Walk Report: September 2016

9th September The Aspe Amble

Walk #501: This was a gentle amble to start the season, with walkers of all abilities enjoying a gentle morning in the sun and with a coffee break included! Don’t get used to the coffee brak bit though! The walk was about 8.9Km on very good tracks and roads with very little climbing, indeed the overall height gain was only 70m! This is hardly surprising as we were following a dry river bed until we got to the Nacimiento (source spring) of the river, just on the outskirts of Aspe and then had to climb up to street level. We split up to three different bars when we got to ‘Ya’, so that coffee could be served at a reasonable pace. Finally we returned to the cars along the outward track. 36 people and 5 well behaved dogs participated.
Link to photos by Susan (DropBox):

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My apologies for the delay in reporting on this walk, but the walk was on Friday. 9th Sep and we departed on two weeks holiday at 07.30 in Saturday, 10th!

30th September Albatera
7Km Stone Circular Walk

Walk #502: Much to my surprise, 38 people and one dog collected at the car park at the 7Km stone on the Albatera Road. This was a normal easy grade walk and so attracted a mixture of new walkers and experienced walkers for an 8Km stroll, with a 200m height gain. All went well for the first two thirds of the walk, although we did have to make frequent stops to consolidate the group, but this isn’t an issue as a walking group moves at the pace of the slowest walkers. However, at about the 5.5Km on the way around we realised that we were missing about a third of the group. Despite back tracking to the most likely place for a divergence we could not raise the ‘lost sheep’ and mobile phones really aren’t a lot of use in the mountains even though we could see the other party on the opposite side of the valley that separated us.

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So, I took the bigger party to a point where they could see the tracks to take to get back to the RV and the cars. Then two of us back tracked along the only route that the ‘lost sheep’ could have taken until we saw sight of one of them. Then we quickly regrouped to get them back to the RV, whilst listening to their tales of exploration whilst trying to find a direct route back to the cars, which they could see. By this time several walkers were feeling the effects of the heat and dehydration, so we left them with Alan at the Parque Montana while we went back to the RV and they were all collected shortly after by a car dispatched by the main party. So an interesting walk for all concerned, but everyone that I spoke too seemed to be undaunted as they were enthusiastically talking about the next walk.

A lesson for me was the need for better communications between the walk leader and the back marker, especially with a large group of mixed ability walkers. So, we will try a radio system on the next walk.

A more general lesson for all was the need to carry adequate water for the walk and for a contingency reserve. A half-litre bottle of water isn’t really enough. It might, just, suffice for a walk in the winter months, but if some sort of unforeseen event occurs we could be on the hill for much longer. This is why I recommend a minimum of 2 litres of water per walker. Also, although I didn’t check it and fortunately we didn’t need them, it seemed to me that quite a few walkers were not carrying any sort of first aid kit. Please think survival on the hill, not just for yourself but also for others, it does no harm to carry a first aid kit and a survival blanket or bivvy bag and an adequate supply of water and then not use it. But, not having these things could prejudice your or somebody else’s well being.

See you in October!

Regards, Phil