ALMERIA UNCOVERED (or six days walking without cleaning my boots) 17 – 24 February 2013

On 17 February six of our members joined forces with fourteen Ramblers from across the United Kingdom for an introduction to the delights of Almeria Spain’s forgotten province. Arriving at Alicante after dark it was the following morning before the raw beauty of this region of Spain could be fully appreciated.

The Hotel Valle Del Este offered not only very comfortable accommodation, excellent fare but views across the rugged landscape with the Mediterranean as a backdrop. The week’s delights included a visit to the Parque Natural Cabo de Gata with a chance to explore the austere volcanic hills, at least that’s what it said in the literature. Sadly on the day we visited the region the winds were near to gale force so the walk across the volcanic hills had to be abandoned for a track around the foot of the ridge to reach the beach at Cala Chica.

As a flavour of the alternative landscape that this region offers on another day we walked the Sierra Cabrera, a mountain range with a wild feel and boasting impressive rocky scenery and wide-ranging views along the coast. Mining in this rugged area has left a legacy of tracks that make exploring on foot possible. They were laid over a hundred years ago to get the raw materials off the mountain and are still visible. Tunnels linking paths barely high enough to walk through had to be negotiated.

A trip to Almeria city was offered and taken up by all, the city boasts a magnificent Cathedral with priceless artifacts demonstrating the importance the city once enjoyed. As an additional bonus the fauna and flora outstripped the expectations of even the most experienced enthusiast, add some Mediterranean style sunshine and our discoveries were even more enjoyable. Evening meals were a relaxed event with much laughter being enjoyed with our fellow travellers.

As we collected our baggage after a frustrating flight delayed return to Gatwick we parted with a common thought that Almeria had lived up to its reputation of being the driest region of Spain. Six days of walking and the only boot maintenance required was to dust them off.