2015 – bring it on

This is the first day I have woken up in Spain for a whole month, having spent four weeks in the UK helping out with the early arrival of my grand daughter. Of course I wouldn’t have missed that experience for the world, Sophia Alice is so very tiny and absolutely perfect; and I had a wonderful time playing with my grandson Mikey who insisted every morning (at about 7am!) that we spend the day in role-play, with him being daddy, me being Mikey and some bit of wardrobe flotsam taking the silent role of mummy. Great adventures were embarked upon by the intrepid duo (poor mummy was almost always left behind) with imaginary trips to all corners of his (almost) four year old experience.

1) Sophia at 24 hrs, 2) Mikey meets his sister for the first time, 3) Mikey plays the messenger in pre- school nativity, 4) Sophia sleeps in the hat I knitted for her father

1) Sophia at 24 hrs, 2) Mikey meets his sister for the first time, 3) Mikey plays the messenger in pre- school nativity, 4) Sophia sleeps in the hat I knitted for her father

But now I am home, after a brief interlude in West Sussex with our lovely friends, who took us on a short but spectacular walk towards the cliffs of the Seven Sisters.

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This morning I decided to put the ‘get fit and lose a shed-load of weight‘ regime into immediate action. So Roly and I set off for a shortish walk into the mountains of the natural park a few meters away from my door. It has been a beautiful bright day with blue sky and I was stripping off my jacket within five minutes of setting off.

Looking down on Canillas de Albaida

Looking down on Canillas de Albaida

Since the fire that many of you will have read about in my blog posts here, here and here, there has been a fair amount of activity on the mountain. All burned trees have been sawn down and a huge machine has dragged the fallen trunks to the edge of the track. Before this could be done, lots of new tracks had to be cut into the hillsides to provide access and the existing tracks had to be widened to allow access for the huge machine.

So now the hillsides are totally bare and the greenery that had begun to grow at the side of the tracks has been uprooted to make way for the machine. All is very bleak.

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However, on the upside the existing tracks have been transformed from uneven rocky paths that were difficult to walk or ride on, and are now even and sandy (until the rain washes the sand away). So Liana and I have had many wonderful gallops up the track for a good couple of kilometres, whereas before we could only trot and canter in a few places.

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But today I was using my own legs to carry me along, up the drive and into the park, where after about a kilometre we come to the dividing ridge between the areas unaffected/devastated by the fire. We live on the unaffected (Canillas de Albaida side) and there is no doubt when you enter the stark wasteland of the decimated area.

We continue upwards until we arrive at the fork where you can continue up to the left, ever higher, or down to the right. We go down and turn into the burned out olive groves behind the urbanisation Las Colmenillas, walk past the houses and down onto the circular road that runs high above the village of Cómpeta and then cut down onto the goat track and back towards Canillas and home.

This old olive tree looks totally destroyed by fire, but if you look closely you can see  a mass of new shoots at the base of the tree.

This old olive tree looks totally destroyed by fire, but if you look closely you can see a mass of new shoots at the base of the tree.

The local Spanish guys are busy preparing their huertas (allotments) for a winter planting. These small plots dotted around the villages always look spic and span and are tended with great care.

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When I reach home I discover from my ‘map my walk’ app that I have covered 5.99 km and have walked a completely circular route, just how I like it. This will be the first of many walks in 2015, building up strength for my next camino de Santiago which will commence possibly in March. But more of that in another post.

About magwood

Trepidatious Traveller - camino blog is about preparing for and walking the Camino de Santiago. Many future pilgrims have found the blog useful and inspiring, and many who have no plans to walk the camino have simply enjoyed the dialogue http://www.magwood.me
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15 Responses to 2015 – bring it on

  1. David Wolfe says:

    I now wish that I had come with you when the offer was made but I chose Cómpeta for shopping and coffee sitting in the sun

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  2. Your granddaughter IS tiny. In her father’s hat, you say? Well, I never. So little and gorgeous.
    Your photographs make my mouth water. They are wonderful to see. Thank you for sharing.

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    • magwood says:

      Thanks so much Tess. It was lovely to be a part of the new family for a few weeks, but it is oh so good to be home!

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      • I know. There’s no place like home. I like to go anywhere but love coming home again. In no time the little one will grow and you’ll get pictures and you can do Face Time or Skype. I love how wonderful this new technology is. ❤ ❤ ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Grania says:

    Your granddaughter is gorgeous …as usual, fantastic photos
    Glad you are safely back in Spain x

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  4. Maureen Gillespie says:

    Making me feel v homesick (if that’s the right word!) but lovely to get a glimpse of how everything is. Sad to see all the vegetation gone on the tracks but great about the sand. Must make walking (and riding) so much easier. Look forward to regular updates now you’re in training again 🙂 ps Sophia (beautiful name) and Mikey are gorgeous, as is hat x

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    • magwood says:

      I was thinking of you whilst I was walking, particularly down through the olive grove. Walked with sandie and Renate today. We really miss you xx

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  5. Geraldine K. says:

    Some beautiful pics there 🙂

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  6. Jane says:

    Lovely Photographs of your grandchildren. Our first is due in the last week of May which is why we are choosing to walk the Camino Frances in April/May and how I found your blog. Thank you for sharing all that – there is so much to draw on. I am stalling on choosing a pack – what would you choose if you bought one now? I can get an Osprey Kestrel – 38litre and 1.3kg, maybe too small and too heavy?
    Jane

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    • magwood says:

      Hi Jane, thanks for your lovely comment and congratulations on your soon to be grandchild. He/she has timed his/here appearance very well, as I think April/May is the best time to walk. The size of the pack you mention and I am sure the weight is ok. Mine is 34 litre and is sufficient, but I think up to 45 litres should be ok. Maybe look for one with bottom access for convenience. I would just take a look around for a pack with good padding on the waist belt and on the shoulder straps. Many women seem to suffer sore collar bones from pressure from the shoulder straps. I always look enviously at others’ packs with good padding, but I haven’t tried one so I could well be disappointed if I did. Just go for comfort and good fit. Some places will guarantee to refund or exchange a pack after you have tried it for a few days. This is a great opportunity to get it right.
      Buen camino to you both.

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      • Jane says:

        Hi Maggie, thank you. I tried out a friend’s pack which she used on her Camino. I (with husband, David) used it on a two day hike into the mountains. I have ordered the same pack from the UK – an Omm, 32 litre with a nice sized top pocket plus netting on top and three outside pockets. It also has two decent size zipped pockets on a padded hip belt. Best of all it is 575g.
        Buen Camino

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      • magwood says:

        What a great pack weight. I just took a look at the omm website. I think I would miss the airflow structure of my osprey pack though. Thanks for sharing.

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