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, 22 February 2016

Ruta 3 – Valverde del Camino

After a couple of days in Seville, we left under a cloud of sand and dust and headed west to Valverde, a place I was going to omit until I found, on the town’s website (, that there are 10 walking/cycling routes here. In the absence of a summary on the website it was a bit of a painful process to find out their lengths, where they lie in relation to the town and which are circular, but after a bit of perseverance I had found and downloaded gpx files for three options.

This morning we set out for the longest of those I’d selected, which was made even longer by virtue of Colin being parked right at the other end of the town to where the route started.

Walking down a lane, between stone walls, and with green undulations and trees forming the view to each side of us, we could have been in England …

…if it hadn’t been for things like the storks sitting on nests on top of some nearby pylons. There was one on top of a chimney in the town too:

A dirt track between grazing pasture, complete with inquisitive young cows was also reminiscent of home…

…although walking in temperatures in the high teens at this time of year was rather less so.

The main attraction of the route I’d chosen for today is that it visits the remains of six dolmens (chambered burial cairns), although reports I’d read on-line suggested that only four were findable. We found (or didn’t find…) the same, although things might have been easier if all of the information signs hadn’t been removed, damaged, and scattered around the area:

Below was the most interesting, I thought, of the four we found, but if you look carefully you might see that a chap called Juan has daubed his name over one of the stones in yellow paint. He’d done the same on all of the sites, one of them repeatedly. As I said weeks ago, even ancient remains aren’t safe from graffitists in Spain. I wonder if he was the person who thought it’d be fun to remove all the information signs too?

We still had over half of the walk to go after the dolmens (I’d expected to find them scattered around the route, whereas the reality was that they were all grouped together on an out-and-back detour from the circuit), which took us through more pasture. It was on that return leg that we noted that thus far we had seen flies, spiders, birds, cats, dogs, goats, (sheep, mules,) horses and cows, but not a single old lady.

Lunch was had under the shade of a tree at a point where I’m sure that on a clear day the view would be superb. Alas, we’re still sitting in a dust/sand cloud, severely curtailing visibility (although nowhere near as much as when we left Seville yesterday).

A cycle path completed our circuit back to the town, through whose streets we retraced our steps back to Colin. Nine and a half miles had been walked, and ViewRanger tells me that the undulations added up to 1000’. I strongly suspect the ascent figure is exaggerated.

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