THE Torrent de Pareis gorge remains one of the most unspoiled natural havens of the Tramuntana mountains.
Many excursionists, people from the islands, from the mainland of Spain or foreigners, go trekking in the natural water course searching for the sensation of being in touch with the original Majorca. Many are mountain lovers, but others set out on excursions to the Torrent without knowing where they are going or what they are going to find.
It is an unfortunate fact that the unwary can fall into grave danger.
Since the beginning of this summer, more than 60 people have been injured and one person has died in the Torrent de Pareis.
A 29 year-old woman from Bunyola died last month from the effects of dehydration. In many cases, lack of caution and inexperience of the terrain have been at the root of these catastrophes. The Red Cross operating out of Sóller explain that advice and recommendations are posted at the entrance to the Torrent but that “no one pays attention to them which is more than regrettable”. Likewise the director of the Red Cross, María Vazquez, suggested that it is basic common sense to “wear sensible shoes, and take with you supplies of water, sugar, food, ropes, and above all go armed with weather reports”. Váquez insisted that it is essential to keep to a time schedule and not to begin trekking later than 8 o'clock in the morning in order to avoid extremes of temperature. Going on an excursion without due care and attention is not the only cause of mishap. Inaccurate information provided by tourist guides can also contribute. Many do not give sufficient emphasis to the dangers of trekking in the Torrent and distort reality by stating that the walk only lasts three hours and is not demanding from the point of view of terrain. Few recommend taking precautions. The danger that lies in wait in this deceptive haven has always been the weather.
One of the largest gorges of the Torrent that was originally named “The Chimney”, changed its title following a tragic event to “The Chapel Gorge”. It was in 1948 when Antoni Riera Moragues, a priest in the monastery at Lluc in Northern Majorca set off on an excursion through the Torrent de Pareis towards “The Chimney” in order to take a cool dip in the waters of the gorge. The contrast between the high external temperatures and the icy water triggered a heart attack. Since that time, his name and a Cross, now disappeared, have formed part of the legendary backdrop of the Torrent. The Balearic government needs to take action to give a high profile to the dangers of the Torrent. The Red Cross has approached the Balearic government to ask for “concrete action to be taken to reduce the numbers of injuries and fatalaties that take place each year in the Torrent de Pareis”. Similarly, the Red Cross claim that government intervention is required to correct the information that is being given to visitors concerning excursions into the Torrent. Warnings and recommendations posted at the entrance to the water course need to be revised and upgraded and a law needs to be put in place to penalise those who don't take proper precautions.


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