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.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

March 4th 2011 section 7 Berchules

A good weather forecast

With reasonable weather forecast for our walk on Friday it was decided to get an early, 8.15, start and try and do a section above Mercina Bombaron. This is quite a long drive but by sticking to the lower road through the Alpujarras rapid progress can be made.
What I had not appreciated when I had got up in the morning was that it had rained overnight, now overnight rain in Lecrin means snow at 2000 metres, but not to worry we had a  forecast for a fine day, with a chance of a bit of snow from 4pm onwards, by which time we would be in a bar, so no worries.
Our rapid progress towards Mecina was soon reduced to a crawl as we encountered a never ending series of rock falls on what was a new road two years ago, this is going to give someone a headache trying to sort it out. The walk was going to be in new country for us, and whilst we have excellent guide books and maps for the walk, details on access up to the footpath are somewhat sketchy. With some careful research a track had been identified that would take us up to the start of the walk. Needless to say we tried two tracks and came across locked gates but fortunately, at our second track, there was a very nice man from the “Medio Ambiente” who advised another track from Berchules. This was a very good track that took us to the 2000 metre line but some 15km short of our intended destination but it was a section we had to do, so, a quick change of plan and we were ready to go.
The only thing missing was the good weather, it was cool, with low grey cloud and it was starting to snow. The track was wide and drivable and we had not gone far when we were overtaken by a fire engine. What could burn up here I have no idea, everything was under snow, it would have been quite nice to discover a fire, at least we could have got warm.
After walking 7km, and with the weather deteriorating, we decided to turn around and head back to the car. The only time we saw any sunshine was when we arrived back at the car but that was only for 30 seconds. Driving back we stopped in TrevĂ©lez for a warming cup of hot chocolate, and by the time we got home the heavens had opened and the roads were awash, there was even snow in Chite, it was a good job we turned back.      
Ray has returned to the UK for rest and recuperation so this week we invited Plym and Rene to play out with the boys.  On the walk Mike, Kees, Rene, Plym and myself.  

Distance walked on the route today 7.1 km
Total distance walked today 14.2 km
Height climbed today 202 metres
Total distance on Sulayr path 22.5 km
Distance left to do 277.5 km
Total height climbed 1605 metres
Total distance walked