I am late with this blog post because I have spent the last week in Mallorca doing a lot less than I normally would, which in itself is quite positive for mind and body.
As I hinted at in a recent blog post I was able to find a little time to explore the wilder parts of the island, walking part of the GR 221 and here is a short video I made on the section from Port de Sóller to Tossals.
As always, before going away, I started researching the high points, interesting walks and areas of nature on the island. I had never been there before and, although I am way too old to party, I am not too old to climb a hill, rock or jump in a kayak.
I had half an idea to climb to the highest point in order to get, what I imagine would be, the most spectacular views but it turns out that the highest mountain in Mallorca is entirely closed to the public because it is a military base.
It reminded me that last month I was having to find an alternative route whilst hiking in Vojvodina, in Serbia. On that occasion my friend and I encountered a military facility and there was no going around it. It also got me clicking around the internet (avoiding work) and I came across a mountain that has been closed to the public for nearly 60 years and is about to hold a re-opening ceremony.
Mount Umunhum (Um, to the locals) was closed to the public since it was used as a radar surveillance post and subsequently "due to hazardous materials and unsafe, partially demolished structures from the former Air Force station”.
Mount Umunhum is the fourth-highest peak in California's Santa Cruz Mountains, and actually has quite an interesting and varied history, from Native Americans to the nearby quicksilver mines during the Gold Rush. During the Cold War the US Government procured it to build the Almaden Air Force Station, an early warning radar station that functioned from 1957 to 1980. Since it was closed to the public much has changed in the local area, not the least the “creation” of nearby Silicon Valley.
Whilst its history means Mount Um is far from what you might describe as wilderness, it is an interesting story nevertheless.
10 Mountains you will never climb
Access remains, of course, a hot topic in the world of outdoor enthusiasts all over the world, from the hills the UK to the Sacred Kingdom of Bhutan. Some of it is environmental, such as nesting birds, and some of it is down to landowners asserting their rights. Rights that you would imagine can be fought for… but there are some mountains that you will never climb. So this week we published a list of the 10 Mountains You Will Need Climb (Probably). Enjoy!