“This winter has been a bone dry one here in Andalucia. Whilst everyone in the village moans when the long awaited winter rains don’t arrive, it does mean it is an excellent time for one of my favourite occupations – exploring new routes.
Up before dawn (dawn is a bit late in February!) and off I drive to distant mountain tops, abandon the car, take the dog and “explore routes”. So many of these routes I try to find are just hearsay. Men in bars, shepherds on the hills, cork cutters with their mules in the forest, all of them know of some wonderful right of way which I can use. I have learnt a few rules about route finding over the last few years:
- The older the person telling you about the path the more invisible it will be.
- Hunters’ suggestions are like tunnels, they never consider the height of a horse.
- No matter which direction you go in when discovering a new route you will always end up riding it the other way and have to read your notes backwards.
- Your pruning saw, secateurs, machete, always blunt/break when you are at the furthest point from the car
- Don’t rely on your dog to take you home if you are lost, you end up in a forest of prickles face to face with a mongoose or a deer.
- Google earth tells lies and flattens out precipices.
- Any locals you actually meet on foot as you set out on your great endeavour deny absolutely categorically the existence of the trail you are about to take.
In spite of all the above, we try and add a new route to our Tours every year. This Spring it is the fabulous GRAZALEMA COMBINATION TOUR, 9th -15th April, three days of adventure in the craggy mountains and three days of luxury riding.
Ah well, back to work – horses to water and paths to clear!
Sounds great fun, and the above article captures the spirit of outdoor life in the small villages of Andalucia well. Southern Spain is such a great place to get out riding and this winter has been incredible in terms of weather for great outdoor activities. So no matter if you are mountain biking in Spain, Hiking in Spain or taking in one of the many great horse riding activities in Spain, you can be ensured of stunning scenery, colourful locals, great local foods and great outdoor activity friendly weather!
You can read all about Ride Andalucia’s great and varied multi day riding tours and day rides on their website www.rideandalucia.com