Breathtaking views, picturesque autumnal landscapes, delicious food – and even our first ever rescue mission by sea! Walking Ibiza’s 10th Anniversary weekend truly had it all…
Exactly 10 years ago, on 10/10/2010, our founder Toby Clarke and his loyal dog Cosmo – back then only a tender 9 months old – famously set off to walk around the entire coastline of Ibiza. With only a tent and a symbolical 1 Euro coin in Toby’s pocket, the duo relied on good fortune and the welcoming spirit of the island to complete their mission. And what was meant to be the adventure of a lifetime became the foundation on which Walking Ibiza was built!
60,000km worth of walks later, with countless new friends and many fantastic memories made, it was time to celebrate a decade of Walking Ibiza. Starting on Friday, October 9th, a weekend of our most popular walks awaited. Including ‘short and sweet’ routes to ‘Ibiza Henge’ near Cala Comte, as well as more challenging treks like our tour to ‘Atlantis’ and a new route to Tanit’s Cave, our ‘10 Walks To Celebrate 10 Years’ showcased the full spectrum of Walking Ibiza’s offering. Led by Toby himself, and our guides Sheila, Patrick, Tim, John and Roger, each of the walks finished with a delicious lunch at the beautiful countryside restaurant Can Cires in Sant Mateu.
One of our most striking routes is the walk to Bill’s Paradise close to the famous Puertas del Cielo, which border the picturesque village of Santa Inés. This popular walk was one of the first tours of the anniversary weekend and it was on this hike, led by Toby himself, that the Walking Ibiza team’s mettle was truly put to the test!
Setting off on the autumnal campo lanes that run through the famous almond tree orchards of Santa Inés and passing through a traditional Ibicencan farm, after a gentle walk through fragrant pine forests we made the descend to the hidden cove of Bill’s Paradise. With a smattering of tiny fishermen’s huts, striking rock formations and the most incredible turquoise waters, it is the perfect place for a swim-stop and picnic. With the sun beaming down on us, and the sea almost completely still the conditions were ideal for a refreshing October bath.
So it came as a complete surprise when, all of a sudden, one of our walkers emerged from the sea as white as a sheet and with his eyes wide open – in an apparent state of shock. A healthy young man, he appeared to be close to fainting. Thankfully, after sitting him down on the rocks in the sunshine, with plenty of water and snacks to boost his circulation, he soon returned to a stable state. Nevertheless, it was clear that he wouldn’t be able to make his way back up the strenuous mountain path we had come down.
There was only one thing for it: he would have to be transported back by boat. How convenient, then, that we found ourselves in a spot with zero phone reception! Keeping his calm, Toby used his Walkie-Talkie to connect to one of the boats out at sea, which in turn contacted the coast guard. To have a ‘back-up connection’, our second guide on this tour, Patrick, climbed all the way back up to the top of the cliffs to regain network coverage and also contacted the emergency services. After a little wait, during which our group rallied together to keep up everyone’s spirits, the coast guard arrived and transported the young man to safety. It was a true testament to the community spirit that we pride ourselves on at Walking Ibiza!
With the patient safely seen off, the rest of the group made their way to a well-deserved lunch at Can Cires in Sant Mateu, where a feast of country chicken and vegetarian options awaited. Island-favourite singer Nell Shakespeare regaled us with her powerful vocals, before it was time for Toby to make a speech.
“It’s just putting one foot in front of the other, but the simple act of walking truly has the power to transform people’s lives. It leaves impressions with them for years,” he said. “I think that’s so incredible, and as a society we have almost lost the habit of walking. You are here today because you have walked, and I urge you to keep walking because it really is an incredible thing to be doing.”
It was fantastic to see so many familiar and loyal faces amongst the groups, too, including Mitch, Charlie and Samir, who were the first walkers ever to be guided by Toby and encouraged him to start doing regular tours. Podcaster Jo, who braved the first ever Around The Island Adventure back in the day, joined to interview Toby for her show, alongside many other friends who have supported and walked with us over past decade.
After a fantastic weekend, the celebrations are not over just yet! Starting on Saturday, October 17th, you will have the chance to tackle Walking Ibiza’s famous ‘Around The Island Adventure’ by joining us on one – or more – of the weekly walks that will add up to circumnavigating all of Ibiza over the course of 10 weeks. Take a look at our Facebook page to find out more about each of the routes and join us to discover some of the island’s most breathtaking spots – and challenge your walking stamina!
Written by Olivia Ebeling
Photos by Andrei Oprescu