Whilst waiting for the risk of heavy rain and a storm to pass over; I scoured the map for a short walk that would get me out in the fresh air, yet keep me close enough to shelter if the heavens opened. So there on the map, a little above the ski resort village of Cerler; I spotted a circular walk that would take me to three waterfalls in a sheltered valley.
There is ample free parking in Cerler; with the ski lift car park being open all year round. If you cannot park on the street; just follow the signs for the ski station.
There is very little height gain on this walk; which makes it an option for the young and old. I saw children less than five years old walking happily alongside their parents so bring everyone you know! Or it is an ideal rest/ recovery day for the more able athlete.
Parking on the main road; I chose to do this walk in a clockwise direction, to take in the old town of Cerler and then climb to the highest point early in the walk. So carefully following trusted Google maps; I walked almost out of the town again before turning off up a steep pavement. Climbing up through the streets; I passed yet another picturesque church and a brasserie called El Rincon. Without sign posts but just Google maps; I carried on up through the town. Bidding good day to an old fellow; who looked well on high mountain life.
After passing a car park on my left; I took a right fork and passed the last house. It is only here that I saw signs for the ‘Tres barrancos’ or three waterfalls.
Carefully passing other walkers; we bid good day whilst hastily putting on our masks in this time of a global pandemic. Yet soon, I had passed the last descending walker as I left the rooftops and treeline behind me. I stopped and paused at a sign explaining how the steep uneven mountainsides, shaped by glacial action; were too steep for agricultural machines. The few crops that the inhabitants could grow by hand were never enough to feed the village so more food had to be brought in.
The three waterfalls
After just two miles I arrived to a steep cirque like bowl; shaped by three grandiose waterfalls. It was late summer and no rain had fell for the last week; so although the waterfalls were flowing; there force was nothing compared to the spring thaw or autumn thunderstorms.
The first waterfall had the sinister title of: ‘Cascada de la Mascarada’. Which in English translates to the ‘cascade of the masquerade’; for those of you not fluent in Spanish or Latin for that matter. What a sinister name, aye? Perhaps, it has caught out the unsuspecting tourist and washed some poor souls down the valley? I carefully but quickly moved on.
The second waterfall, named presumably after a local squire: ‘Barranco del Cllotet’; was wide but low on water for lack of recent rainfall. However by looking at the smooth worn stone; I could see that this waterfall had a respectable force!
Cascada del Bom
The final waterfall on our route is the star of the show. Tucked in a corner; its natural awe grows as you walk closer. Taking care on the narrow and slippery path; I rounded a bank and was met with an awesome sight of mother nature. Doing up my rain jacket for the constant spray; I stopped and stared for over ten minutes! The power of gravity, pulling the water down; the sounds of splashing and gurgling water; the elegant majesty of the spray as it caught the rocks and light on its ever downward journey.
What a wonder of nature; waterfalls truly are! I took a short video that you can see above; yet a camera can never do it justice. Come and see for yourself!
The gentle return to Cerler
I noticed that many walkers were doing this route in reverse to me; which is fine. Yet I preferred my way because the climb was at the beginning of the route. In addition; the route gave me the best vistas of the waterfalls as I made my approach. Whats more, the river side walk back towards Cerler; continued the natural feel of the water in my mind. Some pious fellow must have felt the same draw to this area many years ago; for on this path I found a small chapel dedicated to that great believer of the Catholic faith: Saint Peter the Martyr.
The gentle path returned to Cerler via a holloway made from large stones. Presumably a method of herding cattle or maybe just to prevent the modern herds from eroding the earth too much.
I did this walk on a rainy Wednesday afternoon in September. This was reflected in the low number of walkers I saw on the route. Yet if the sun had been out or it was a weekend or August; expect this route to be as busy as any town centre.
I am always glad to see other people out keeping happy and healthy. Yet in places the path is narrow and the Spanish are famed for their lack of common manners that may come as a shock to northern Europeans. Stepping aside to let almost twenty people past; I received only one acknowledgement. Yet do not get disheartened for these characteristics are what help make a trip to Spain more exciting and adventurous; for us stuffy Englishmen, cold reserve is the ‘de-rigueur’!
Read the works of famous Hispanists; such as: ‘The face of Spain’ by Gerald Brenan or ‘The Spanish Temper’ by V.S. Pritchett and they made these same observations almost a hundred years ago. For example: do not be worried about the long stares when you walk into a bar they do it to their fellow countryman!
Even better, use your knowledge of the Spanish way of life to your advantage. For example: at the weekend they normally eat a large lunch with family that stretches into the afternoon; which is then followed by the haloed siesta. So come and do this walk in the afternoon of a weekday and be at one with mother nature.
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