Our walking season had already started slowly and then we had the rain. I’m assuming that the levels of water in the reservoirs are much healthier now than at the start of last year, but it played havoc with our walking plans. We had to cancel the planned walk for 17th November just the night before, but decided to continue with lunch anyway and 28 people attended. There was a suggestion that we renamed ourselves to EARM – Eating Around the Region of Murcia! Much merriment was enjoyed by all but thankfully Norma managed to keep her ‘boys’ under control. The afternoon was spent so happily that Nigel and Donna kindly decided to fill in a gap and re-programme everything for a fortnight later on 1st December.
Fiona and Steve had offered to lead the next walk on 24th November. At least, that had been the plan. Unfortunately, the rain once more took a starring role and the cross-country route to the start of the walk was under water. Deciding to err on the side of caution, they also postponed and subsequently rescheduled for 8th December.
Eventually on 1st December Nigel and Donna were at last able to show us their route. Starting and ending at the restaurant, our large group walked around El Castellar – the signature mountain to the south of Bullas. In order to make two routes of differing levels of difficulty, they’d roped in Susie and David so that their extra local knowledge would assist in the management of the interweaving options. Magically, all of us seemed to coincide seamlessly at all the junction points. I’ve no idea where the other half of the group went, but I really enjoyed the last of the autumn colours of the apricot trees and the differing scenery that they’d managed to include on our 12km version.
I don’t think that a walk goes by without me learning some new snippet – at one point we walked past a very smelly pile of rotting grapes. Apparently, these remains of the wine-pressing process were being used deliberately to attract bees (and other insects) to the vicinity of some bee hives. Ingenious! We rounded the day off with another visit to the restaurant.
A week later, thanks to Fiona and Steve, 20 of us completed their rearranged outing for another 12km circuit of a different lump of rock. We’d arranged to meet on the edge of Moratalla for car-sharing. We sadly shared the news that Lawrie Hunt, our joint founder with his wife Pat, had died the previous evening. Together, Pat and Lawrie had initiated our walking group in 2005. For those who knew them, it was hard to believe that two people with so much vitality had both so recently died. I hope that they knew how much friendship their impetus had created for so many people.
We left our meeting place in sober mood. Luckily, the river was no longer endangering the drive up the mountain track and we forded the remaining minor stream carefully to reach a point somewhere on the skirts of El Buitre, where our walk began. On other occasions we’ve walked to the summit (over 1400 m), but sometimes this desire to conquer the highest points means that we miss some very beautiful or interesting niches around the hidden corners. The views and the weather were so beautiful and over a drink in the bar, we raised our glasses in memory of a dear absent friend whose energy had started something which so many people now enjoy and for those of us who saw Lawrie recently, it is still hard to believe.
We returned to Bullas in order to celebrate the conquering of El Castellar with cava, silly hats and Christmas carols on Saturday 15th December. It really would not have been complete without David’s (vegetarian) mince pies and (non-veggie) sausage rolls.
Never mind EARM, Caroline has decided that she’d like to do some longer, faster walks and so has gathered together a few like-minded WARMers for this subgroup called HARM! Although its name may not exactly be encouraging, Hiking Around the Region of Murcia is gradually gaining followers. The inaugural experience on Friday 7th December was led by Patricio on a completely new route up to the top of the As de Copas on the western edge of El Burete, close to Cehegín. 8km in 5 hours gives an indication of the level of difficulty of this route, but all 7 returned safely from the double ascent!
2019 walks will all be on Saturdays:
January 12th – Otos (can you find that on the map?)
January 19th – Mula + cultural visit
February 9th – Archivel
February 16th – Mazarrón
February 23rd – Cieza
WARM Walking Book
We’ve been very pleased with the positive feedback and have had to re-order extra copies from the printers. If you would like more information or wish to buy a copy then please email Martin on firstname.lastname@example.org
Full details of future outings will be sent to those on the WARM mailing list. If anyone who would like to be added, please contact Jessica on Warm2005@gmail.com indicating your nearest town.
The majority of outings will be in Northwest Murcia. Only those on the mailing list can access the closed WARM Facebook page.