Saturday, October 23, 2010

23 Oct 2010 - Pinos Marnes Circuit

It is some months since we last walked with the CBMW, and we had forgotten how many cars there can be. The walk started just outside the mountain village of Pinos, and there was no formal car park. Even though we arrived 20 minutes before the walk was due to start, all available parking space had been taken. We had to pull in at the side of the narrow road as close to the edge as we dared.

We had also forgotten just how busy these walks can be. There were 49 walkers and the leader, Peter Barraclough, had to shout to make himself heard for the pre walk brief.

The 10 km walk started downhill and along the road towards Pinos. These are narrow and winding roads and quite dangerous when so many walkers are far more interested in talking than watching where they are walking.

In less than half a mile the 49 was reduced to 48. One walker fresh out from UK had not appreciated how difficult the terrain can be here. Although this walk was not particularly difficult, he packed it in as soon as we started on the first hill. The group had to wait until he reached the road, from where he would be unlikely to get lost on his way back to his car.

Our first stop was soon after we completed the climb. Many of the Monday Club were on this walk, and we had David and Rosemary for company.

Autumn is our favourite time of year for walking here in Spain. It’s similar to walking in UK on a particularly warm summer day. The breeze is quite cool and makes the walk really pleasant. Mind we have a lot more sunny days than you are likely to find in UK, even in high summer. The mountain scenery is very peaceful, or at least as peaceful as it can be when walking with a group of 48!

This 10km circular walk is in an area quite close to our last Monday Club walk, and we had the same Bernia mountains as a constant backdrop.

When walking in this area the CMBW always stop for lunch at the house of an elderly chap who used to be a leader with the group. That was long before we moved here, and we had never walked with him. But he makes the group very welcome to his very isolated home. He normally offers all a glass of wine, but he had a bad harvest this year. He did lay out a great collection of chairs, but not quite 48. By the time we got there the chairs were all taken, and we had to find a comfortable rock to sit on.

The return journey was mostly downhill on narrow and rocky paths. It is a feature of walking in this area that you spend a lot of time looking at your feet to make sure that you do not lose your footing.

Now this is a most unusual photo of David – walking on his own. Most unusual for him not to be having a chat as he walks.

The walk becomes quite spread out on these narrow tracks, and even with a back marker it is quite difficult to keep the group together. This calls for regular halts to allow everyone to catch up, and is one of the less attractive features of a CBMW walk.

Just under five hours after we started the walk we come within sight of the cars – always a welcome sight. Despite the large number of walkers this was a very enjoyable walk, and one we would like to repeat with the Monday Club.

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