Monday, 15 November 2010

Considering a Walking holiday in Andalucia? (Good idea!)

Walking in Andalucia is the most fantastic way to see this wonderful countryside and to enjoy your walking experience, however, please remember it is often overlooked that some walks will take you into quite remote areas.

Safety in mind when walking in Andalucia
A great deal of walks often start from or near a traditional Andalucian village which allows you to see the real andalucian way of life while enjoying the wonderful atmosphere. After finding somewhere to park, it won’t be long after starting your walk that it can start to feel quite remote. PLEASE remember when out walkingin Axarquia  it is not usual to go all day and not see anyone, which is great, but if someone is slightly injured and their walking is impaired you could be in a little bit of trouble. Mobile phone coverage in inland areas is not good so ensure you check your mobile phone on a regular basis while you are out walking. When and if you can find a signal, mark it on your map in case of an emergency.  Always ensure that you have a couple of torches and spare batteries with you in case it turns dark before you have returned. Remember, you are probably following walking notes and the route will be completely new to you. If you are relying on someone else’s timings always allow a couple of extra hours just in case.
Always inform someone of your walking route and your expected return time. This really is important when you are abroad as when you are in holiday mode and the weather is good, this is the very type of thing we forget to do, or decide is not necessary. When staying in an Hotel or B&B it’s easy to leave details with reception, but when you have rented an apartment privately, you need to think carefully about who you can leave your walking plans with. 

Mountain rescue teams as we know them in UK do not exist here in Spain.  Spain does have the Guardia civil police who will attend an emergency callout.    Emergency no is 112 

Maps:  We all know that UK maps show excellent detail and walking routes and are kept up to date. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for good old Spanish map! When and if you can find one, the information will be many years old and will not show information with any great accuracy. Walking routes and paths will not be shown.  Ensure you bring with you to Spain the maps and the routes you wish to walk, as you may not be able to source them over here.

Please ensure you do your homework and come fully prepared for your walking holiday, you will find walking in Spain a most enjoyable and rewarding experience.
Enjoy your holiday!

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Time to recce a new walk in Andalucia Southern Spain.

Adding to our ever increasing portfolio of Moderate to Moderate + walks.

La Maroma - standing high in the sky, summit 2069 mtrs in Andalucia Spain

Today’s walk up to La Maroma was going to be via the Camino de la Casa de la Nieve route, the old snow–gatherers’ path from Canillas and probably the most scenic and spectacular way up. This route is used in the summer when a moonlit pilgrimage takes place, climaxing with a sunrise on the summit.  

Today I am travelling solo, not my favourite thing as I really do prefer company!

Sunday 23rd Oct 2010 
Its 7am and I am off to tackle La Maroma in the Sierra Tejeda.  I had booked Saturday into my dairy to do this, but the weather forecast was sun / plenty of cloud. What I didn’t want was to arrive at the summit and not be able to soak up the wonderful views I was hoping for.
It was still dark when I arrived at Canillas de Aceituno around 7.45am. I then discovered that major street works were being carried out and this small white village had been closed to traffic. I drove back out of the village to park. Great start!
Now it was time to find the start point. I knew the walk started above the village but trying to navigate my way through a maze of walkways / paths amongst the small and pretty houses was far more difficult than I had anticipated..
45 mins after starting my search although a little frustrated, I was relieved to arrive at my start point to begin today’s little adventure. I was beginning to doubt my sense of direction!

I thought I would put some mileage under my belt before I made a stop for breakfast. Breakfast was going to be a soft boiled egg and cold cooked bacon with a nice crusty bread roll. A bit like a BLT from Marks and Spencer but without the salad! As the sun rose and the moon started to disappear, I could see that choosing today had been a good decision and I was excited about what lay ahead.

What I was enjoying about this walk was every
time you turned a corner there was something
different to see which was great.
Looking back towards Lake Vinuela

I always start to get excited the higher I go, but when I came across the Cabra Montes or Spanish Ibex at about 1800 metres I just could not believe how many I could see close up. On previous walks you often hear then see a glimpse a fleeting ibex as you marvel how they can run up almost vertical cliff. However today was special a real joy.

I should mention again that this was a Sunday and I had not seen anyone else until this point. Slightly ahead of me I spotted two walkers.
I was not alone on the mountain.


Ahead of me I could see a young Spanish couple who seemed to be just as excited as me enjoying the Ibex. Having spent quite a lot of time taking photos and just enjoying watching these beautiful wild animals in their natural habitat I decided it was time to  crack on to  the summit. 

Looking ahead - 15 minutes later I was at the top and was not disappointed. There are several different ways to ascend La Maroma, so I was pleased to see just a few people sharing the summit and views with me.

Time to ask the young Spanish couple to take a photo of me on the summit to prove to my wife that I had been to work!

Having had a quick bite to eat I set off back down the same route as I ascended. Everything looked completely different as I worked my way slowly back down enjoying the wonderful views across to Lake Vinuela. On my return journey, I saw and noted other tracks leading off, perhaps another walk to recce but that will have to be for another day.

I arrived back at the start some 6+ hours later, tired but very pleased with my findings. I am sure this walk will be one for the future, however, I will have to walk it a few more times first.  

 The weather conditions for the day had been sunshine with just a very small scattering of clouds, temp 22c.

A terrific day out and a job well done!

Friday, 15 October 2010

GPS settings required for walking in Andalucia in the South of Spain.

I am often asked about GPS settings for this area by our guests. So I thought I would post the details:

First of all, it's important to purchase a map that gives you the positioning format and map datum.

For this region of Spain, the settings using Mapa Topografico Nacional de Espana
1: 25000 can be seen on the map below:

Correct settings for Units Setup

The maps we use at Pure High use a UTM grid  and a  European 1950 datum. We order our maps from Centro Nacional de Information Geografica (CNIG)
in Madrid

I hope this information will be helpful.


Saturday, 9 October 2010

Starting our New Blog

To start our new blog we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who chose  Pure High for their Walking Holiday in Andalucia  and to thank you for your very kind letters of support.

A great deal of you mention in your letters, that you have been spreading the word –
Pure High!  Recommendation is the best form of advertising. So again thank you.

Chris and Steve from Leeds walked with us back in late June which was our last group walk of the season, as it was starting get quite warm. Chris has mentioned in his last letter how he has contacted his local walking groups to tell them what a great time he had and has been recommending us. Thank you.  

I would also like to thank Chris and Marian for all their efforts in promoting Pure High.
Chris has a Blog in which he has written a great blog
of his and Marian’s experience with Pure High.

Chris and Marian joined us on our first Moderate to Slightly Challenging week of the new season, which from their comments was a great success.

Below are copies of comments from both Chris and Steve / Chris and Marian. By the way, you do not need to be called Chris to join us!

"Having had several holidays in Nerja admiring the peaks of the mountains from the beach and town below I decided that one day I would love to walk in and around them. Thanks to John and Heather at Pure High that has now become a reality a really spectacular reality. 
John's mountain leader skills guided us through five days of varying walks including a coastal and a river walk, each one offering breathtaking views and allowing us to experience the peace and beauty of the mountains and surrounding area. Each walk finishing with a nice cold refreshing beer.  
The wildlife didn't disappoint either, Ibex on the rock faces, birds of prey soaring above and the snakes in the river and aqueducts. 
The highlight of the trip was the accent of El Cielo, towering above Nerja with its excellent panoramic views. John has shown us that there is so much more to this part of the Costa Del Sol than coastline and beaches. 
I would like to thank John and Heather for their warm, helpful and accommodating nature which made for a perfect walking holiday" 
Chris and Steve from Leeds

Moderate to  Slightly Challenging week

“Thank you so much for the holiday. We both really enjoyed the week. The accommodation was perfect and the village of Frigiliana was an ideal base in a such a picturesque setting. The walks were all we could have hoped for - challenging enough that we felt we had achieved something but always within our capabilities. You took us to some stunning places that we would never have found ourselves or would not have had the confidence to attempt to get to. Knowing that you were there with us, with a familiarity of those mountains added confidence and helped us to relax and just enjoy the experience and the situation. It was also good to know that you had thought of everything so we could just relax and enjoy ourselves.” 
Chris and Marian