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Rumpus And Radar On The Puig de Randa

The small village of Randa sits comfortably at the foot of the Puig de Randa mountain (543 m) but, seems slightly bothered by Mallorca’s largest installation of Radar and other antennas disfiguring the flat top like a set of badly fitted dentures. The aggressive fixtures are quite a contrast to the Randa mountain’s three monasteries, the Santuario de Nostra Senyora de Gràcia, the Ermita de Sant Honorat and, at its summit, the Santuario de Nostra Senyora de Cura.

We went to Randa yesterday for a walk, in the pleasant company of friends, parked the car in the small pueblo and set off in gorgeous Autumn sun to conquer the elevation, for the first time ever on foot. Strolling past the Rentadors (washer women’s troughs) and Sa Font (water channels and well), we left Randa behind us and soon enough found the age-old donkey trail on the other side of a metal gate marked with a green dot. In less than thirty minutes, the path took us to the first of the three monasteries, Gràcia, this one being the only one of the three on this mountain not inhabited by monks any longer. Noise from the kitchen suggested that a meal was being prepared, though, possibly for a family feast such as a birthday, a communion or a wedding. The Oratorio (church) was open; even though I must have been up here 20 times over the last 30 years, it was never open before when I passed by, so in we all went. Of the three churches on this small mountain, this one is the most alluring by far, having been lovingly restored some 45 years ago.

It took us another 20 minutes or so to reach Sant Honorat. I believe this hermitage is still being used by monks or retired priests, but, we met none. Instead, there were two or three groups busy with Yoga exercises, reunions or New Age gatherings, creating relative rumpus for what I understood to be a place of solitude and silence. Still, a gorgeous place in a peaceful setting, affording stunning views over the beauty of Mallorca’s landscape with the sea and Cabrera in the distance.

The walk took us to the top of the Puig and the plateau of Cura. We must have met a dozen or more motorcycles, two dozen cyclists and only a handful of hikers such as ourselves before we got to the top. Halfway there, we spotted the seared and scorched area of woodland and Garriga (shrubs) where a fire had raged only a few days ago. The Santuario de Cura had to be evacuated last Wednesday as a preventive measure, but, was back in full swing and as busy as you could imagine when we arrived there two hours after having set off from Randa. I had been here on many occasions and had never liked the huge golf ball-shaped Radar monster but, this time, arriving on foot, it troubled me more than ever. What a spoil for an otherwise heavenly place.

The walk took us two hours for the 5 km on the way up, including visits to the two monasteries, and just under an hour on the way down for the same route but, without the two visits. We were lucky with the weather. Temperatures were around the 25° C but, the wind chill factor was quite severe on top of the Puig. An alternative circular route is suggested on Wikiloc.com (wikiloc/825814) just this side of 8 km with a length of a little under 6 hours. See which one you might prefer.

The photos were taken near Randa, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: October 15th, 2011. The time was 13:25:40 and 14:13:51, respectively.

2 replies »

  1. Hi
    Curiously enough, you never mentioned the purpose of the Radar or Antenae installations. The antenae I assume are serving the village in some way and perhaps acting as relay stations providing TV signals to places which are difficult to serve. The radar is perhaps providing an early warning system (weather perhaps, airport linked?).
    I agree that they somewhat spoil the normally unbroken view but must be there for a very sound reason. Technology has no sympathy.

    • hi david,
      i guess like you that most antennae on the randa mountain are for the transmission of tv and radio signals as well as telephone and mobile phone communication. the larger ones, i imagine, are embodying radar installations. i think i’ve seen the name AENA somewhere, suggesting the spanish airport authority enterprise, possibly checking air traffic plus weather patterns. there may also be some military use, like the one on puig major. some people speculate about gamma rays, possibly in use for matters of astronomy. i simply object to the massive dimensions of the lot, technological requirements notwithstanding.

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