Caminito del Rey – Finally Being Fixed

After many false starts, the world-famous Caminito del Rey is finally being made safe so that many more people can enjoy this thrilling walkway – thankfully we got to bag this a couple of times over the years by using our Via Ferrata and Climbing gear to gain access, we were able to enjoy this unique place.

el Chorro, Again!

Having had such an amazing time, this time last year – me and Don Simon opted to come back to enjoy the sunshine and the great climbing that this part of Spain offers, with our good friend Jonny ‘2 Pies’ joining us this time around. Having flown previously we opted to drive, taking the ferry from Portsmouth to Santander, driving through the night, arriving this morning.

day1

It was a long long journey, probably a little too long as we left London at Noon on Friday, arriving at the Olive Branch Guest House this morning (Sunday 22nd @10am) shattered. The sea crossing was very bumpy though not unexpected as the Bay of Biscay is famed for being rough at the best of times and sailing across late December meant we were bouncing all over the place – we convinced Don Simon that the straps holding his mattress were in actual fact safety straps for when you went to sleep – he duly tied himself into bed much to the hilarity of myself and Jonny ‘2 Pies’!

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Arriving late Saturday evening we motored through Spain, down through the middle of country, passing Madrid on the West – the roads were empty and we made good progress with the final fifty miles being particularly special as the sun rose causing spectacular views across the mountains. We arrived in El Chorro mid morning this morning, shattered but exhilarated at being back here.

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We’ve already met several friends from last year and we’re off this evening to our favourite tapas bar for dinner before getting up nice and early tomorrow to begin climbing. Oh, we’ve also been overrun by mountain goats – hundreds descended upon our tents eating all the foliage, I’m surprised to still have a tent!

day1 2

The return of Musgogenesis (6a)

The last time we were in this part of Spain, it was for my good friend Jons’ stag weekend – which we’d conveniently arranged about three weeks prior to the actual wedding, you can already see where this is heading!

So here we were February 2010, young(ish) men with minds full of adventure, our first proper climbing trip – though we’d been here previously to bag Caminito del Rey a famous walk we’d talked about doing for years and years!

The stag was going well, we were climbing lots, drinking plenty of wine and generally having a great time with good friends. Buoyed by a great mornings climb, our hero of the story decided that he was by far too good a climber to be bothering with the lesser climbs we were on, and sets about tackling Musgogenesis (Graded 6a.)

Of the course the inevitable happened, having climbed about six feet from the ground and on making his next move (there is a further story here about how Tug came to be called Tug…) Jon fell, breaking his ankle on the rock – we were obviously in hysterics with Jon heroically telling us to climb on, that he’d be ok, leave him with a gun and he’d fight the enemy off and we could make good our escape (the pain obviously getting to him) – though it was obvious it was a little more serious, so having stopped laughing and taking many pictures, off we went to the hospital where a fractured ankle was confirmed!

Half of Six is Three

Half of Six is Three

So being in the Area, Tug and I decided to pay a visit to the scene of crime to bag a special picture which I’m sure Jon will appreciate and for the record, Jon and Amanda married a few weeks later, the bride looking lovely in white and Jon, well Jon was on crutches trying to hide the heavily bandaged leg!

Couldn't resist!

Couldn’t resist!

So then, day two – Bagged:

Los Currantes (4)
Albert Extrem (4)
Er Suzuki (4+)
Chicharreta (4+)

Back to el Chorro, Spain

It was whilst drinking some cheap Spanish wine in Brockley SE4, that I had the idea of christmas being spent in el Chorro, Spain – only I had no one to go with. I put the feelers out and the only person to show any interest was my flatmate Tug – his choices being Christmas with his mum (in Rossendale, which is near Scotland, apparently) or, coming to Spain for two weeks – which meant leaving London on the 22nd, coming home on the 5th January 2013.

We both had quite big nights on the 21st – both breaking for work and going out for drinks with myself ending up at a Northern Soul Party in East Dulwich which was one of the best nights i’ve had in a long while and with Tug drinking in London’s west end.

We were both heavily hung over as we headed out of London – the weather was horrific, 5live was saying that the whole of the SW of England was under water with no train travel between Taunton and Plymouth – we were on our way.

Long story short – the plane was delayed, the car hire place rammed and our forty minute drive to el Chorro was in fact two hours plus, having got completely lost in the national park.

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Finally arriving at the Olive Branch Guest House, we had a couple of cold beers before crashing – our accom being single man tents for the duration of our stay.

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Well, we’ve now had day one – we’ve been to the supermarket where we loaded up with 8 litres of Don Simon (cartoned red wine at 1e a litre) and fud. This afternoon was spent in an area called Valle de Abdalajis where we bagged a number of grade 3 & 4 climbs – the sky was blue, the sun shining – as we hiked up the hill the smell of fresh herbs hit us, eagles soared and we set about our climbs.

So then, day one – bagged:

Supertrepaero (3+)
Terricola (3+)
Reunion Gay (4)
BuBu (4)

It was a great start to our trip and we ended up in a local bar drinking cold San Miguels eating great Tapas and now back at the hostel getting ready to put a dent in the Don Simon!

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Senorita!

We’ve spent the weekend watching Bollywood movies, many of which have starred my favourite Bollywood Actress – Katrina Kaif! My favourite movie by far, has been Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (You Don’t Get Life a Second Time…)

This a wonderful road-trip style of  a movie. A story of three friends embarking on a journey through Spain that they were supposed to do several years back. The movie has specactular cinematography, great songs and superb acting throughout.

Starring Farhan Akhtar, Hrithik Roshan, Abhay Deol and Katrina Kaif.

Below is my favourite song from the movie, Senorita…