The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Monday, 25 January 2016

The Hills by Totana

Having decided to travel from Murcia to the hills north of Totana (off the top of my head, I think it’s a journey of less than 30km if the direct route is taken) via the coast, it’s taken us five days to get here, but by mid-morning we were here and ready for a walk. The only complicating factor is that we have no map of this area, so we knew not where the trails lay. Thankfully, after a bit of a stroll around, an information sign was found detailing two walks, one of 7.5km and the other of 2.2km. They would do us nicely, we thought, provided they were well enough marked for us to follow.

We started with the longer of the two and having worked out in which direction we needed to head we soon picked up the markers. Waymarking proved to be good too, even if we did go awry only about half or three quarters of a mile in. Down a road we went, getting increasingly suspicious about the lack of painted marks, until after a few minutes we decided to retrace our steps to where we joined the tarmac. Sure enough, the route was clearly indicated as going off in a different direction, and there we went on good dirt paths, with excellent views behind us and a prominent feature to our left, which we were to see more closely this afternoon:

At the highest point of the walk (that is to say, the greatest altitude, not the best bit) another road was met and we followed it down to where a 250-year-old aqueduct crosses the road to Alede. We were definitely on the right track at that point, but soon afterwards another turn was missed, although we can’t say where as by the time we concluded that the lack of waymarks meant we’d gone awry we thought we may as well stay on the road. It was hardly busy: two cars passed us the whole time we were on it.

Back at our start point, a late lunch was had before we set out again, this time in the direction of the notable statue/monument on a nearby hill which had been visible throughout the early part of the morning’s walk. Stations of the cross were positioned at intervals up the road, leading us up to this:

We could easily have missed a turn on the second half of this circular walk, as it involved climbing over a crash barrier and dropping very steeply down for a few feet to join a good path – not a turn that would be obvious if you didn’t happen to see the mark on the base of one of the barrier supports.

We were back from that outing within half an hour, even having spent some time on the viewpoint platform near to the monument, but added to the morning’s walk it gave us a good bit of pleasing exercise on yet another fine day (about 18 degrees with barely a breath of wind).



  1. OSM seems to have a lot of walks around there

  2. When walking on French GRs I became highly suspicious if I hadn't seen a marker for half a mile, and learnt to turn back sooner rather than later. On one occasion walking with an English guy I met on my GR10 we were chatting so much that we followed the wrong GR for over two hours - all GR's of course have the same red and white markers and there were two different ones starting from the village we had left in the morning.