Winter Sun

A crashing noise through the undergrowth breaks the serene silence. This is followed by barking further behind. The noise continues and rises like a crescendo until a Roe Deer bursts through the barrier of scrub and bush 5 metres in front of me and hurtles on down the face of the valley. It is swiftly followed by a small, yapping dog. The dog stops and looks at me, as if to ask me which way its ‘prey’ went. I point in the opposite direction. The dog isn’t buying it. It speeds off down, following the deer’s tracks with me in hot pursuit.

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Climbing Almanzor – Part 2

Click here for Part 1

Our path is a minefield of large boulders, rocks and smaller scree. We choose the route that looks least likely to slide down the side of the mountain. There is a constant danger of falling rock and scree. We tread carefully.

We climb high. The going is slow, we stop repeatedly to catch our breaths, choose the next path and take in the extraordinary view. A wall of cloud threatens to spill over the peaks and shroud us in mist, yet it is held back by the natural barrier of the peaks, acting like a forcefield.

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Climbing Almanzor – Part 1

7.30 in the morning. Sleepy and bleary-eyed we arrive at the car park, ready to begin our hike. Our aim today – climb Almanzor. At 2592 metres it is the highest peak in the Sierra de Gredos and the highest point in Spain’s Sistema Central. Our guidebook gives the climb a difficulty rating of muy alta (the highest it gives) and recommends for experienced climbers only. I’m feeling confident.

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