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]

Friday, 5 February 2016

PR-A 354 - Sendero de Los Molinos y las Fuentes (West Section)

It was gone 2pm by the time we headed out to complete the route we had started yesterday (having done the cultural town tour this morning), making our way first back up to the Erimita de los Santos Martires, where we left the trail yesterday:

On our way there we answered a question that has been bothering us for a few days*: why does almost every olive tree have a plastic bottle, with a quantity of liquid in the bottom, hanging from it? Passing close enough to one of the plastic bottles today to be able to examine it, we found that it had a cap on (thus it wasn’t channeling and collecting sap from the tree), but it also had some holes punched towards the neck of the bottle. “Aha!” I exclaimed. They’re insect traps, presumably for some specific pest:

After a few minutes heading up a track the waymarkers told us to descend some steps, taking us to walk along an irrigation channel. There’s quite a system of them making their way through the terraces and orchards. Some of them look like they have fallen out of use (although I could be wrong there), and we have noted that modern hose-based irrigation systems are much in evidence:

Another surprise picnic area appeared before us, together with some steps leading up to a viewpoint. I visited the latter and can’t understand why they built it there – it must be one of the poorest vantage points in the area. Nevertheless, the Spanish certainly know how to built sturdy picnic sites, this being typical of all of the ones we’ve seen:

To loop back to Abla, down to, along a bit and across the river bed we had to go. A bit of mild directional confusion accompanied that bit; the waymarks were there, we just needed to look carefully for them:

As well as picnic areas abounding (we passed another on our way back to Abla), we’ve also come across a few outdoor gyms (although none as good as the one in Ohanes, which was incredibly well equipped). This one struck us as being oddly located, being about a kilometre away from the nearest house. There’s only three pieces of equipment here, and one of them is a walking machine; who’d want to walk at least a kilometre out and back, just to go on a walking machine?!

An afternoon walk appears to be a very popular pastime in the places we’ve been so far, particularly amongst the older women, and we duly got stared at by a few we passed (yep, Mick did greet them and make them all speak) as we made our way back to and through Abla.

My considered opinion, having now completed this route is that we were spoiled by the Mines of Berja trail the other day, as whilst PR-A 354 does have some good and pleasing sections, overall it just isn’t that interesting.

As for stats, we would have more success in recording them if we’d remembered to stop the GPS before we drove off in Colin… What I can say is that the advertised total of 2500’ of ascent for this whole trail was more like 700’.

(*I forgot to mention yesterday that we had solved another question which had been bothering us. Many terraces and orchards we have been seeing in this region are full of trees in pink blossom, but neither of us was sure what they were. Yesterday’s route took us straight past some which were still bearing a little of last year’s fruit. Almonds was the answer. Everyone seems to be growing them around here, with all of the terraces and orchards we passed over the last few days being planted with either almonds or olives.)


  1. Miss Marple and Hercule Poitrot? Dempsey and Makepeace? Mulder and Scully?