Monday, 18 November 2013
Whilst reaching a height of 1,850m the Sierra de Lujar range to the south of the Sierra Nevada is generally overlooked by walkers visiting the area. Perhaps the reason is that with its whale bacl appearance and lack of rocky peaks it just does not appeal. There are routes here however with one of the better ascents forming a hard day out with about 1,200m of ascent. The route starts in the Baranco de Castilejo a steep sided valley due south of Orgiva. The baranco , which holds some single pitch climbs on outcrops , provides an easy route in as there is a mine access track running up it from the main road. The track splits at about 700m with the main branch doubling back to climb the western side of the valley to the mine workings above. Our route climbs the eastern side on a less well used track before reaching a fire break/track which runs south along the crest of a narrow ridge that climbs steeply upward. The track provides a clear route until about 1.000m where it reverts to a path running up the middle of the fire break which still follows the crest. The route now steepens and at 1250m begins to develop a more rocky nature with a number of limestone outcrops along the crest. The first three are by passed to the right (west) though provide short scrambles. After a further 300m of ascent the ridge fades into the main bulk of the mountain. From here you will see the masts at the summit, head due south to and these. Just before the first of the masts you will reach a narrow tarmac road, follow this past the first of the masts to bear right just before the second group to follow a stone path bearing right before the third group of masts. The path now narrows and heads west to cross the head of the Baranco de Castilejo and reaches a minor peak. Now narrower the path crosses open plateau to reach the edge of a one forest. From here head right (north) through the forest. As you emerge cross a distinctive limestone ridge to enter a second narrower band of older pine trees. Leave the second band of trees and head to a clear track still heading north across the hillside. As the track turns west continue north across virgin hillside to reach the head of a broad firebreak which creates the start of the descent route. Cross a number of narrow tracks until at about 1,250m you reach a well used track. There are some large caves off to the left (west).This now heads east to pass the ruins of some mine buildings before zigzagging down the mountainside back to the start of the route.
Friday, 9 August 2013
Friday, 5 July 2013
Thursday, 7 March 2013
Hopefully, with the onset of Spring, we will begin to get some great walking days again. As I write this I’m sheltering from the fourth day of rain, having to run a generator to use the computer. Oh the joys of solar power! I know we need the rain and snow. How else would I fill my alberca, but after a couple of days we do get a bit stir crazy. For those who do get out in the next couple of weeks there is a potential danger to look out for, the Pine Processionary Moth caterpillars (Thaumetopoea pityocampa). The adult moths lay eggs inside a distinctive silky nest in pine trees where the eggs and later caterpillars will over-winter. Once hatched and outside the nest the caterpillars are fascinating to see as they often create a trail of up to a meter long as they follow each other nose to tail, crossing your path or descending a tree. The caterpillar is covered in fine hairs which can be a severe irritant if touched and in later stages of the caterpillar’s development can be released into the air. If breathed in, the hairs can cause severe allergic reaction in susceptible people. They are also a problem for dogs or cats. If they sniff or lick the trails of caterpillars they can have a severe reaction, problems with breathing and possibly be killed. As the name suggests they are predominantly found in pine woodlands so at this time of year beware if you walking in an area of pine trees. If, like me you have a pine tree on your land you may have more of a problem. Having cut out branches infested with nests for a few years, my pine tree was beginning to look a bit bald. I asked Manolo, my neighbour, how to deal with the nests and was told, quite seriously, to use a shotgun. Apparently the idea was to break open the nest before winter to expose the inside to frost and hence kill off the eggs and larvae. Not possessing a shotgun I initially used an air rifle borrowed from another neighbour. However, though we hit the nests, the pellet didn’t break them open. The answer was to get a fisherman’s catapult suitably equipped with a bait cup. This, when filled with gravel, did a great job of bursting the nests and hence allowing the frost do its job. We tried this the winter before last and had no nests at all this winter. Just beware, don’t do it once the caterpillars are hatched as they will rain down on you. Also if you or your neighbours have solar panels, greenhouses, expensive patio doors etc anywhere near, you might get a few complaints if you start firing stones around willy nilly!