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!!!!

 

 

Cómpeta

A break in the rain yesterday saw us make a dash out and head off to visit the town of Cómpeta. Sat up up in the hills (like most places are around here!) it is the starting point of one of the walks for Maramo and so had an added interest for hubby in particular.

Driving up the windy road from the coast was interesting in itself as driving around here always is. Tight hairpin bends, roads that are dangerously subsiding, not to mention the drivers who take the opportunity to get their quota of thrills in for the month by driving as fast as they possibly can meant that by the time we arrived and pulled over in a scenic spot for some lunch I had my heart in my mouth and my stomach in the back seat!

After some food and a revitialising cuppa (only the English right) we headed off on foot to have a little look around.

Competa has a fascinating history that dates back approximately 2,000 years to the Romans. The village was used for trading purposes by the Romans due to its idyllic location in between the coast and the mountains. Competa also has 800 years of Muslim history, which you can still see from the magnificent Arabic architecture found in the village today.

The town is typical of many around this area, all white buildings and lots of steep narrow streets. You can feel the age of the place as you wander around stopping to take in the breathtaking views that are afforded at regular intervals. We made a pit stop at a hotel with a fantastic view across to the sea for a coffee and basked in the sunshine. Not much is open on a Sunday in Spain and with the tourist season yet to take hold the streets were empty and it was lovely and quiet as we walked around. This is the kind of sightseeing we enjoy! My Spanish is also slowly improving and ordering coffee, asking how much the bill is AND understanding the answer are all becoming easier. Unlike in other European countries where you tend to have receipts brought to the table every time you order here it is much more casual. At first this can be a little disconcerting as you struggle to understand but we are getting better at it for sure!!

The rain is back again today, but we are hoping it clears mid week and the sun is forecast to make its return on Wednesday. We are finally hoping to climb Maroma on Saturday so fingers crossed!! Below are some piccies from our day out.

The Church

Cute little shops

Coffee stop

Three very friendly but very grubby street urchins!

All life here has to cling to the mountainside and these horses are no exception

This little mamma had her baby tucked in safe and sound beside her