Another republication of the Spanish walk by Tom and Chica.
There was such a wonderful response to the post on the 28th January that I decided to republish another one. This time I have started at the beginning.
The road less travelled…..
If you tell someone you’re planning a long walk in Spain, they will mostly assume you’re talking about the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail across northern Spain. Tom being a bit of a misanthrope said he’d rather go somewhere less crowded.
We are familiar with a part of the GR7 as it runs through the Serrania de Ronda where we have spent a few recent winters. After more research it was decided that this would be the most interesting.
The GR7 starts on the south coast at Tarifa, near Gibraltar, and then runs up through the Los Alcornocales, a beautiful forest of cork oaks, then into the Grazalema National Park before reaching the city of Ronda. Dramatically perched above a deep gorge, Ronda is our favourite city.
From there the route turns eastwards towards Antequera and passes through the Parque Natural del Torcal whose bizarre rocky outcrops form one of the most impressive karst landscapes in Europe.
Shortly beyond, the route splits and Tom and Chica will be taking the southern variation through many small villages into Las Alpajarras. Then it heads up into the Sierra Nevada and there it may get tricky depending on the snow level. Chica isn’t keen on being belly deep in snow!
As the route heads north inland from the east coast, it is all new territory for us. There should be a couple of visits to both our charities near Alicante and Valencia and then due north to the border with Andorra. The final stop for recuperation will be with good friend, Kate, in the Pyrenees.
At last, after a fair few hitches and glitches, Tom and Chica took their first steps on a journey that will take them right across Spain to Andorra on the GR7 route. The start is at the aptly (and purely coincidentally) named Playa Chica, which is the most southerly point of mainland Europe. From here, you have the Med to the east, the Atlantic to the west and Africa on the horizon. It’s an epic trip and one that only around five people complete every year. It should cover a variety of landscapes, starting today with the beautiful beaches of Tarifa and the surrounding area. As it’s a Saturday, with a good strong breeze, the kite surfers were out in force. It’s quite a sight!
Today was a short toddle, by comparison with what will follow – just 11k in about 2.5 hours. The route was almost entirely on the beach and Tom shed his shoes and walked barefoot. It might be the only time that will be possible.
Given that he is recovering from flu an easy start seemed a good plan – definitely so as it’s now raining! Chica, however, needs to understand that stopping to investigate every interesting smell would mean the walk would take several years.
We will be posting a blog every day of the walk, with information on the route, the scenery and the flora and fauna. Tom isn’t able to carry field guides – too much extra weight – so identification from any of our followers would be appreciated, starting with these shells found on the beach today. These pics will be posted on our instagram page too.
As well as posting our position, hopefully using Viewranger (we’re working on this) we will also give our position using What Three Words. Tonight’s are: tigress, asked, varies. This is fun and will be another way of ensuring that the back up team (me) can hook up with them.
Stay with us!
This is an incredible journey and I’m so pleased that Tom is happy for me to share it with you.
And, please, do follow Tom and Chica directly.