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]

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Tuesday 19 January – Sierra de Orihuela (Spain)

Whilst we were in the town of Orihuela yesterday (about 10km NE of the city of Murcia), we couldn’t help but notice the small range of hills just to the north of the town, and a visit to the Tourist Info Office furnished us with a free map, showing a handful of walking routes through those hills. Whilst none of the marked routes went up to the highest point, two of them hit the ridge sufficiently near to that point for me to think that there would be a trodden path to take us there, and thus a plan for today was formed.

Having spent the night in one of the car parks in the hills (more about that on t’other blog:, we were ideally located to get going this morning. In fact, there was our objective right before us out of Colin’s open side door:

20160119_133205The going was pretty slow, mainly due to ‘plates of ballbearings’ type terrain with the occasional scrambly bit thrown in, but also, on the way up, due to navigational pauses. It turned out that there were various waymarked trails on the ground which weren’t shown on our map, and even though the signage seemed pretty detailed, we couldn’t find any of the placenames on our (small area) map. Fortunately, the 1:15k scale of that map meant that it was pretty straightforward to work out the correct directions based on the contour lines.


Random snap of Mick heading up towards the col

Finally, just after hitting a col and heading up towards the ridge we found the name of our hill on one of the signs:



Random snap showing the plain below, which I think chronologically belongs before the waymark snap above.

Three identically dressed (right down to their baseball caps) chaps were met as we hit the ridge, from where we discovered that there wasn’t just the expected trodden line up to our top, but a proper waymarked trail and thus, via a couple of other pimples on the ridge, we made our way there, topping out at 634m:


The views from the orange-peel littered summit (really, everyone who goes up there must eat a couple of oranges each, all discarding the peel) were superb, with vast plains below us, and other lumpy bits visible in various directions. In the direction this next piccie was taken, Colin was within view too, but even though I know his position, I can’t make him out on the photo:


The downside of our start point was that it didn’t give the possibility of a circular walk, which didn’t really matter, as the route looked completely different from the other direction.

It was a fine outing, in perfect walking weather, coming in at 4.25 miles (taking us just over 3 hours; as I said, it was quite slow going terrain) with just under 600m of ascent.