The start of it

For a long time, whilst out walking in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, we have come across footpath signs to Sulayr but we were never able to connect the signs to any known path, they always seemed to point to somewhere high in the Sierra Nevada. Then in August 2009 whilst on the Mulhacen mountain bus Paco, the guide, explained that it was a 300 km circular path running around the Sierra Nevada National park.
Slowly my interest in this walk was aroused, but it always looked like it would be a ambition never undertaken. The path runs around the Sierras at about 2000 meters, and the thought of taking our poor little Renault Kangoo up all those access tracks to the start of a new section of the walk filled me with dread, it was our only car.
In 2011 the chance came to buy another car, and the thought of walking the Sulayr path gained momentum. What was needed were some good buddies to share the experience. My wife has always classed the “The A Team” of the Lecrin Valley Limpers as something out of “The Last of the Summer Wine”. A group of old men who go out in to the mountains for the day and come home raggy arsed, tired and dirty. After careful consultation with fellow team members who jumped at the chance of expeditions into the high Sierras I decided to buy a small 4X4.
This is the story as it unfolds.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

June 10 2012 Section 19 Visitor centre to Vereda Estrella

The end of the walk .

June 10 2012 Section 19 Visitor centre to Vereda Estrella

We did it. Finally after all these weeks we joined the circle up and completed the last section down to Estrella.
It was quite sad to think that our walk was nearly complete, the project has kept us amused for so long, each week we had another section to finish.
We had saved the last section to the end. I know that sounds pretty obvious, but the way we had chosen to do the walk, in separate unconnected stages, enabled us to fit the walk in around different weather conditions on the northern and southern slopes. There were different  time requirements for doing the middle sections up in Almeria province, which took up a lot of traveling time. We could also see the same region in different seasons, we may have finished one section in the Spring and then went back to do the following one in the Autumn, but we had kept this last section so that the end of the book was the end of the walk.
The walk started from the Visitor centre on the Sierra Nevada road, the official start and finishing point of the Sulayr path. The track follows a paved road as it heads down towards Gúéjar Sierra. I can only remember walking on one other section of paved road in Capileira, and as they were both very quiet roads we can let it go.
The road winds its way down through some very lush countryside, past some very imposing houses that are dotted along the hillside. We had not travelled far when we were joined by a dog who seemed keen to show us the way. He probably spends every day waiting to guide befuddled old gits on this section of the Sulayr. In the end we named him Sue after the Sulayr path.
After 4 kms we left the road and picked up a forest track as it headed into the San Juan valley, this is a great area and we will return to do some further exploratory walks soon.
We stopped for a little lunch at la Hortichela, a delightful wooded area, before setting off for the final short walk down to the Vereda Estrella. Just as we arrived at the Junction with the Estrella path, and the end of our 300 km trek, a very nice young lady from the Medio Ambiente arrived. Normally when you get to the end of a long distance path there is no one there to welcome you, to say well done, but we had an official from the authority responsible for the whole Sierra Nevada National park. I could not have arranged it better if King Juan Carlos had been there! I told the group I had arranged for her to be here to welcome us.
After the obligatory photo opportunity we turned around and headed back towards our starting  point. We were expecting Sue to leave us as we passed his house, but no, he continued with us back to the cars.
You can’t celebrate the end of a long distance walk without a bottle of Champagne, well you can in Spain, you spend €2.55 buying a bottle of Cava from Diá. We celebrated in style, nine people to one bottle, and then headed for the bar. To our surprise Sue also joined us, the Camerero knew where he lived so we left him there.
In the afternoon the celebrations continued around at Mike and Sheila’s.
The Sulayr path has been an incredible journey for us, every walk has been different and very enjoyable, the final section today was a fitting end to our adventure.         

The walkers; Mike, Kees, Ray, Graham, Rene, Mark, José, Daniella and myself.

Distance walked on route today,7.4 km. Total distance today 15.4 km. Height climbed today 585 metres. Total distance walked on the Sulayr path 299.3 km. Distance left to do 0.7 km. Total height climbed 24394 metres. Total distance walked 671.5 km.  

Somehow along the route we lost 0.7 km, we don’t know where it went, someday we may have to go back and re-measure the distances.

Whilst inking the route into my maps I discovered the missing .7 km. When we had done the Trevelez sections we had walked out of the village on one walk. The next time we walked into Trevelez we had caught the bus back to Capileira from the outskirts of the village and never completed the route through the village. We all blamed Ray for this oversight and returned to Trevelez on the 19th June 2012 to finish it off. We could not have lived with ourselves otherwise. It was also an excuse to go and do another a fabulous walk from there.  

When we had originally planned the walk there were going to be five of us, Mike, Kees, Ray, Graham and myself. A totally boy’s own adventure, this did not go down well with the girls in the group, we were accused of being sexist,  being old gits someone had to explain what sex is.
In the end we relented and allowed them to join us, subject to them not whinging when conditions got tough.
It soon became apparent that Ray and Graham would not be able to complete every section as they were not living here permanently. So it was down to Kees, Mike and myself to walk the full distance, with the others walking when they were around. We weren’t able to walk every week, most of the walk is at an altitude of around 2000 metres so in the winter it is covered in snow, in the summer it is too hot, and there were holidays and sickness to contend with.
I must single Rene out for special mention, not only was there no moaning, except for our occasional choice of bar in Cadiar, on most of the walks she out walked us.
Mark gets a special mention for taking his poor little Renault van up some very rough off road bits.
Plym gets a mention for her minimalist approach to walking, whilst the rest of us were taking full packs, stuffed with food, drinks and spare clothing. Plym would turn up with a banana, but only if it was going to be a long walk.
Ray gets a mention for being so quiet, there were times on the long car journeys when I had to keep checking in the mirror to make sure he had not fallen out of the car.
Graham for his unstinting controversial comments.
Finally Mike and Kees, without them and their unshakable belief that I knew where we were going the walk would never have been completed.

Hopefully we will try and and put it all down in a book so we all have a permanent record of what must be one of the best walks ever devised.  

Thursday, June 7, 2012

5 June 2012 Section 3 Rinconada de Nigúelas - Loma de Las Tres Encinas.

Loma de Las Tres Encinas. 

5 June 2012 Section 3  Rinconada de Nigúelas - Loma de Las Tres Encinas.

Well we are nearly there, we are on the penultimate walk, a short section from Loma de las Tres Encinas to Rinconada de Nigúelas. Everyone was looking forward to this section, at only 7.5 km and 300 metres of climbing it was going to be easy, in fact the easiest section of them all. I could see their eyes gleaming with the thought that they would be sat in Miguel’s Bar in Nigúelas by 1 pm. It seemed a waste of such a glorious day, to spend it in a bar, when we could be on top of a 3000 metre mountain. The Sulayr path skirts along the flanks of Caballo so why not do a little bit of extra climbing and find somewhere with a fine view for lunch.
 We had an 8 am start from Nigúelas for the 35 minute drive up to Loma de Las Encinas. The last time we were here was the 13 May 2011, that seems a while ago now. This section of the Sulayr is all on a high altitude mountain road as it skirts around the head waters of the Rio Torrente. The original plan was turn off the road after 1.5 km and find a little path heading up the Loma de Caballo, but we could not find any sign of it, so instead we decided to press on for the Riconada where we had finished up last week, where we arrived after 1.5 hours of walking and had not even raised a sweat.
 When we got there we found a party of walkers who driven up from Malaga who were also planning to go up Caballo. This is the first group of walkers we have seen for 12 months, we have long accepted that these mountains are ours, it was like we had discovered trespassers on our land. We stopped for a little refreshment and let them get a head start, thinking that we would not see them again, after all we are all old gits!
 To start with the path up from the Riconada is quite steep and we soon overhauled them, coming from Malaga they were not used to such high altitudes. This path up Cabello is a great way up, the summit is in view virtually the whole way and you head straight for it, no zig zagging, no loss of height, no false summits and good views all the way, a fantastic path. We stopped for lunch at the top and enjoyed the 360 degree panoramic views. It also gave us time to study our future expeditions, for next week we won’t have our Sulayr walk to do because we are planning to finish the last section on Sunday.
 After lunch, and fully recovered from our highest climb so far this year, the first of the Malaga guys arrived, so leaving them to enjoy the summit in peace we set off back down the hill. The beauty of this walk was that it is a circular walk up a 3011 metre mountain with no steep sections.
The path is easy to follow as it makes its way down the hillside and we passed a lot of Cabra that were secreted in the hillocks. The hardest part is the last 3 km when you come to a forest road that zig zags back to the cars, you can see them in the distance, just when you think you are nearly back you realise there are still 3 kilometers to go, but at least it is not hard on the knees.
 Arriving back at the cars we were stopped by a Little Bo Peep who wanted to know if we had seen any sheep, apparently she had fallen asleep and when she awoke she did not know where to find them. We told her we had seen a big herd of Cabra, but this did not appear to be any help to her. We then wished her well and she drove off in her Toyota Land Cruiser to look for them. How times change!
 We headed back to Nigúelas for a well earned beer and tapas in Migúels bar.

The walkers; Mike, Kees, Ray, Graham, Rene, Mark,  and myself.

Distance walked on route today,7.1 km. Total distance today 21.5 km. Height climbed today 1209 metres. Total distance walked on the Sulayr path 291.9 km. Distance left to do 8.1 km. Total height climbed 23809 metres. Total distance walked 656.1 km.

Friday, June 1, 2012

29 May 2012 Section 2 La Cortijuela - Rinconada de Nigúelas

Rio Dilar

29 May 2012 Section 2 La Cortijuela - Rinconada de Nigúelas

We organised things a little differently this week, we hired a Taxi. A few weeks ago I was talking with a friend, Antonio, and he mentioned that he had a 4x4 9 seater Land Rover and that he ferried groups of walkers on walking trips. This set me wondering how we could utilize his services for our mid week walks. One of the main problems with the Sulayr walk has been access up to the path. Because most of the walk has been in areas new to us, and access to the path is usually aboout 15 km up a forest road, it would be difficult to get someone to drop us off and meet us again 20 km away at a place we didn’t know you can even get a car to. That is why for most of the walk we have walked out and returned back to the car, at least we knew where it was.
The last big section we had left to do, tramo 2 from La Cortijuela to the Rinconada de Nigúelas, was different. We knew both the start and finish point, and we also knew that we could get a car, or specifically a 4X4, to both places. I talked it over with the team and Antonio and agreed a price for his services and as they say the rest was easy.
We met in Nigúelas at 8 a.m. for the journey to La Cortijuela, which is better known as the Botanical gardens above Cumbres Verde, and an hour later he dropped us off at our start point. We have kept putting this walk off either because it was too cold, too hot, too much snow, too windy but today it was perfect, clear blue skies and a little breeze.
The walk starts by following the forest road as climbs up past Trevenque, we have walked part of this road before but after 3km we were into some spectacular virgin territory as the path turned down towards the Rio Dilar. We stopped for a photo at the river crossing before climbing up the steep sided bank onto Loma de Peñamadura. The biggest surprise was the number of abandoned Cortijos, miles from anywhere that could have only been served by mule trails.
Food is always a big consideration on our walks, especially when Graham is about. We don’t normally eat much while we are climbing, preferring to have lunch at the highest point of the walk. Unfortunately the summit was at the finish, and there were 2 descents and 3 climbs before we got there, so a series of little lunches were taken, to keep body and soul together. Graham’s knee was still playing up and, on one occasion, he preferred to keep walking rather than stop for refreshment. In all the years I have known him he has never missed a sandwich stop!
Loma de Peñamadura is a magnificent hillside to walk across, it lies between the rios Dilar and Durcal and there are stunning views over Picacho Alta, Granada and Caballo.
Dropping down into the Rio Durcal we came across the source of the water for the Hydro-electric plant in Durcal. What a tortuous route that must take when you see the terrain it has to travel through.
Over the past few weeks we have noticed a lot of workmen with strimmers working by the side of the forest roads, carefully cutting the vegetation back. Today we came across another 8 on a road to nowhere, miles from anywhere, strimming the hillside, shortly the whole Sierra Nevada will be strimmed and no doubt polished. Surely if it is job creation there are far more productive things that could be done, they could be operating the printing presses, printing all those new Peseta notes which will be needed in the next few weeks.
From the Rio Durcal it is a 7.3 km, 540 metre climb to the end of tramo 2 and, coming at the end of the walk in the heat of the day, you certainly know you have done it.
We arrived at the Rinconada de Nigúelas with about 20 minutes to spare, and in the distance we could see Antonio and his Land Rover making his way up the valley. It was a good feeling as I did not relish the 4 hour walk down to Nigúelas. We just had enough time to polish off what was left of our sandwiches before he arrived to pick us up.
It’s a long, slow and dusty road back to Nigúelas and we rocked and rolled our way back back down the mountain. Antonio delivered us straight to Miguel's bar on the car park where we all enjoyed double drinks and tapas, the best in the area. This was a great day out and it was good that we could do a complete section in one outing.
Antonio’s taxi service worked well, and we will incorporate it again in some of our future walks.
We now have only two short sections left to do, we should be able to complete them in the next couple of weeks.

The walkers; Mike, Kees, Ray, Graham, Rene, Mark,  and myself.

Distance walked on route today,17.5 km. Total distance today 17.5 km. Height climbed today 1087 metres. Total distance walked on the Sulayr path 284.8 km. Distance left to do 15.2 km. Total height climbed 22600 metres. Total distance walked 634.6 km.  

Saturday, May 26, 2012

22 May 2012 Section 11 Barranco Aguadero.


22 May 2012 Section 11 Barranco Aguadero.

We had plans this week to walk the full 19.5 kms of section 2, we had organised 4X4 transport to drop us off and then meet us at the finish. All this planning was to no avail as it snowed on Sunday evening and the whole path was under snow. Don’t get me wrong, snow looks fantastic on the mountains, and short sections of it on the path are fine, but we don’t do all day treks in it.
Plan B was put into operation, we would return to last weeks turn around point on section 11. The road down to this point is a little rough but Mark had thought he would be able to get his trusty little Renault down to it. Unfortunately over the weekend it had developed a wheel bearing problem and taking it down the forest road might have turned it into a three wheeler. So we pressed Kees’s Transit into service but we knew we would not be able to get this down the rough bit. With the Suzuki now repaired, and running better than ever, we decided to use it as a shuttle bus over the last 5 km of track to the start of the walk.
We made good time on the journey up and, leaving Kees’s van at the picnic site, we set about ferrying everyone to the start of the walk. This did not delay us much and we were soon all in place at the start of the walk.
We had set out last week to do this section and more, but it was oppressively hot and not suitable for a hard day’s walk, but today it was ideal, warm and sunny with a nice breeze. The path starts by following the forest road a short distance before heading down to a shady river crossing. From here the path is uphill following the barranco Aguadero for the next 6 km, for much of the time the path is in forest and we said we would come back again in the Autumn when the Chestnut trees were in full colour. Our destination was Collado de los Huertectcillos and we were last here on the 22 September 2011, it was great to visit the place again, but it also means we have completed all Northern, Southern and Eastern sections of the walk and we only have 33 km left to do, all local at the Western end of the walk.
A few weeks back Graham pulled a ligament in his knee and it keeps locking up on him. The only way he can keep it moving is by walking fast, but because he is walking the same route as us he keeps having to double back on himself to keep us in sight, it’s like having a dog with you, you feel like throwing him a stick to fetch. On the way back he decided to forego the shuttle bus and instead opted to walk the extra 5 km back to where we had left Kees’s van. So while the rest us had a lazy stroll back and a relaxing break under the Chestnut tree, Graham was pounding along the tracks and forest roads that led back to the picnic place.
With another shuttling of the group we met up again for our journey back home but first came the most important part of our day out. Which bar were we going to in Cadiar, it has to be Cadiar because they don’t serve tapas in Almeria provence, but there was a rebellion brewing amongst the lower ranks, Rene and Mark were pressing for a change of bar, I think they were hoping for a better tapas, something with meat in it. In the end, for the sake of unity of the group, I relented in my autocratic leadership and allowed them to choose the bar.
Last week on the journey back, some 6 km short of Cadiar the Suzuki had lost all its power and we had to limp into Cadiar, after having it fixed I was confident it would be fine but at exactly the same spot the same fault reappeared and once again we limped into Cadiar.
The two rebels had found a new bar on the way into Cadiar where we stopped for our long anticipated drinks. I promise I did not say a word to the waiter, but it was funny when the other table got meat tapas we got cheese. If all democracy can produce is a cheese sarni I think it’’s back to the dictatorship next week.
It was a great day out, I have really enjoyed the walks at this end of the Sierras.
The car was returned to the garage where it caused a lot of head scratching, the main conclusion reached, don’t drive on this bit of road into Cadiar. It’s a good job we have finished this end of the walk.

The walkers Mike, Kees, Ray, Graham, Rene, Mark, Clare and myself.

Distance walked on route today,8.9 km. Total distance today 17.8 km. Height climbed today 753 metres. Total distance walked on the Sulayr path 267.3 km. Distance left to do 32.7 km. Total height climbed 21513 metres. Total distance walked 617.1 km.  

Friday, May 18, 2012

15 May 2012 Section 11 Barranco Horcajo

Barranco Horcajo

15 May 2012 Section 11 Barranco Horcajo

We have had a few weeks off the Sulayr walk, in part because we have had some late heavy snow, in fact we had more snow in April than we did in the winter months. Also I got fed up of driving up through Cadier to the far distant remaining sections of the walk.
Our plan this week was to complete tramo 11, we still had a 12 km section left to do. Careful research with the maps showed a forest road going down into the Barranco del Aguadero, the last time we had tried to get there we found that the road had been washed away, this time we had a back up plan as well.
We had our usual 7.45 start for the 120 km drive up through the Alpujarras to Luajar de Andarax. From Andarax you then take a twisting forest road as it climbs high into the Sierra Nevada. It’s not a fast road, with all the bumps, potholes and hairpin bends it is a road to be driven carefully. So it was a surprise to discover that a wagon was gaining on us rapidly, it was a bigger surprise when someone said it was an Honey wagon, why would anybody want to take a wagon full of s**t up this road? It turned out this was a true Honey wagon, i.e one that collects honey made by Bees, not the smelly stuff made by humans.
When we came to the road that went down into the barranco it did not look too promising, so we went for the second option and drove a little further to where we had finished walking last time.
The walk follows a twisting little track as it goes down into the Horcajo barranco and then across the holm oak covered Loma Raspa, this was a superb path but as we headed down into the Barranco del Aguadero, our thoughts turned to the return journey. The temperature was going up fast and the thought of climbing back up to the car after walking 20 km was a little daunting. Another plan was hatched, we would follow the barranco downhill and turn the walk into a circular one coming back up the road we should have driven down. We could then check the road out for the next time. The only problem was Ray, he has been tagged and has to explain to Caroline what he has been up to if he records less than 32,000 steps. I think it is to stop him going off with the twelve swedish girls when we find them!
Whilst we did not clock up a great distance either on the Sulayr path or the walk in general, with the unseasonably high temperatures we were experiencing I think we had all had enough, and besides we would have more time in the bar in Cadiar.
On the drive back the Suzuki suddenly lost power, we stopped and checked what we could, finding nothing obvious we set off again for Cadiar where we found a mechanic who told us we would make it home to our valley.
After stopping for drinks and some tapas we headed safely home, the car behaved itself and a faulty turbo servo valve was replaced the following day.

The walkers Mike, Kees, Ray, Graham, Rene, Mark and myself.

Distance walked on route today,3.7 km. Total distance today 13.00km. Height climbed today 533 metres. Total distance walked on the Sulayr path 258.4 km. Distance left to do 41.6 km. Total height climbed 20760 metres. Total distance walked 599.3 km.  

Saturday, April 14, 2012

10 April 2012 Section 10 - 11 Barranco Paterna to Barranco Horcajo

El Cerecillo

10 April 2012 Section 10 - 11 Barranco Paterna to Barranco Horcajo

Typically for Spain the weather over the Easter holiday has been wet, no matter what date Easter is, you can guarantee it will rain, or, like last week, snow.
With this in mind we specified wet weather gear for the walk again this week and, as we were making the long drive up the Alpujarras on Tuesday morning, it looked like we would be wearing them before the day was out.
We have a 17 km section, parts of 10 and 11 still left to do, it was far too much to do in one day as it would have involved a round trip of 35 km and some 1600 metres of climbing. I had devised a plan to split it into two parts, one of 20km and the other 15km, with both walks setting off from the same place. I had discovered a driveable track, well I thought I had discovered a drivable track, on Google Earth, which would take us right to our starting point for both sections and we could then make a decision as to which way to go when we got there.
The drive up to Laujar de Andarax was uneventful, we were in two cars, mine and Marks trusty little go anywhere Renault. Sally in the Tomtom was programed to find us the route, and this week, to keep Kees happy, we let him play  with her. She navigated us through Andarax and down to the river which was going to be our route up to our starting point. The track was obviously not well used, which surprised me a little as there appeared to be a lot of Cortijos close to the road. We bounced along over boulders in the river bed or occasionally on what might be described as the road. After a couple of Kms, and with still another five to go, we ran out of road, it had been washed away in a storm. We had two choices we could walk from here adding another 10 km to whichever hard walk we were doing, or we could try and find another access point. When I was the planning the route I had noticed another forest road 5 km away so we turned around and headed back to Andarax. The new road would take us up to El Cerecillo the end of tramo 10 and start of 11. This was a good road, in fact I think it was the best one we have been on up to the Sulayr path, and we made rapid progress as we climbed up to 1700 metres. By the time we arrived the clouds had parted and the sun was shinning.
Setting off from El Cerecillo we headed west on section 10 towards the rio Paterna which we had  walked to on the 27 September 2011. The last time we were there we had seen Golden Eagles up close and we were all looking forward to reacquainting ourselves with these magnificent birds. The path was through pine forest and then across abandoned farm terraces as the path descends 300 metres into the Paterna Barranco. It was a wonderful way down with long range views over to Contraviesa but sadly no sign of the eagles. After a short break for water at the bottom we turned around and headed back up the hill, stopping only once for a couple of minutes. Everyone is keen to get their fitness levels back up to what they were last year. Another couple of walks like this and we'll all be super fit again.
We arrived back at the car with plenty of time to spare, it was a shorter walk than originally planned. So we decided to continue along section 11 for another 3.5 km to the Barranco del Horcajo. This week Mike was the one with the heavy legs, normally he’s at the front of the pack urging everyone on, but we found him languishing at the back a number times complaining his get up and go had gone. In deference to him we stopped before we climbed down into the Barranco knowing we would have climb straight back out again, we will save that pleasure for another day. Turning round we headed back to the cars.
We had hoped to do this 17km section of the walk in two parts but with our plans in disarray, after our off road expedition in the river bed, it now looks like we will have to do it in three bits.
Driving back we took a roundabout route through the pueblos of Paterna del Rio and Bayárcal, the latter looks worth exploring, and on to Cadiar where we stopped for a beer and a bit of tapas before arriving home around 7pm.
The weather was ideal but by the time we got home the wind had got up and the temperature had dropped, signaling a change in the weather once again.
The walkers Mike, Kees, Ray, Graham, Plym, Mark and myself.

Distance walked on route today, 7.8 km. Total distance today 15.7 km. Height climbed today 636 metres. Total distance walked on the Sulayr path 254.7 km. Distance left to do 45.3 km. Total height climbed 20227 metres. Total distance walked 586.3 km.  

Friday, April 6, 2012

3 April 2012 Sierra del Morrón back to Barranco Riachuelo

Enjoying the snow

3 April 2012

The weather has taken a turn for the worse this week, and the forecast for our Tuesday walk was not looking too good. Rain and thunderstorms for the lower slopes, and snow on the tops.
We had 3 plans, Plan A was to continue where we had left off on the Sulayr path last week.
Plan B was to continue along the GR142 on the lower slopes of the Alpujarras. Plan C was to roll over and go back to sleep because it was raining.
It looked like there could be 8 for the walk so we organised 2 cars, Graham has always been keen to test his car on the forest roads of the Sierra Nevadas. We had found this easy way up last week and passed it suitable for Graham’s Audi. In the end we only had 6 for the walk with Rene still not firing on all cylinders after her recent cough, cold and snivels and Mark was suffering from jet lag having only arrived back at 1.30 in the morning, Plym had got back at the same time but was still up for it.
We set off in 2 cars still unsure of our final destination, we would make our decision in Cadiar. After a quick conference in Cadiar we decided that we would head up the mountains and finish section 8 of the Sulayr path, to lighten the load in Graham’s low slung Audi Kees joined us in the 4X4. He was a bit upset when he saw Ray playing with Sally, Kees would also like to,play with Sally but we smack his hands if he tries to touch her, you never know where you are going to end up when he starts messing with her.
When we arrived at the start of the walk, the good weather had passed over and the clouds were starting to build up, another quick conference was held and we decided to press on with our chosen route. We could always turn around if the weather deteriorated and I had estimated that we had only about 9.5 km to walk to Barranco Riachuelo.
The start of the Sulayr path was 1.8 km away up a easily climbed slope, a lot better than last week when we busted our guts getting up there. Finally on the path we set off on a well marked path that led downhill and through a pine forest.  Following an acequia we walked into the barranco of the Rio Mecina which we crossed by way of a bridge, well the bridge was not exactly across the river having been washed downstream sometime ago. Resuming our trail we climbed up to an old shepherd's hut, and, whilst not 5 star, it was waterproof if we needed shelter on our return. The hard part of the walking was now over, the path was level and we made rapid progress for the next 4 km and the turnaround point for today's walk. A slight miscalculation of the estimated distance, the GPS showed we had walked 11 km.
Graham was keen to eat his sandwiches and so lunch was declared, we had no sooner started eating when the weather deteriorated and it started to snow, so donning waterproofs, hats and gloves we ate a quick lunch and set off back for the car. Passing the shepherds up we decided to press on, the thought of a beer in Cadiar was a bigger pull than a night in the hut. I was having trouble seeing where we were going as my glasses were covered in snow, I decided to walk “an naturale”, this was OK, except I could not see the marker posts and Mike had to point them out in the distance. We managed it fine until we got to the river where with with my limited vision I misjudged the stones and slipped. Fortunately I was across before my boots had time to fill up. We were near to the perimeter road and chose this as an easier way back to car, we were all fighting fit after our illnesses and set off up the hill for a racing finish at 5 kmph..
Whilst the views were restricted by the low clouds and we had spent half our time walking in snow we had achieved our objective and had had a good day out, all that was left was the beer and tapas in Cadiar.
If you are wondering about Sally it’s our name for the girl in the Tomtom who sometimes helps us to our destination.
The walkers Mike, Kees, Ray, Graham, Plym and myself.

Distance walked on route today, 8.8 km. Total distance today 22 km. Height climbed today 658 metres. Total distance walked on the Sulayr path 246.9 km. Distance left to do 53.1 km. Total height climbed 19591 metres. Total distance walked 570.6 km.