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Monday, 16 July 2018

Cruces

Walk Summary
Second of four summits planned from base at Prados Abiertos, Mombeltran. Cerro del Cabezo two days ago, leaving La Serota and the highest most prominent peak of the trip Pico Almanzor during the next three of four days allowing from this very comfortable and reasonably priced campsite. 
Spotted on drive to walk start point. La Iglesia de
Navamorcuende dedicated to Santa Maria de la Nava.
About an hours drive to walk start point west of Navamorcuende near Convento del Pel Piélago where there is convenient off road parking at track entrance to Cruces radio mast and fire watch tower.
This road is drivable all the way to the summit however a no entry sign "Excepto Vehiculos Autorizado" pricked my conscience sufficiently to walk.
Not a lot to say about the walk other than the summit is visible very early on and it is a straight forward bimble all the way to the summit staying on the access track and resisting shortcut temptations. Highest point pretty close to the trig pillar that is enclosed within the radio mast compound but close enough to touch reaching through the fence.
I had another chance to practice my Spanish chatting with Alfredo the 'Alcaide fuego'. Worked quite well as his English was about as good as my Spanish.
One of those 'macho' trig pillars again,
just inside fence boundary with high point on fence corner.
After photos it was an easy walk back to the van following the ascent route and drive back through Navamorcuende where I was tempted to stop off and investigate the eye catching La Iglesia de Navamorcuende (toledo) dedicated to Santa Maria de la Nava. Dates back to 1327 or even 1276.
Decided to save it and explore it when I return with Gina. Can pull in Segovia on the same trip. Little did I realise this would be the penultimate P600 of this trip despite staying at Prados Abiertos for one more week.
Apart from there being an excellent good sized pool with plenty of lawn, a very friendly and welcoming bar/restaurant, ably manned by Hosé and Adriano, not to mention the very reasonable €17.00 daily pitch fee I had also booked return Eurotunnel slot for Friday 27 July, about 2 weeks sooner than originally planned.
Last look at summit from obscured footpath sign.
Very close to walk start/finish point
I could have managed Almanzor from here and even La Serota but complications like not being able to leave campsite due to much appreciated security gates not opening until 08:00am it was also likely I could break the walk up by having a night in Refugio Elola.
All complications I did not try very hard to over come. I put it down to deciding I would sooner lay in the sun for my last week, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Seems once again if it is a choice between sun and mountains sun wins again. Maybe that is why Spain seems to be taking priority over GB and in particular Scottish hills - it has abundant quantities of both. Well as they say all the hills will be there another day.
The one uncertainty, though I realise it is unlikely, is that access to Spain for extended unplanned periods post Brexit may not be so straight forward. Hence why I have booked ferry ticket back to Spain for 14 September later this year.

Walk Statistics
Walk Date - 16 July 2018
Walkers - Steve Smith
Accommodation - Prados Abiertos, Mombeltran 
Start Point - Track entrance to Cruces radio masts off TO-4045-V just east of Convento del Piélago (N40°08'16.320" W4°43'30.428")
Start Time - 11:01
Finish Point - Track entrance to Cruces radio masts off TO-4045-V just east of Convento del Piélago (N40°08'16.320" W4°43'30.428")
Finish Time- 12:56
Total Duration - 1hrs 55mins 
Overall Average pace - 2.63mph
Total Distance Walked - 5.04 miles
Total Height Ascended - 210.40metres

Peaks visited
Spain/Portugal 600m Prominence Peaks (168S - 185S&P - 2165E)
Cruces (14S - 17S&P - 44E)
Spain/Portugal 300m - 599m Prominence Peaks (1000+)
NONE
Spain/Portugal 150m - 299m Prominence Peaks (3000+)
NONE
Spain Autonomous Community High Points (19)
NONE
Spain Province High Points (52)
NONE
S: Spain
P: Portugal
E:Europe

Other walks on this trip
2018
June
28th Eretza
29th Mortillano
July
03rd El Cueto
05th La Cotorra
05th Cerro San Lorenzo
06th Campiña
09th Lobo
12th Pico de Peñalara
16th Cruces
25th La Rhune

Route

More Photographs
Early site of Cruces summit only 10 minutes in to walk
Click on photograph to view slide-show

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Cerro del Cabezo

Walk Summary
The mountain that kept on giving and demanding more.
Might be better to follow wall near Garganta del Barranco
to delay inevitable but eventually you will hit the broom

Probably the hardest mountain I have climbed on my own.
After walking to Ermita de san Cristóbal from the mountain village of Serranillos along rutted track that in places was barely a path, came across some vans and a few cars setting up for a fiesta, so could have driven to El Colladito but not the way I walked. From there it is choose any line towards the summit with average ascent of close to 1 in 5 over 1500m. I followed the wall near Garganta del Barranco and path heading in that direction, however all three soon progressively disappeared, leaving just thigh high broom hiding uneven ground, then large boulders.
The 2nd scramble you don't see from the bottom
of 2158m Cerro del Cabezo spot height
Heading for the 2158m spot height which is visible from the very start of the walk in Serranillos I got it in my head this was the summit. So at it's base after a couple of energy bars and drink, I looked for the best line, stashed my back pack & trek poles and committed to the ascent. Reaching the top of the first scramble reveals a slightly harder scramble round to the left towards the summit marked by an iron cross. It  was not until I reached the base of the cross and peered over the lip that you finally get sight of the true summit, separated by a down climb then up to the 2154m spot height, followed by another down climb aided by a pre placed chain, the anchor of which I first thought was an abseil station. From it's base it is a straight forward ascent on to the twin spot heights of 2191m, the further one to the SE with all the summit paraphernalia is definitely the higher of the two. 
Gawd blimey I came over that and did not really have to.
Pleased I did though. Chain visible - right quadrant
The exhilaration of the scramble and realisation part way through that it is more dangerous to go back than press on tempers the disappointment followed by embarrassment that I had not studied the route more carefully. There was also an element of regret about not having my back pack with me, forcing me to return the way I had come rather than a possible easier more direct descent route off to the right.
Approaching the summit I could see what looked like an eagle so a stealthy approach was employed mixed in with several stops for photographs along with some pride that I was employing appropriate bush craft by approaching it with the wind in my face as though I had control of that. Eventually I managed the money shot right next to a metal plate crafted in the shape of an eagle!
Pico de Almanzor from Cerro del Cabezo,
gullies still packed with snow
Spending a little longer than usual, given the effort to reach this summit just contemplating and taking in the views before thinking about the best return route. First job was to go to the NW 2191m spot height, just in case someone decides it is higher in the future. From here I could see a route around what is now the right hand side of the ascent scramble and back to my backpack. Had I studied the route more carefully I could have used this route on the ascent but like I say I am really pleased I took the opportunity to test and improve my scrambling capabilities.
Took a different line down further to the east but still found no path. Reverse of the ascent; boulders then broom down to the Ermita.
Well chuffed though to be the first to claim a tick on peakbagger.com.


Walk Statistics
Walk Date - 14 July 2018
Walkers - Steve Smith
Accommodation - Prados Abiertos, Mombeltran 
Start Point - Street parking in Serranillos near bridge of over Garganta Fernandino (N40°20'02.825" W4°54'43.062")
Start Time - 09:20
Finish Point - Street parking in Serranillos near bridge of over Garganta Fernandino (N40°20'02.825" W4°54'43.062")
Finish Time- 15:39
Total Duration - 6hrs 19mins 
Overall Average pace - 0.83mph
Total Distance Walked - 5.25 miles
Total Height Ascended - 983.10metres

Peaks visited
Spain/Portugal 600m Prominence Peaks (168S - 185S&P - 2165E)
Cerro del Cabezo (15S - 16S&P - 43E)
Spain/Portugal 300m - 599m Prominence Peaks (1000+)
NONE
Spain/Portugal 150m - 299m Prominence Peaks (3000+)
NONE
Spain Autonomous Community High Points (19)
NONE
Spain Province High Points (52)
NONE
S: Spain
P: Portugal
E:Europe

Other walks on this trip
2018
June
28th Eretza
29th Mortillano
July
03rd El Cueto
05th La Cotorra
05th Cerro San Lorenzo
06th Campiña
09th Lobo
12th Pico de Peñalara
14th Cerro del Cabezo
16th Cruces
25th La Rhune

Route

More Photographs
Time to put camera away and concentrate. Seems like a grade II scramble to me. Grade III as I am on my own?
Click on photograph to view slide-show

Monday, 9 July 2018

Lobo

Walk Summary
Sight of the days task in hand.
Lobo from the SG114 out of Riaza
Lobo or Pico de Lobo is a relatively isolated summit needing only an overnight stop and early start from  Camping Riaza before driving on to Camping el Acueducto ready for Pico de Peñalara another day.
I have looked longingly over to my left many times on the drive south towards Madrid along the A1 - Autovila del Norte from Burgos towards Lobo, sometimes in April still wearing its winter coat of snow around it's summit wandering what it would be like at the top. Well now I know. 
No problem parking during the summer months in La Pinilli Ski Resort, though judging by the facilities I suspect it is a different story in winter months with Skiing season in full flow. The map shows a forest track off the SG-114 main road in to La Pinilli about 100m before the car park. Undrivable by anything other than a tracked vehicle it is easy to follow all the way up to the 2000m col between Cerro del Aventeadero and Las Peñuelas. From here turn right for Lobo though as Cerro del Aventeadero is on peakbagger I chose to turn left and follow the ridge to this peak. It was worth the effort as well since it afforded a fine view north over the Central Plateau and back along the path giving an excellent vista of the days main summit - Lobo.
Excellent viewpoint of Lobo from Cerro del Aventeadero
Returning to the col the main ascent path continues close to the line of the province boundary and takes you within a few tens of metres within Las Peñuelas spot height and the second peakbagger summit of the day. Next is Lobo which you can see clearly from Las Peñuelas along with a structure that I thought was either military or meteorlogical. Descending to the main path and following it to the col before heading for the summit it gradually becomes clear the building is derelict, no doubt as part of the ski resort, whatever its former use it just seems wrong that it has been abandoned in this state as a permanent scar on what otherwise is a fine summit area requiring a minor scramble from the back of the building to the trig pillar.
Looking down at Pinilla Ski Resort
and as it happens the descent route
After summit pictures, including being photo-bombed by a fly, time to head for the final peak of Alto de las Mesas. You could miss this out as the path contours around the summit to the north but opportunities for an extra log on peakbagger for me is too much to resist. Coming off the summit looked quite rugged needing some down scrambling but there is an easy route off to the left down to the main path and back up onto the main ridge where the ski resort can be seen and descent started.
From here there is not an obvious path and where one does appear it does not go in required direction for long. So I simply headed for the main ski lift descending gradually and traversing down what looked like the best line. Once at the top of the ski lift I had planned to follow it down through the trees east of Estación de Esqui de la Pinilla, but heavy plant machinery was in action so I continued down to El Testero and followed the service track down to the main ski resort. Somewhere during the descent I passed through beautiful flowers carpeting the hillside, if only I could get that variation and preponderance in my own garden.
Beautiful Flowers carpeting the hillside on way down
Alto de las Mesas
Back at the van before 1pm thinking I had avoided the effects of hot sun. However although it felt pleasantly cool the sun seems to maintain it's intensity. I don't think I had fully recovered from the heat exhaustion from earlier in the trip and had lost a lot of fluid through perspiration feeling the impact of this over the next couple of days. I do prefer walking in this weather though it has become increasingly clear that walking in heat is much harder to mitigate than walking in winter conditions. Cold can be dealt with by not over layering, changing into dry lays when they do get wet through sweat and puting on extra layers when cold. In the heat once you have taken off all layers the only other recourse is to stay out of the direct sun which is not always possible, keep hydrated with adequate levels of water (not too much, but enough) and more importantly maintain and replenish the electrolyte balance.

Walk Statistics
Walk Date - 09 July 2018
Walkers - Steve Smith
Accommodation - Camping Riaza, Riaza 
Start Point - La Pinilli Ski Resort car park (N41°12'19.315" W3°28'16.541")
Start Time - 08:52
Finish Point - La Pinilli Ski Resort car park (N41°12'19.315" W3°28'16.541")
Finish Time- 12:55
Total Duration - 4hrs 03mins 
Overall Average pace - 1.57mph
Total Distance Walked - 6.36 miles
Total Height Ascended - 877.50metres

Peaks visited
Spain/Portugal 600m Prominence Peaks (168S - 185S&P - 2165E)
Lobo (13S - 14S&P - 41E)
Spain/Portugal 300m - 599m Prominence Peaks (1000+)
NONE
Spain/Portugal 150m - 299m Prominence Peaks (3000+)
NONE
Spain Autonomous Community High Points (19)
Lobo (2)
Spain Province High Points (52)
Lobo (2)
S: Spain
P: Portugal
E:Europe

Other walks on this trip
2018
June
28th Eretza
29th Mortillano
July
03rd El Cueto
05th La Cotorra
05th Cerro San Lorenzo
06th Campiña
09th Lobo
12th Pico de Peñalara
16th Cruces
25th La Rhune

Route

More Photographs
Looking down at Pinilla Ski Resort and as it happens the descent route
Click on photograph to view slide-show

Friday, 6 July 2018

Campiña

Walk Summary
Looks like a more direct route to Campiña ridge line
up Sendero de Las Lagunas - PRC-BU 203
Fairly early start with the determined intention for a repeat of the first multi P600 day on La Cotorra and Cerro San Lorenzo yesterday. This morning up Campiña and this afternoon Pico de Urbión.
The planned route had me following the path south of Campiña along Lagunas Laga & Negra, two of the Laguna de Glaciares de Neila, from the mirador car park above the NE corner of Laguna Corta with the thought I would make a more direct assault straight for the summit east of Laguna Larga if the ground was not too overgrown or terrain to steep.
The barrier across the road from the first car park below Peña Aguada prevented driving the final 500m but as it turned out this is the best start point.
Near the info board is a marker post for the PRC-BU 203, it is a well defined  and over marked route with yellow and white lines seemingly every 10m, so no chance of getting lost. It also provided the direct access to the summit enabling a quick ascent and return to get on to the second summit of the day.
Looking towards yesterday summit Cerro San Lorenzo
with nothing but peaks of the Sierra de la Demanda.
Laguna Larga below
However, arriving at the summit in warm early morning sunshine along with magnificent views south across the Central Plateau towards Lobo at the NW end of the Sistema Central and north with nothing but peaks of the Sierra de la Demanda including Cerro San Lorenzo, seemed to impose an air of tranquility that simply personified why I have come to love hill walking along with it continuous stream of new experience, challenge and fulfillment.
Absolutely breathtaking, I found myself just hanging around taking it all in. So much so while looking down at the ink black pools  of Lagunas Larga & Negra I decided to stay a while longer and descend further west along the caldera rim rather than rush off on to the second peak of the day. Instead descend down to the Lagunas  spending time to enjoy the atmosphere and take in the views north speculating whether this was once part of a massive super volcano whose Caldera stretched from nearby Campiña all the way round to Cerro San Lorenzo, the highest point in the Rioja province  along with the highest point in the Burgos province, Pico de San Millán.
Looking down at Laguna de la Cascada and nearby Refugio
Still an early finish allowing time for an afternoon in the sun back at Camping Arlanza, resting up ready for an early start to go up Pico de Urbion leaving plenty of time to be back in time for England playing Sweden in the quarter final of World Cup 2018.
Seemed like a good plan and I was happy to take in time relaxing. 
What I did not know at the time was it would cost me Pico de Urbión the first defeat of the trip.
Not because of the terrain or the weather, though thunderstorms were forecast for the afternoon. If anything it was down to poor planning, though not sure what I could have done to avoid?
The problem was a perfectly good road to the trailhead had at least two no entry signs.
Attempts to reach Pico de Urbión start point
The first was on the left fork I needed to take. I took the right fork as signed expecting it to bring me back to the required road to the trailhead. It did not but maybe I should have gone further up the road junction starting at N42°00'42.901" W2°48'31.192"
So returning to the fork I proceed against the no entry sign on the basis that subsequent roadsigns appeared warning of bends and road narrowing, only for a second 'No Entry' sign to appear.
At this point I decided to respect the sign and go no further, briefly considering walking the remaining 4km e/w to the trailhead but rejecting the idea due to forecast thunderstorms, the time of day given there being no storms would be at it's hottest, finally having over 150m drive to Riaza ready for an early ascent up Lobo.
Plus had to get up 3 times in night for toilet. So either Cajun chicken, broccoli & onions too much for my delicate constitution or I have still got a bit of heat exhaustion.
Either way think all these things were telling me something not to mention yesterday's attempt when I nearly got to the no entry sign and realised I had forgotten my boots.
Most frustrating especially after translating sign later that I thought would give me the necessary info saying not to pick the mushrooms without authorisation!!!
Walk Statistics
Walk Date - 06 July 2018
Walkers - Steve Smith
Start Point - Car park just past 1869m spot height SW of Peña Aguada (N42°02'45.794" W3°02'39.815")
Start Time - 09:53
Finish Point - Car park just past 1869m spot height SW of Peña Aguada (N42°02'45.794" W3°02'39.815")
Finish Time- 11:58
Total Duration - 2hrs 05mins 
Overall Average pace - 1.79mph
Total Distance Walked - 3.73 miles
Total Height Ascended - 212.40metres

Peaks visited
Spain/Portugal 600m Prominence Peaks (168S - 185S&P - 2165E)
Campiña (12S - 13S&P - 40E)
Spain/Portugal 300m - 599m Prominence Peaks (1000+)
NONE
Spain/Portugal 150m - 299m Prominence Peaks (3000+)
NONE
Spain Autonomous Community High Points (19)
NONE
Spain Province High Points (52)
NONE
S: Spain
P: Portugal
E:Europe

Other walks on this trip
2018
June
28th Eretza
29th Mortillano
July
03rd El Cueto
05th La Cotorra
05th Cerro San Lorenzo
06th Campiña
09th Lobo
12th Pico de Peñalara
16th Cruces
25th La Rhune
Route

More Photographs
Looking towards yesterday summit Cerro San Lorenzo with nothing but peaks of the Sierra de la Demanda. Laguna Larga below
Click on photograph to view slide-show