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A lesson in map-reading skills

“I’ve lost the walking notes.”

“What do you mean, you’ve lost them?” “They were in my back pocket.” “You’ve got zips on your pockets. Why on earth didn’t you zip them up?”

We were on the first day of our walking holiday in the Tramantuna mountains of Mallorca and yes, I’d lost the detailed walking notes provided by our holiday company, Inntravel, for our self-guided trip that day. I sulked a bit, like a scolded child, whilst Dougie muttered to himself, exasperated by my stupidity.

I rallied. Heavens, I have a geography degree and we had a map. We could do this.

The walk had begun with a taxi drive from our hotel in the idyllic village of Fornalutx up the winding roads to the Cúber Reservoir. We had already trekked along the dam and could see the magnificent L’Ofre peak towering above us. The route would take us through a spectacular gorge before leading us back to the village.

It was the most breathtaking walk, zig-zagging down through the Barranc de Biniaraix on cobbled steps, a huge feat of drystone engineering on this stunning island. The descent was quite tough, particularly on my Mrs Overall knees which have never quite recovered from six months of rehearsals for Acorn Antiques in 2013, but I loved every minute of it.

Finally, after being transfixed by sea views, colourful wild flowers and a series of streams and waterfalls, we reached the village of Biniaraix for a welcome ice-cream stop. Looking at the map, I remembered the route should take us on a country road back to Fornalutx. Dougie wasn’t keen, as this road had been busy with traffic the previous day. He preferred to stay on the waymarked paths and we saw one which would avoid roads, if we pressed on a little to the tiny hamlet of Binibassi.

Feeling confident, we strode on, putting the map away as we knew we would recognise the markers when they appeared. Funnily enough, the signs didn’t

appear. In fact, the landscape became more urban and we found ourselves in a narrow, bustling street.

“This can’t be Binibassi,” said Dougie, as we peered into shops and art galleries. “It’s far too big.”

“Maybe it’s a ribbon development,” I offered, unleashing a geographical term I hadn’t used since sixth form.

“Maybe there’s a bus trip in,” countered Dougie, eyeing our fellow tourists.

When we reached a large square with a massive church at one side, we realised this was, in fact, the town of Sollér. We had mistakenly headed west out of Biniaraix rather than north, and had arrived at the very place we planned to walk to the next day, for our second hotel stop. But our bed for this night was still in Fornalutx. I was keen to just take a taxi but there wasn’t one at the rank so Dougie took charge and found a new route through the town and countryside, on paths which would lead us home.

“I like the look of Sollér,” I announced as we flaked out in the hotel gardens on our return. “Good to have had a recce before our official visit tomorrow.”

• You can read Trish’s blog at www.mumsgoneto.co.uk

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