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]

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Sunday 29 October - Peña el Moro (821m)

Of the waymarked routes local to the village of Lanestosa, only one visits the top of a hill, so that, naturally, is the one we selected for today's outing. The fact that the lady in the Tourist Office had advised us that it was also the best waymarked was a bonus.

It was very well waymarked too - provided you walked it in an anti-clockwise direction. Having set off clockwise (because that's the direction taken by the person whose GPX file I had downloaded from, it took us a while to realise this, as I merrily navigated from the map on my phone.

Then we got to a fork in the path, where the only visible waymark was just behind us (i.e. perfectly obvious which way to go if you're heading the other way; of no use if you're heading up the hill). Both paths looked good, so we forked right, per the downloaded route. Steeply we went up, until the path became a trod and then petered out. Carefully we picked our way down (very rocky + fallen leaves = recipe to twist an ankle), to reach a path we could see below, which put us back on track. We had just learnt that the track I had downloaded was not the same as the waymarked route. The waymarked route whose marks we could only see by looking behind us and conducting detective work at junctions...

We were helped by the route being, effectively, a circuit at the bottom with a lollipop sticking out of the top. For the lollipop we were walking the 'right' way, so it was only when we rejoined the circuit that we had to pay attention again. Following the route on my phone went smoothly until the very last bit of the descent back to the village, where we found ourselves bashing steeply down some rough ground beside a fence and jumping down from a wall to the road below. It was a surprise to then see a waymark arrow pointing up the hill a few moments later. I still vaguely wish I'd poked about a bit more to find out where the path actually lay, because I'm pretty sure the fenceline/jumping-off-wall shouldn't have featured.

Starting and ending at the motorhome parking area, the walk came in at exactly 6 miles, with 2100' of ascent (and I was very pleased that the descent didn't involve as much ascent as the ascent had involved descent...). Here are a few snaps, with a bit more of the story:

It all started simply, but a bit brutally, with 200 or so steps, too many of which were spaced awkwardly so as to keep using the same leading leg:

At 10.58 I declared we would stop for elevenses at the first to occur of a bench or a view. Unsurprisingly, no bench appeared, but as we broke out of the trees we could see a cliff-clinging 'walkway' above us and thought that would make a good viewpoint:

It was a good viewpoint, but not good for sitting, so on we went until, after ascending a flight of stairs, we landed on a lovely level bit of grass, with a fine panorama. A red kite circled us as we supped and ate:

After pausing to allow a shepherd and his flock to move away from our path (together with his four dogs, or two dogs and two lambs or two dogs and two pigs, we couldn't quite decide...), we rounded a bend, ascended a bit more and then could clearly see our objective before us:

Mick preceded me up to the ridge and forewarned me that I was about to see 'a bit of an oooh'. He was right. As my head cleared the top, I couldn't help but exclaim 'Oooh'. Six griffon vultures then flew straight past us, and I managed to grapple with my phone fast enough to catch some of them in a shot:

Often we find European summits marked with crosses. This one was marked with what appeared to be an upside down fire-suppression sprinkler:

The initial descent from the top was steep and eroded, calling for careful footing. The need for care wasn't helped by distracting views... was just a shame there wasn't a blue sky and good air clarity to show them off better.

Bonus stats:

Number of times I nearly fell over: 6
1) rocks (big ones!) that rolled completely under a foot: 2
2) slips off the edge of a rock: 2
3) an excess of acorns on a path acting like ball bearings under foot: 2

Number of times I actually fell over: 0


  1. Looks like a worthwhile summit.

    Your final list is a masterpiece of punctuation.

    1. In spite of the navigational difficulties, it was a really good walk.

      I was wrong when I said this was the only local waymarked route that visits a summit. I've now realised that there is one more, albeit the Tourist Office lady advised against it due to the poor marking. We may give it a go tomorrow if the weather is better than today (i.e. not raining).