The Adventure Hill Walking groups first outing of 2017 took place on Wednesday 25th January.
The original plan was to drive into the Sierra Espunas. Due to the recent bad weather, it was always on the cards that this plan would be reviewed.
We met at our usual rendezvous. The Repsol services, Murcia pass, on the A30 at 9am. Due to the fact that the Sierres were still heavily covered in snow, we decided that a more low level walk was the safer and more comfortable option.
9.30am saw ten people walking out of the services (height above sea level 376 metres). All were wrapped up warm in coats, hats and gloves against the cold wind. Walking up the valley side of Solana del Gerillar into the Parque el Valle. The steep climb towards the old mine soon raised the body temperature and heart and lungs pumping. The sun was now also doing its work and the hats and gloves were slowly peeled away. We paused for a few moments to observe the 360 degree views, including the snowcapped Sierras. We paused at the Ceramic map just beyond the mine for the “banana break” and the first groups photo of the day. ( hasl 500 metres ).
Our path took us onto the Murcia city side of the ridge. Stopping briefly to discuss the memorial plaque to a cyclist on the side of a water tank near to the summit, we concluded that it was a wonder there were not more memorials, taking into account the speeds which they descend the gravel forestry roads. A brief detour to a vantage point, gave us the opportunity to identify and point out landmarks. A request to point out the Cathedral and the sanctuaries (religious and cultural), was quickly followed by the location of the shopping centres and Ikea ( priorities).
Lunch was on the Cresta del Gallo, ( hasl 434 metres ) beneath the outcrop which is a popular venue for rock climbers. None of our group took up the challenge to climb up and join the couple who were sat at the top with their feet dangling over the edge.( 629 m ).
We returned along the Gallo ridge to the radio mast and cyclist memorial. Taking a higher path that before we saw extensive evidence of the recent bad weather. High winds had blow over several hundreds of pine trees. These had either been uprooted or their trunks snapped. We had to make some minor deviations from the marked path to negotiate our way around trees which had fallen across the path.
Arriving back at our cars at 5pm, we were all rather tired. This was not too surprising as we had covered more that 24 kilometers including over 350 metres in ascents.