The other day we went to El Torcal, which is an amazing range of limestone rocks that have been eroded by the wind over time. Rachel and Tibu’s friend had been and said that the easy route was quite flat, so we thought perfect; parent friendly. The journey up there was the usual rollercoaster ride of ups, downs and hairpin bends. When we arrived at the visitor centre we all wondered how the buses got up there. (I suspect there is secret dual carriageway up the back of the mountain.)

We arrived and headed straight for the shop…to find out the route of the walk…oh and for dad to buy a fridge magnet. We found out the green (easy route) started at the corner of the car park and would take 45 minutes to do. So even allowing for mum’s fused ankles, an hour perhaps.  Perfect, back just in time for lunch. We wandered down to the car park to the start. There was a couple stood looking slightly bemused.  

There was a sign with all the routes on and a sort of gap in the rocks. However this didn’t look like the start of an “easy” path. There was no flat path, just a slightly less rocky bit. We all looked at each other thinking “is this really the start?” I’m afraid it was. 

Undeterred, we carried on. Mum had her walking pole with her (not to be confused with the one she had in Poland). However after about 10 minutes we realised that this was not going well. Not only was the route not flat, constant use had made the rocks smooth, shiny and slippery, so mum and dad turned back. The 5 of us continued and it actually got worse! 

As we walked, we came across various other visitors. My favourite were the family whose teenage daughter was dressed in long trousers, a long sleeved top and a body warmer. It was about 24 degrees with clear blue skies. In contrast, the brother or boyfriend was carrying a golfing brolly to shield him from the sun. That lasted about 2 minutes until he realised that at certain points you need both hands to move forward. Finally the dad followed up with what was obviously a very hi-tec rucksack which was disguised to look like a carrier bag. We looked like professional ramblers compared to this bunch (except for Rachel who did the whole thing in flip flops).  

The rocks were fantastic and the walk/scramble was enjoyable, but we still arrived back at the visitors centre hot and sticky. We found mum and dad nice and relaxed as they had spent the last hour sunbathing in the cafe. It makes me wonder if they actually knew about how tough the terrain was going to be….

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