Well we got home at 11.30pm last night, so I'm rested and fed and ready to write up our trip.
Kath and I took a cheap flight to Malaga on the Spanish Costa del Sol from Leeds Airport near our home on the 15th. We strolled out of Malaga airport down onto the local rail line and rode into town where we caught a coach to Algeciras and a local bus to Tarifa, the most southerly point in Spain.
Just across the Straights of Gibraltar the Moroccan mountains on the north coast of Africa loomed above the coastline, which looked near enough to throw a stone to. We walked 5 miles along the beach at twilight and camped in the dunes. Next morning we swam in the sea and had a conversation with the Guardia Civil who checked we weren't illegal Moroccan immigrants who had swum the straights in the night. We packed our kit and wandered inland on a hot bright morning. Kath befriended some of the donkeys we found browsing freely on the unfenced trail with longhorn cows, pigs, chickens and goats. They all seemed to coexist happily together and made an idyllic rural scene.
It was a hot day and as we climed into the mountains, I kept an eye out for chances to replenish our 2 litre Platypus. Eventually, walking under moonlight at 10.30pm, I could hear water rushing below thich thorny vegetation, and went fishing with a pan and some spare cordage I was carrying. We drank our fill and left with a full bottle, continuing to the top of the Purto del Ojen where we camped by the trail.
Next morning we descended in the company of a stray dog which had tried o steal our chorizo while we were packing. He knew better than to stay with us once we hit the tarmac outside Los Barrios and we found a bar for a well earned beer. After walking into town we caught a bus to Algeciras and the train up to Ronda, meeting a couple of old friends in the Irish Bar.
Next day we walked up into the serrania surrounding the town and over to Montejaque for lunch at a restaurant where Par the swedish chef is now working. After, we walked up into the stunning mountains heading south and made camp around 7.30 as the light faded.
Around 2.30 in the morning we were woken by the wind whistling up the valley to our camp at around 3000 feet. Ten seconds later, it hit us and ripped a couple of pegs out. I grabbed the underedge of the hex3 and hung on until the gust subsided. I found and hammered the pags back in from the inside with a handy rock, as the rain came down hard. It gradually subsided before the next whooshing sound warned of another blast heading up the valley. We had around ten waves of it until 8am, when it finally calmed down in response to my cursing over the regular repegging activity in the loose rain soaked soil.
Then the sun came out and we walked on, meeting a guy from Kath's home town of Durham, who had an excellent set ogf notes provided by his holiday company. With these and the GPS built into my phone and my homemeade digital map of the area, we found our way through the maze of tiny trails down to Cortez de la Frontera.
We caught the 5pm train one stop north to Jimara de Libar and walked up the hill to Atajate, a pretty village nestled under the summit of a hill. Another well deserved beer was foilled by a stroll down the far side to a deserted little field where we camped, awaking to a stunning view.
More later, I'm off for a proper english ale!