Saturday, 2 June 2018

Spain, May/June 2018. Day 13

What a fantastic day.  Summer has arrived even if only for a day.  We have just returned from the big mountains and I'm now sitting in the shade with a beer.
Things started inauspiciously with the usual low cloud.  However, it was Peter's last opportunity for a big mountain walk so the two of us set off to catch the first cable car up from Fuente De.  As we drove up the valley the sky brightened and suddenly we were beyond the clouds with clear blue skies.  Linda dropped us off and then drove back down to go swimming with Heather while Peter and I joined the walkers and ski mountaineers in the queue for the first teleriphique.   We got chatting to a skier from Santander who was attaching skins to his skis who gave us lots of advice.  I ran into him later in the day and he had climbed one of the biggest peaks and then skied down.  He told us there would be a lot of snow and he wasn't wrong.  The cable car whisked us up from 3500 feet to 5700 in 3 minutes.  At the top there was not a cloud in sight - amazing.  And the views were stunning with high jagged mountains and snowfields all around. 
The plan was to head for the 8000 foot rocky summit of Horcardos Rojos.  Our initial route took us to the col we had walked over two days previously but then turned north west up a snow filled valley heading for our peak.  At first the gradient was easy but soon steepened considerably.  It was wonderful fun even if it did leave me gasping somewhat and it was with great regret that I made the decision to turn back at 7000 feet.  If things had gone pear shaped I thought I might have had a stern talking to by Grimsby's cardiology depart in a couple of weeks.  You see, some of you doubters, I can be sensible at times.  The descent was exhilarating; a swooping glissade covering hundreds of feet in minutes.
I arrived back at the cable car station just in time to meet Heather and Linda coming up.  After lunch we wandered back up the col to meet Peter on his way down.  Yellow-billed alpine choughs provided good views as did wheatear, black redstart and snow finch.  A wallcreeper was also about but I dipped out on this, sadly.  After a drink in the restaurant it was time to catch the car back down and return to the site to relax in the sun.  It was of course beer o'clock.
A wonderful day.
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