Welcome to the March article from WARM. My name is Norma and I am a member of the group and was editor of our walking book. Jessica has entrusted this month’s contribution to me while she enjoys a well-earned break in a more exotic location.
Being an active member of WARM has enriched our lives in Spain as there are not many regular walkers where we live. There are opportunities to meet many lovely people, practice Spanish and help people with their English. Recently I met Marta, a Spanish walker in the group, who speaks excellent English, albeit with a bit of a Geordie accent, as she spent three years in my hometown of Newcastle! Howay the lads! There is the huge variety of walks that volunteer guides conjure up.
Our second January walk was a semi-urban walk around the town of Mula. It is dominated by its 16th century castle which towers over the town and looks particularly spectacular lit up at night. We followed an 11km way-marked route called ‘Senda del Tiempo’ and our walk started on the outskirts of town and took us along part of the Via Verde. Vía Verdes are a national network, (green-ways), of old disused railway lines that have been recovered for use by walkers and cyclists. Ours in Murcia stretches from Murcia City to Caravaca de la Cruz; about 77km.
As you drive on the RM-15 near Mula you can see a strange looking roof structure that many assume is an unfinished building. It is in fact the site of the Roman villa, Los Villaricos and the roof protects the excavated remains of parts of the site. Our group was delighted to be offered a free guided visit by the Ayuntamiento. Cuca, our guide, explained in Spanish and Martin translated for the non-Spanish speakers. They were a very entertaining duo! The villa had a residential part and was home of the local Roman senator. It had a bath area and there is also a working area with a wine press and an olive mill. Once the villa was abandoned, it was used for religious purposes with a Basilica and a graveyard built by the first Christians.
We then went along a ridge overlooking Mula and looking down towards El Cigarralejo. This is an Iberian settlement dating back to the 4th century BC and it was an important agricultural area with a sanctuary and necropolis. Over 500 graves were found during the excavations. After our history section we descended into the valley and into the area of Mula just below the castle. We split into two groups and the more energetic set off up the steps to skirt round the lower walks of the castle. It provided fabulous views of Mula old town and its jumble of streets below. Our descent took us past the impressive Church of Santo Domingo and we emerged into the town hall square where there is a beautiful collection of buildings including the Casino. This used to be the town grain store from the days when Mula grew cereals. Climate change and a lack of water makes this impossible now. In the square is the statue of the tamboristas (drummers), a fabulous Semana Santa spectacle, Noche de los Tambores. Moratalla and Mula are part of a 22 town consortium which has just been recognised by UNESCO, along with Jamaican reggae and awarded the honour of being part of the world’s Intangible Cultural Heritage.
We re-connected with the rest of the group, who had enjoyed a more leisurely stroll and coffee or beer stop and then most of us headed to Casa Cristo for a delicious lunch; a huge thank you to Guillermo and his staff. My partner Chris and I had the pleasure of leading the Mula walk, but we were a little anxious as the group size rose to over 40 and with hindsight we should have restricted numbers, but we would have had a lot of disappointed people. However within 24 hours 44 seemed like a small number.
The next day, 20th January we joined 298 other people for the inauguration of a new path, the PR-MU 108 Sendero de la Almoloya de Pleigo. It is a fascinating and challenging walk which might feature in a future WARM programme. It was a joint venture between Senderistas Pliego and the Ayuntamiento with walkers from around Murcia and groups travelling from as far as Alicante province. It was fabulously organised with police and civil protection support and a well -planned snack break with food provided and food and drinks at the end.
Future Saturday Walks
2nd March – Sierra Molina
9th March – Cuevas de Zaén
16th March – La Bermeja
23rd March – Barranco de Hondares
30th March – Sierra Espuña
6th April – Ruta del Agua, Moratalla
13th April – La Selva (with hot cross buns)
27th April – Pantano de la Cierva, Mula
If you are on the WARM mailing list you will get full details.
Why not join us?
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WARM Walking Book
The book has been very popular. If you would like more information or wish to buy a copy then please email Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org