We’ve just come back to Spain after an absence of more than six weeks – it doesn’t sound long but I’m wracking my brains to find where we keep the cereals! It hasn’t been straightforward to keep the walking momentum going whilst travelling so much (8 hotels in Sri Lanka in 17 nights with very intermittent internet) and 3 different locations in the UK, but it seems as if WARM has been very much ‘business as usual’; either that or people are being wonderfully discreet!

It was a great relief to me that Norma (editor of our beautiful walking book) agreed to write last month’s Costa Cálida Chronicle article. I read it online and really enjoyed what she had said – it’s not often that we have the opportunity to see things from somebody else’s perspective and it’s always very instructive. Because of packing for our recent adventure, I actually missed her route near Mula on 19th January (the one which took in a guided tour of the Roman Villa of Los Villaricos), but was able to get a flavour of it from reading her article.

I’ve missed a lot of walks and have trawled our Facebook page to select some photos.

On Thurs 7th Feb Fiona and Steve led a first-time route near Los Bebedores (near Campo de San Juan, between Archivel and El Sabinar). By the comments that were posted on Facebook, it seems as though early February was unusually hot (it could just as easily have been snowing in that area), but by the feedback and smiles in the photographs, everybody enjoyed themselves.

On Sat 16th February Caroline and Roger led their first WARM walk to the Guns of Mazarrón and they’ve committed to leading us again at the end of March.

Yvonne and Paul’s route to the remains of the Moorish town of Siyasa (from which the name of Cieza originates) meant that I not only missed another new route, but also a very nice new restaurant in Abarán.

We weren’t back for June and Rick’s walk around the Sierra Molina near Calasparra on Sat 2nd March – more high temperatures, apparently.

What it does demonstrate very strongly, is the altruism of the WARM volunteers who dedicate far more time than is always apparent, to contribute to a very rewarding experience for all of us. (There are nearly 200 names on the email list). It’s a big responsibility leading a walk and can only succeed if everybody contributes in some way. Even if WARM walkers don’t end up actually leading a walk, their contribution in reconnoitering the routes beforehand is invaluable and it’s always very reassuring for leaders to know that they have support and additional pairs of eyes.

This is a good opportunity for me to emphasise that we are neither paid, nor professionals, but we do try to minimise risks and stop at intervals to confirm that nobody has been lost en-route. Everyone’s enjoyment of the experience relies on walkers taking responsibility for themselves and ensuring that they are fully equipped to undertake the challenge safely. I feel really proud of what we achieve together. Having everything function so well in my absence just confirmed what a lovely group of people WARM comprises.

As always, the programme of routes continues until increasingly hot weather forces us to suspend activities for the summer. I might have been away for some walks, (note to self: ask for repeats next year), but was very lucky to be able attend a favourite on Sat 9th March to the Caves of Zaén near Campo de San Juan (no snow but starting with frost in shady places). For their second time this season Judy and Tony were our guides and I couldn’t resist the photo of men behaving badly! Thank you, Juan. With some of the most breath-taking scenery of all of our routes, this is always very popular and never fails to draw a few ‘Wows’. If you have a copy of our book then you’ll understand why.

The next few walks will again all be on Saturdays and somewhere in the following vicinities:

April 6th Moratalla
April 13th Bullas
April 20th Campo de Ricote
April 27th Caravaca de la Cruz

Full details of future outings will be sent to those on the WARM mailing list, normally about a fortnight ahead. If anyone would like to be added to this mailing list then please contact Jessica on Warm2005@gmail.com. Please indicate where your nearest town is.

Note: only those who are on the mailing list can access the closed WARM Facebook page. The majority of walks will be in Northwest Murcia (approximately 1½hrs from the coast).