El Gastor

Route: El Gastor circuit via Huerta Lagarin

Area: Andalucia, Spain

Date of walk: 10th May 2018

Walkers: Andrew and Gilly 

Distance: 6.1 miles

Ascent: 900 feet

Weather: Mostly sunny, but very hazy

Today’s walk was a mid-level circuit of two spectacular limestone peaks – Lagarin and Las Grajas – which are home to a large colony of griffon vultures

We parked in the La Ladera picnic area above the village of El Gastor and followed a broad track which headed south, taking us above the village and around the flanks of Lagarin. In contrast with yesterday’s quite complicated walk, navigation was a simple affair. The whole route was along broad farm tracks, and blue-banded marker posts meant that there was no room for doubt as to the correct way ahead

At every turn fresh views of the surrounding countryside opened up, though it was a real shame that the conditions were very hazy and the spectacular landscape wasn’t seen at its best today

Throughout the walk we had regular sightings of griffon vultures and, as we rounded Las Grajas, these became more frequent. It was clear from the behaviour of these huge birds that they were nesting in the cliffs above us and, with the assistance of binoculars, we could even see chicks in the nest. Progress along this section of the walk was very slow, not because of any difficulties with the path, but because we kept stopping to admire the displays of aerial mastery of these magnificent birds, which soared around the skies for miles without flapping a wing

All too soon we rounded Las Grajas and descended to a path beside the road which afforded huge views to our left as we walked along the final section of the route, stopping off briefly for a picnic at the Mirador on the edge of El Gastor, before returning to our parking space at La Ladera

Whilst in the area, it would be a major omission not to visit the village of El Gastor, known as the ‘Balcony of the White Villages’ and, after the walk was over, we enjoyed a stroll through the ancient streets and an ice cold beer whilst sitting in the Plaza Constitución – a perfect end to a perfect day  

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