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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.