Around The Island Toby’s tales

Posted on September 13, 2014

Words: Michelle Robertson

Toby Clarke is well known on the island. Mostly so for being the founder and leader of Walking Ibiza and the guy who’s now shown thousands of people the ‘other’ side of our paradise, from hidden beaches to its ancient history and the spots you’d always heard about but didn’t know how to get to. Being born and spending a large chunk of his childhood here, it’s fair to say Toby has a special connection to Ibiza and since he and his trusty dog Cosmo began trekking around the island in 2011 and organising group and private walks, he has opened up a whole new sector that’s captured the imagination and hearts of an international community. During this time, Toby says he’s met some amazing people and many have utterly amazed and surprised him. In advance of this year’s Around the Island Walk – The Adventurer – which begins on October 12 and is 11 days of discovering the sheer beauty of Ibiza while covering almost 250km, Toby shares some of his most memorable moments since he began organizing his island treks and community and private walks…


Trust In Me
One morning on my very first ever Around the Island walk in 2011 I was walking over the brow of a mountain in the middle of nowhere, freezing cold, starving with no food left and ready to quit when suddenly, the sun hit me. I felt a massive shiver run right through my body and the word TRUST hit me like a bolt of lightning. It was like Ibiza was talking to me. About a minute later this guy appeared from absolutely nowhere, recognized me from an article that had been in the press about the walk, told me I had to carry on and gave me all the food and water that he had. I couldn’t believe it.

Dogs Don’t Have A Sixth Sense
Also on my first ever Around the Island walk I got very lost because I was using Cosmo as a guide. I thought he’d be good at it. He wasn’t. At one point there was a split in the path and I had no idea which way to go. Suddenly I spotted a huge dragonfly hovering over one of the paths and I decided to go that way, then to do the same for the rest of the walk. Sure enough I found my way back on track. I started to actually think it was the same dragonfly that was showing me the way… Or maybe it was a little Tanit in disguise.


The Mirage
We were doing a really popular community walk in San Miguel where we visit five lookout points. As we were about to go down to visit the helipad near the Hacienda Na Xamena, some of the group were getting really tired and thirsty and decided to stay at the top and wait for us to come back. We set off and all of a sudden these two vans pulled up and out the back of one of them these guys brought out a wheelbarrow FULL of ice-cold drinks. On ice. Just what we needed on a blistering hot day. At the end they wouldn’t give us any because they were for a party but still, we were pretty shocked!

Love And The Hidden Booze
Sometimes I like to surprise the walkers as much as Ibiza surprises me. Last Valentine’s Day we did a beautiful walk to Es Broll and romance was definitely in the air. As we reached one of the most beautiful spots I said ‘okay – now it’s time for Champagne’. They all looked at me and laughed until I reached down into the bushes and pulled out five ice-cold bottles of bubbly. Needless to say there was a lot of love in the air by the time we’d finished them all!


The Power Of Visualization
We organised a boat trip for 26 German ladies and as we were leaving the harbour I led a little meditation on deck. Part of this was to envisage dolphins. I said ‘ok let’s imagine them jumping out the water, let’s imagine how you would feel… etc. After five minutes we finished and I went inside the cabin to prepare the food when all of a sudden I heard a scream. I immediately thought someone had fallen overboard or got stuck in the propeller! I came running out, turned to my right, just in time to see two large dolphins jumping out the water and then disappearing into the deep blue sea. We were speechless.

Reaching Deep Inside
It’s amazing what people will do with a little bit of encouragement. I also organise kayaking trips from San Miguel and although people who’ve never done it before are always scared at first, the majority are usually going for it within minutes across deep water. The most timid, shy tourists will often start doing unexpected things, like climbing up the 8m high God’s finger at Benirras and then jumping off. It’s incredible to watch.


The Last Push
Overall the thing that most surprises me is the inner strength that people find when they don’t think they’ve got anything left to give. Maybe they’ve been walking for days and are exhausted but with the support of the rest of the group, they always manage to reach into themselves and find the energy to carry on. Many people have also had life changing experiences during the walks; some have decided to move here, some have discovered themselves, some have developed life-long friendships. It’s a beautiful thing to witness and I feel blessed every day I can bring these people together in such a special, magical paradise.

*To book your space on the Around the Island walk email or call 0034 608 692 901.
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