Hill: Puig Campana
Date: Thursday 29th December 2016
Company: Just myself
On the run up to Christmas, I decided to book a last-minute holiday abroad from 27th December
2016 to 3rd January 2017. However, on checking holiday availability, I found there was very little
remaining, flying from Scotland, with the exception of Benidorm! I therefore
somewhat reluctantly decided to proceed as I did recall there being a nice
hill located nearby called Puig Campana.
On my first day in Benidorm, I walked from my fantastic spa hotel located next
to Poniente Beach along the coast to Levante Beach. During this walk, I got my first good look at Puig Campana.
Puig Campana from Balcón del Mediterráneo, Benidorm (zoom):
On seeing Puig Campana, I decided I definitely wanted to ascend it, but later in the week. I therefore decided to
head out again in the evening to explore the nightlife ending up in the
infamous CafeB! On waking, after having had only a few hours sleep, the weather outside looked so good, I decided to go for Puig Campana there and then. I quickly packed a few things into my rucksack and caught a taxi from Benidorm to Finestrat.
The taxi cost 17 Euros which I thought was great value for the opportunity to climb such a great-looking hill. The alternative in summer would have been to catch two buses to get there. In winter there
is no real alternative.
I was dropped-off circa 1km beyond Finestrat near Font del Molí.
At 1406m, Puig Campana is around 60m higher than Ben Nevis. I was about to ascend this hill with no map, no compass, no GPS, no transportation for getting back to Benidorm, no headtorch, no walking poles (my biggest regret!)
and no route. Basically, I was nowhere near as prepared as I would have been back home. However, I did know, from having previously
read an internet report, that I needed to ascend and descend via a steep
scree gully to the right of the impressive rock face. What could possibly go wrong!
I set off walking along a road and then a dirt track towards the hill.
Starting point near Font del Molí, Finestrat:
Crossing a water/flood channel:
Had the taxi dropped me off a few hundred metres further along the road, I would potentially have found a track leading all the way to the base of the gully. Instead I followed a faint path which
soon disappeared as I made my way up the hill.
Following traces of paths uphill:
Looking back during initial ascent:
As I made my way uphill, I came across various small marker cairns, so I wasn't overly concerned that I was not on a substantial track/path. I could also still see the impressive rock face ahead
the base of which I needed to reach.
Looking towards Puig Campana's steep rock face:
Looking back to Finestrat:
Eventually I cleared most of the trees beyond which the terrain and route-finding became easier.
Heading for the base of the gully:
Impressive rock face with ascent gully to its right:
As I progressed uphill, I could hear several voices. There were several people on the main track which was now just a short distance ahead. I would now stick to this track in ascent and all the way back down to wherever it originated from.
Onto the proper track at last:
Having previously read a report for this hill on WalkHighlands, I knew the scree gully ahead was fairly awful and wherever possible to stick to the right of the scree.
Heading up the lower section of scree:
I avoided the scree as much as possible by sticking to a waymarked route (red dots) to the right of the scree. This involved the occasional bit of
very easy scrambling.
Sticking to the right of the scree as much as possible:
Following occasional red marks up the rocks to the right of the scree:
It was now just a case of head up, and up, and up, and relentlessly up.
Looking back from about half way up the ascent gully:
I had a couple of brief stops during the ascent as I was feeling the heat. Despite having a limited rucksack, I did have 1.5 litres of water and factor
50 suncream which were both absolutely essential. Doing this hill in the heat of mid-summer would be
somewhat challenging. Doing it in mid-winter was tough enough.
Heading up again:
Onto the scree:
Lots of climbing potential here:
I was a touch disappointed to not find any wildlife whatsoever on the hill. No birds, no insects, nothing. I did however soon work out that it is not good to take hold of the bushes as all plantlife here is protected with much sharpness which will remove
both skin and flesh. Ouch!
Not too far now from the top of the gully:
Looking across to the top of the rock face from just below the top of the gully:
On reaching the top of the gully, I got good views looking down to Benidorm. This was certainly a different side to Benidorm from the likes of Voices, Scruffy Murphys and CafeB.
Once out of the gully, the ascent to the summit was straight-forward.
Onto much easier ground above the gully:
About 2Hr 30Mins after setting off, I reached the summit.
At the summit of Puig Campana:
Benidorm from the summit of Puig Campana:
View from the summit of Puig Campana:
At the summit of Puig Campana:
I decided to put the camera away at the summit and concentrate efforts on getting back down the scree safely without falling regularly. I managed down with only one tumble, but it was a
fairly spectacular one. If doing this hill, I would strongly recommend using poles.
On reaching the base of the gully, I followed the main track back down to Font del Molí. On reaching Font del Molí, two Swedish walkers offered me a lift down to Finestrat. In Finestrat, I visited the bar for a nice cool Fanta and then used Google and my phone to call a cab to come and collect me and take me back to Benidorm.
If you ever visit Benidorm, I would highly recommend an ascent of this hill.
To be fair, Benidorm isn't all bad. Poniente Beach and the Old Town are
pretty good. There are good bars and not so good bars. Voices is well worth
a look if you like a sing-song.