La Concha, Gibraltar and Salsa

La Concha, Gibraltar and Salsa

Tuesday 16th January 2018

Another lazy day – well why not, all the time we have the use of a gorgeous villa it seems silly to spend time away from it and as we are only moving about 10k up the road to a campsite and will have another 8 days in the area we thought that we should really make use of a sunny and secluded garden. I went for a run in the morning, lazed in the sun in the afternoon NOT drinking beer and trying to be healthy. The goodness was undone when we then treated ourselves to a takeaway curry. Yum! I’ll work it off tomorrow – I hope to climb La Concha the tallest peak in Andalusia standing at 1,200 metres (3,937ft – about 500ft less than Ben Nevis)

Wednesday 17th January 2018 – La Concha

Today was the day… the sun was out, there was not a cloud in a stunning blue sky and La Concha begged to be conquered by me. It was 18 degrees and I wasn’t even up late. Angie had elected to stay at the villa as her back had been playing up a bit and she didn’t want to hinder my adventure. A 25 min beautiful drive up into the foothills took in some lovely scenery and some typical white villages en route. 6E7F8D67-4E99-44E9-85FC-8DA088C58653The last 5k was up a narrow twisting road that led to one luxury Mirador (hotel) and a car park. Car locked, day sack on back, we set off – me and Molly. The road fizzled out and became a dry mud track through olive groves and the going was easy.

I passed a group of walkers coming in the opposite direction and they all made a fuss of Molly, the guide telling me that I should put Molly on a tight lead whilst going through the pine forest as there were a lot of caterpillars on the trail and if Molly ate one or stepped on a nest of them she would die. Out came the lead and we headed into the Forrest concerned about the warning but also thinking that a caterpillar can’t be that dangerous could it? It didn’t take long to the first sighting. A huge line of green hairy beasts making their way slowly across the path in a follow the leader nose to tail fashion. Quite interesting to watch but they did look particularly unpleasant. I had heard of a camper last year who swept up a line of them walking through her awning and ended up in hospital for a week due to the poisonous dust they puff out. We walked on and there was line after line of these grotesque but fascinating creatures. Whole bundles of them made circular saucer sized nests which needed to avoided and it was a tense and long walk through the forest making sure that we skirted around or jumped over the venomous villains.

I was pleased to be out the other side to start the assent and to able to let Molly of the lead again. The climb was pretty tough going in the shade of the mountain and when we finally reached one of its plateaus it was lovely to bask in the warmth of the sunshine again. Despite losing the trail for about half an hour along with 8 other brits and 4 Spanish who were all wandering around the area asking each other if they were as lost as they were. We finally found the path again hiding behind a bush marked by the smallest cairn ever. I had set a cracking pace from the start and the three hour hike had only taken me just over two although I was ‘slightly moist’ as a result. I neared the top with about 150ft to go and the views were awesome.

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The path suddenly headed down the rear of the mountain and along its apparently sheer north face. A small path zigzagged up the face with lengths of chains set into the rock to hold onto on the most vertical parts which also had limited hand holds. The first two were ok, Molly was able to find her own way on the first and I put her on the lead for the second to make sure she didn’t jump too far and slip. It was a bit hair raising however when we came to the third there was no way that could let Molly find her own way, there wasn’t one unless you could hold on to the chains and step up and down the jagged path with a huge drop below. I couldn’t hold on to Mollies lead and the chains and it all felt too risky for me with her. With sadness we had to admit defeat and backtrack. If I was on my own I would have got to the top as the scramble / climb was easy enough with the chains but it was not worth risking Molly for a peak. We made ourselves feel better by returning back to the highest point we got to with views to die for, taking off my T shirt, breaking out the Lidl pastries that we had brought with us plus a scrumptious fresh orange picked off of the tree in the garden this morning. The views were truly breathtaking. Talk about sunbathing in total tranquility it was absolute silence. The straights of Gibraltar looked like glass with tiny oil tankers on it. The mountains of Morocco could clearly been seen as could Gibraltar. We spent about half an hour in a place that I could have stayed all day at.

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African mountains
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Gibraltar in the mist

 

I always find the assent easier than the decent and picking my way back down the mountain took ages and put a real strain on my bad knee which was really aching by the time we happily got back to the car. Molly immediately curled up and slept. I had to drive!

Thursday 18th January 2018 – Gibraltar Day

We wanted to go back to Gib’ to get some more booze, do the tourist thing of the rock, the monkeys etc and see Lulu and the girl as again. We had agreed with Lulu that Thursday would be good. In a total reverse of yesterday’s amazing weather today was grim and really windy. We headed back to the rock via the top toll road to speed up the trip and our poor little car was beaten up by the wind and blown all over the road making it quite a challenge but arrived with no damage done. I dropped Angie off in the town centre as she wanted to do a bit of therapy shopping in M&S, Debenhams and the like.

and then went to pick up Lulu and Coco for a very windy walk in the east side beach. Angie had “done” the town in no time at all and after dropping Lulu and Coco back picked her up to go and do the tourist bit.
Now the cable car was not working as it was having ten days of annual maintenance and you can no longer drive to the top so we only had three options available 1) Walk up the road or steps to the top – that was a non starter as my knee was still throbbing from yesterday and Angie still had back issues – but maybe another time. 2) Don’t go. 3) Pay £50 for a mini bus tour. I don’t usually like being shepherded and being told what to see when to see it and for how long but despite the cost option three seemed the only option. St Michael’s cave was totally mind blowingly beautiful,

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the apes were sweet and funny but we didn’t have enough time to really see them as we were hurried on,

I may be a bit of a heathen but the moorish castle was nothing more than a old ruin and resembled nothing more than an old house in the middle of being refurbished with its interior plaster removed.

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Our tour didn’t stop at the Apes Den or the Siege Tunnels which we didn’t realise until we were on the mini bus and half way up the rock. SO if you decide to do a tour check carefully as there are others that cover all of the attractions for a similar cost. Even better – if you have a full day and the energy to do it, cable car or walk to the top and then make your own way down seeing everything at your pace. Did we enjoy the trip – YES was it worth £50 – NOT REALLY (that is five litres of whisky after all !). Talking of whiskey, Morrisons was calling. An hour later and our Bank balance a bit lighter we have enough spirit to see us through to next year – perhaps!
Lulu had cooked beef stew

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Sunset from Lulu’s balcony

and then we had arranged to go and Salsa in a local bar which we walked to. The lesson was “interesting” but Lulu and I got to dance a couple of times and Lulu made some salsa contacts on the rock to hopefully be able to relaunch her passion to dance.

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