Tuesday, 15 May 2012

The Rio Lanjaron valley

I was out recently with clients who were staying in Lanjaron. As they only wanted a fairly easy day I suggested that we did a circuit of the village, this meant I didn’t have to use my car and yet we got a great walk. The route we took follows the line of a Camino Real up the Rio Lanjaron valley ( camino reals or royal tracks are effectively the nearest thing to a Public Right of Way to be found here in Spain). This particular route runs up toward Cero de Caballo. For those who like stat’s this mountain, which at 3,011m sits high above Lanjaron, is the most westerly 3000m+ peak in Europe. The path itself starts at the eastern end of the village following a well defined mule track which not so long ago was one of the main routes to higher pastures and agricultural land. Underfoot there was obvious evidence of recent use by a mule or horse however it is difficult to imagine the amount of traffic which must have used these routes in days gone by to get into the high mountains. Whilst most of these old tracks are becoming overgrown and lost this particular route is well documented in a number of guides and is kept clear to a certain extent through a higher level of use and by occasional maintenance by park rangers. Even though we had been able to set off at a reasonably early hour and get the bulk of the climbing done in the morning, much of the route was done in full sun and mid afternoon heat. For those not used to walking in the area, the intense heat of summer or in this case spring, can be debilitating. Normally I carry at least two litres of water and advise clients to do the same. On this day however, I had an additional litre plus some fruit. Even so we had to replenish our water at a fuente on route. I am often asked by clients if water in acequias can be drunk as often on the face of it it seems crystal clear and untainted. I must admit, when I first came over here I have done so. However, having since seen dead cabra (goats) in some and goat muck slurry in others I now avoid doing so at all costs. Fuentes or springs are usually marked on maps however on occasion I have arrived to find them dry so it is best over summer to carry sufficient water from the start of the day to ensure you do not dehydrate. The fuente we drank at is named Pedro Calvo , which translated means ‘’Bald Pete’’, I wonder who they could mean?