I seem to be spending a lot of time driving up and down the A7 at the moment but we have managed to get out the past two weekends and spend some time in the fresh and warm winter air…..

Lake Vinuela

Love the shape the shoreline makes

A perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon…

Snow up on Maroma

Down on the beach

Gently lapping tide…

I saw sea shells on the sea shore

Boats waiting for the summer season to start again

One of my most favourite ways to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon…… 🙂

Maroma – part 2

In March of this year we climbed La Maroma. It is the mountain that stands behind us here on the campsite in Iznate.

When we climbed it in March we did so from the other side to the one we look at everyday as this is the ‘ahem’ easier route; although at 6788ft easy is not something that you would immediately associate with it.

This weekend though we (well hubby actually) decided we should go and investigate it from our side of the mountain. If I didn’t know any better I would say that hubby has a slight ‘fixation’ with this mountain!!

The plan was to just climb some of it and then turn and head back as we had left it too late in the day to climb it all and more to the point after a lazy summer we are out of practice on the long walks!!

The weather was once again on our side and conducive to hiking and we set off at about midday and had a lovely few hours up on the mountainside. I can’t say that the lower parts of this climb are too different to the ones of the other side of the mountain but I am sure it gets steeper the higher you get.

We were lucky enough again to see four eagles circling overhead. I never tire of seeing these amazing birds gliding past as you get a glimpse into their world of crystal clear air and views for miles around.

Anyways, it was another lovely day out in the fresh air, walking, picnicking and chilling…….enjoy the photo’s 🙂

The walk started from the town hall in Canillas, see the small town about 1/3rd of the way up Maroma in the top picture. Canillas is a typical white washed Spanish village, all narrow streets and very steep!

Within no time at all we were looking back down on Canillas…

Lake Vinuela in the distance

Post picnic snooze……

Stunning views

Altogether now …. ‘high on a hill was a lonely goatherd lay odl lay odl lay hee hoo’

Trying out my new walking poles…..

Homemade mince pie and tea break on the way back down…

La Maroma

Hubby has been wanting to climb ‘La Maroma’ since we arrived here in November; standing at 6788 ft tall it rises up behind the campsite and dominates the skyline.

We had planned to climb it on saturday as the weather was looking good and after the events on friday we decided that we both needed the distraction and to go ahead with it.

Up and away from site nice and early it took us about an hour to drive around to the back of the mountain and then about another hour (due to poor signs!!) to find the start of the walk. The track down to the car park was four miles of ‘off road’ driving with pot holes the size of craters – driving is never boring around here, but eventually we got to the right place.

The walk starts at around 3300 ft so you are pretty much half way up already. It felt pretty ‘nippy’ when we got out the car and I could see my breath so I was glad of the gloves I had packed in my rucksack. The weather was forecast to be about 21 degrees but we knew that it would be colder up top and so took plenty of layers with us. However, the weather did the opposite of what we were expecting and got hotter the higher we climbed and by the time we were at the top we had shed all our layers and had them tied around our rucksacks and waists!!It felt like 25 degrees at the summit and there were people walking around in shorts and one chap who looked like he just had his underpants on – not what you expect at the top of a mountain!!

The first third of the walk was through woodland and the smell of the pine trees was fresh and intoxicating. We climbed steadily and got glimpses of the summit every now and then between the trees. It looked a long way up!! Once through the trees we started to climb more steeply and scramble up and over rocks. The path was posted and arrowed the whole way up which was a good job as the route was difficult to make out at some points.

We haven’t climbed anything of this height since leaving the Lake District ten years or so ago and with me in new walking boots (probably not my most sensible move but I got away with no blisters!!) we took it nice and steady with plenty of pit stops along the way – note to self; I need to do more cardio exercise!!

We reached the summit in a modest four hours and sat for an hour or so in the sunshine eating lunch and chilling out. The views were not as spectacular as we had been hoping for due to a heat haze but we could still see across to the Sierra Nevada mountains to the north. Our descent took us three hours and by the time we got back to the car we were both pretty exhausted. Seeing the car as we turned the last corner was a welcome sight and we celebrated with a nice cuppa and some chocolate (vegan but not raw!!) One of the nicest things about finishing a particularly long walk is the relief you get when you take your boots off. It is always a moment to be savoured and it didn’t disappoint!!

We were tired by the time we got back to Bessie but not so tired that we couldn’t enjoy a glass (or two) of chilled beer…….The last few days have been interesting in terms of ‘walking’ and getting around the caravan is proving hilarious but every time we step outside and see Maroma we get a renewed sense of achievement but strangely not a desire to repeat the experience. Hubby has promised that he wont want to climb another mountain for some time and I have it in writing just to make sure!!!

Sierra Nevada Mountains in background

View looking north towards Granada

First glimpse of the summit

Pathway getting steeper and more narrow. The scenery changed all the time and this part felt a bit like the film set from Lord of the Rings. At other times it felt like an old film called ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’ with narrow pathways cutting through big huge overhanging boulders.

For a while we seemed to be constantly stepping over lines and lines of caterpillars; all walking nose to tail through the undergrowth.

About a third of the way up and just before the ‘serious’ climbing got underway

Getting closer???

The first bits of snow

Halfway up and down to two layers!

Still doesn’t look any closer!

Ok, getting nearer now

Climbing higher

The end is in sight!

Views to the south and out to sea towards Africa (take my word for it!!)

Hubby at the top of the monument thingy at the top of the mountain! He started a craze with his pose as everyone was doing it once he had been up. Health and Safety would have a field day as the metal climbing bars were loose and rickety and an accident waiting to happen!!

More views…

Us at the summit

On the way back down. The first hour or so of descending. We are in stage two of the bliss/pain factor by now.

Stage one – climbing –  first its ok then it hurts

Stage two – descending – first its blissful then it hurts

Stage three – walking on level ground – first its blissful then it hurts like hell……

And remember we did this for FUN!!!!



Winter and kittens!!

As my sister just said to me via Facebook – ‘Can’t be hot all the time sis!!’ Disappointingly she’s not wrong. I guess you could say that winter has hit Iznate. We have snow on La Maroma; note to hubby – won’t be climbing that then until it’s cleared!! and its bloomin’ freezing.

Tried to practice some yoga down in the restaurant on site (they let us use it as it’s not open at the moment) but we gave up after 40 minutes as my nose was running and I was starting to shiver – and I had 2 tops, a fleecy and 2 pairs of socks on!!

I know we can’t expect good weather all the time and it is only the middle of January but last week it was 25 degrees and I was in shorts and vest!

The cats are refusing to go out and have taken over the bed instead so I am trying to work in the midst of them all. But on the up side it is nice and cosy in the caravan and we are still very lucky to be here so I will stop complaining there.

Daisy our feral cat that we have been feeding since we arrived went missing last week. She disappeared for about 5 days before making a hasty reappearance on friday morning to eat before going again. We suspect she may have had kittens and has them holed up somewhere (hopefully in a place that is well protected and out of the cold) I am keeping an ear out for her today in case she leaves the kitties for some more food and am anticipating her bringing her babies to us at some point!! Hubby is obviously dreading this moment as he knows that it will be hard to resist little baby bundles of fur – for him as well as me. Am just thinking that we could stack the cat boxes one on top of the other in the back of the car when we go and get twice as many in!!!!

I’ll keep you posted on any kitten news.


La Maroma

La Maroma is a mountain that rises up out of the landscape just behind us at the campsite. At an impressive 2066m (or 6700ft in old money) it is a lot taller than any mountain we have back in the UK and taller than anything that we have climbed before.

But climb it we are going to, as hubby as set his sights on it and wont stop talking about it. We have found a route that goes from around the back and is supposedly the easiest. This route also starts from about 3000 odd feet so we get to skip the first bit which is a relief. It will still be akin to climbing Helvellyn  (3117ft – which I haven’t done) or Great Gable (2949ft – which I have) back in the Lake District.

From the top you can see the mountains across in Morocco, Africa so the views are sure to be amazing.

We are planning to do the walk in February when I have finished my teacher training so we will keep you posted. Hubby meanwhile is training on his bike and walking lots – unlike me who is just hoping that I will be able to get up and back down again with minimal effort put in beforehand!!!

And in other news……..we seem to have more than our fair share of poorly cats at the moment. Firstly Tinker was ill on New Years Eve of all nights and we spent the evening clearing up after her bouts of sickness and the other end!! Thankfully we still managed to enjoy our evening but I don’t recommend clearing up cat vomit as a good start to the New Year. She was in quite a state and at 17 years old you start to get worried that this may be the end. She made the ‘mother of all recoveries’ though and by the end of New Years day had pretty much fully recovered. Molly has now taken over in the sick stakes and has been very poorly for the last few days. She seemed to rally a little yesterday but is still far from right and so today we are going to have to take her to the vets.

Now going to the vets is always a traumatic experience all around. For Molly it involves a car journey (not good) then an examination and possible injections (really not good) and then the prospect of being force fed tablets for a prolonged period after (even less good). For me I have to see her upset and distressed and as I have to administer the tablets it means I get to be the one she likes the least for a week or two. Hubby suffers as he has to foot the bill which never seems to correspond with the amount of treatment they get!!

Add into the mix that we are having to do all of this in another language means that we are probably going to be in for a stressful few hours today! Mind you when we were in France we had the best vet ever. The surgery was like a hospital and one of the vets there was French/Irish and spoke the best English (and was quite dishy I seem to remember!!) They were also the cheapest vets we have ever had so it was a win/win situation – except for the cats of course.

Fingers crossed Molly’s illness is not serious and a dose of antibiotics will see her recover in super quick time. I’ll let you know…….