We've definitely picked an able-bodied walk today Yes. You'd struggle with a wheelchair or something down here I'm struggling enough with hips that don't work yeah oh that wasn't a straightforward bit Gracefully done Pride comes before a fall I suppose hiking and walking hasn't really been part of your heritage Julie particularly But I used to spend a lot of time in the Lake District These aren't really hills compared to the Lake District But the paths here actually aren't too bad What paths? No, these are good pass actually.
I can hear the sound of the water now You can, the good paths are a little bit dry as well i suppose that's the advantage that Spain footpaths have got is that there's often a lot less rain Over the bridge it's like a brook It is like a brook it is actually the river Vinalopo isn't it? Yes, which goes right the way through Elche and that provides all our agricultural water It does, and further up north the whole valley is where a lot of the wines are produced produces the water for the grapes You've put a few times on Facebook pictures of when it floods in the centre of the city, yes Half the time it's dry and looks like the channel from the "Greased Lightning" scene in Grease Where they go down that bit that's actually filmed in San Diego between San Diego and Tijuana It's often dry but then at certain times when the water comes in and floods it a bit more then it's a big river I've been naughty for safety. I've taken my mask off because there's nobody else around I can't see because my glasses keep steaming up, but I need to see on these paths So I'm wearing it on my wrist. a new bracelet We've had all the complaints last week about the sexist statements but you managed to just keep your job but today it'll be the "you weren't wearing a mask you're compromising everybody's safety" Last time we came there was very little water, there's lots I´m sort of fairly hopeful for the waterfall itself But, interestingly, at least I think it is, there's no fishermen here Will there be fish in the reservoir? oh yeah, of course there are what, can the fish jump over the dam? uh probably not that bit, but just in this water i suppose it depends on how permanent it is really, if it's only temporary Life will find a way All the bulrushes I think you´ll find Moses down there Moses will be hiding, to come and save his people this is really pretty It's beautiful What we haven't done is chosen a long pilgrimage walk during Lent We've done lots of shorter ones and I suppose one big advantage of that is you get a big variety don't you? yes sadly physically, I don't think I'm up to a pilgrimage well you'd have to unpick what that meant wouldn't you? Because it doesn't have to be a big long strenuous walk like the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage is obviously just more about the the journey isn't it really? You have to have an aim as well. Because pilgrims usually are going from and to somewhere aren't they?
There is a journey of place as well. I can hear voices I´d better put my mask on oh they're carrying theirs yeah, I'm not sure whether the camera picked that up but they did exactly the same thing as Julie´s just done - put the mask on when there´s people It's the same gender difference, It was the lady behind who didn't have the mask on the gentleman was being well behaved and the lady was being naughty This is a gentleman without a mask on, he´s going to put it on look People are very well behaved though, aren´t they? in the middle of nowhere and they put a mask on the minute a person arrives you know you're heading in the right direction when you can still see the arrows if life was just the same how easy that would be There´s just the first glimpse of the Dam Is there? I can't see it. Oh i can! and there is water in it, that's the good news yes how lovely wow! so as you can see the views are very different this week from the views that we've had that's really pretty And this is the old electric hydropower station it's not used anymore It used to be, hydroelectric power was developed here wasn't it? Yes, this dam is now not used as a dam which is why the waterfall is over the top all the time this is not used as a dam they actually pump it from further north don't they? It had this important purpose that's rather nice it is nice but that's the height that we need to get to OK, so we're at the top of the Pantano you can see the reservoir and just see a bit of the water going across the edge and there's a nice little boardwalk just to have a walk down The start of it just is a boardwalk then it goes into the reedbeds we can go a little way I think okay there are quail here. Apparently quail are quite rare now.
Cordoniz They stop here on their way across -migrating - well apparently now some don't move on and they've started nesting here which is quite unusual there's also meant to be some Otter they're not seen very often What's that over there? that's just a bird bathing, sorry That's "just" a bird? No, I was hoping it was an otter. An otter would have been exciting, that was all I was quite concerned about how the weather would be today but actually once we got going i thought it was a little ´otter It's quite a cool breeze up here. yeah rather nice actually we're having a walk around the reservoir now so you're leaving the boardwalk and onto more similar path terrain It's a good path to be honest You can tell it's hotter because there's lots of midges out now yeah, well we've got our insect spray and our sun cream on today Do you fancy doing a long distance walk? I would quite like - as long as it wasn't on the road - I don't fancy walking miles on a road and walking at this sort of terrain you wouldn't get many many miles a day would you? Well, not at this speed. I suppose if I had enough free time and capacity I would possibly quite like it but this is one of the aqueducts - the old ones I´m not clever enough to know exactly when We are very close here actually to the route ,because although Santiago de Compostela is the center for the Camino and the standard Camino that people usually recognize as "The Camino" is the one that goes from southern France across northern Spain But there's routes going from all over the place and there's one from Alicante not far from here but the route passes pretty close by this section of reservoir Is it something you would like to do? well we've known several people that have done it or done the sections of it and done it in different ways we've done about half a mile of it well we've visited the town yeah it's not the same as taking the journey you can probably have different objectives one of which is getting to the place and celebrating that so it could be an achievement sort of thing one could be understanding yourself as you go through the changes and reflecting on the moments that sort of thing i mean we've got that this series by doing seven of these and it does take quite a long time to do them But we've been to some beautiful places that I've never taken the time out to visit really properly and think about This is just amazing up here We're probably about two and a half miles maximum from the centre of Elche a city of 250 000, yeah thereabouts People obviously observe disciplines and fasting for Lent and give up things but if you did it for that sense of achievement I'm not sure? I can't say that's not valid it's just it's different isn't it? It depends if it's an achievement or if actually you need to test yourself and you need the achievement for the test to keep you - for the stamina to see if you've even got it have you got the capability of going that far? The end result may be achievement but actually what have you learned about yourself ? and whether you can manage it - I know people who haven't thought they'd get to the end and it's been almost breaking to do so , and actually learn about yourself on the journey for the achievement as well journaling your thoughts through the journey can be helpful, but sometimes as the phrase goes you can't see the wood from the trees it's not always easy to see the context of something when you're in it I look back at my teens and twenties and talk about the different mountains I went up in the Lake District and if truth be told if you took me back to that moment some of it was pretty grim! I was walking in fog and mist and pouring down with blisters and carrying a huge great rucksack but when you look back at it was "Oh, the happiest time of my life" So you don't always see the context of something when you're in it I mean, 2020 2021 Covid, how do you feel in the middle of that? How did you feel the first time you go out to a supermarket and what will we think back in a few years time? i have no idea I've brought water and I brought more date cake because this is my homage to your Kendal Mint cake when you walked in the Lake District because Date and Walnut cake gives you some protein and some sugar so that we can continue all our energy has been used up They'll probably put that on all the wrapping of the Date and Walnut cake in the future because on the original Kendal mint cake wrapping it was Hillary and Tensing when they went up Everest and I think the wording was something like "And they surveyed the view and nibbled Kendal Mint Cake" now whether they did or not, i have absolutely no idea - whether or not they took Kendal Mint Cake or whether whether the whole expedition to the top of Everest was sponsored by Kendal Mint Cake Or they're just thinking of the energy yeah well that was its brand Neat sugar i've always found that's the best food for diabetics well this has got natural sugar with the dates and then it's got walnuts in it which will give you a bit of protein Just to help us do the other half of the walk although it hopefully will be a little easier going back down than it was climbing up To be honest, it's not as high as Malham Cove is it? Oh no but I wouldn't intend to climb malham cove I´d park at the top yeah that's the difference yeah Ive climbed up this bit which feels like - back to achievement it feels like an achievement and now i need a place to rest Achievement , Rest, Reflection Peace so peaceful up here But Jesus wasn't really going in the wilderness to to pray and to fast to see whether he could do it. to give himself a badge That wasn't about achievement was it? That was about emptying yourself because presumably if He was aware of the final mission there's no greater emptying so there was a "Praxis" - there was a discipline of practice that he participated in that presumably was very difficult and of course there was all the temptations as well in that situation I suppose the Bible describes it as as as the Devil tempting him rather than testing himself but temptations, testing - ? I don't know Do you think it's a positive thing knowing you get to the journey's end and you're going back? Knowing that you get to the journey's end? yeah , knowing that you're getting there the end of our walk Oh! I thought you were making some deep and meaningful statement about life and the exit from life! well, it could be a metaphor for either and there's also a joy in returning home Yeah! we're back on the boardwalk again hopefully I´ll sleep well tonight - this has been a long walk i'm just positioning the waterfall so that it's washing my hair And they sat by by the reservoir, and nibbled Date and Walnut cake wild boar hmm A Duran Duran song just went through my mind then but it's not called Wild Boar is it it's Wild Boys! i was thinking ´Wild Boar´(vocalises) no it's like a nature film okay and there's weasels and stoats as well but i won´t little otter, snakes, we like snakes