|KATE & GRAHAM AT CORTECONCEPCION
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|From the walkers' perspective, the Aracena region would be described as 'hilly' rather than 'mountainous'. Most of the land is given over to the farming of cork oaks, olives, pigs, sheep, cows, goats and in some areas further south, bulls. I would call it ambling country, up and down a few tens of metres, with occasional climbs into the hundred plus metres requiring a bit of a puff. The most you'll probably need to climb in one go is 300 metres in the odd location, as the whole region is 600 metres plus above sea level. More Derbyshire Dales than Highland Scotland.|
|As most of the land is farmed, where pigs co-exists with oak and olive trees, much of it is fenced in. This means no open access as in the High Sierras, the Alpujaras, inland Costa Blanca etc.. where you can wander the high meadows or olive groves. Walking is mainly on footpaths, old mule tracks, lanes and bridleways similar to most of the UK. Being agricultural, this area has the advantage that you're never far from civilisation in the form of a village, house, or bar - even if it isn't the bar you intended being in after losing yourself in the plethora of lanes and tracks.|
|The maps of the area show hundreds of tracks. Be aware, though, that a lot of these are within fenced areas acting as access roads to farmland. Spanish maps are somewhat lacking to put it mildly - as you'll know if you've previously walked in Spain. Unless you really do like to wander aimlessly, finding your own routes to nowhere, it really does makes sense to kick off your first visit with the Discovery Walking Guide to Aracena. This gives enough walking to keep you going for a week or so without having to continually retrace your steps. Most days we joined two or three walks into circular routes, with the odd recce 'off piste' to join them up instead of walking the roads. The 'off piste' walking was a very hit and miss affair. To give perspective to the Discovery Guide timings, we finished every walk in about two thirds of the given time - walking at a decent pace, but not legging it.|
The Sierra de Aracena is a lovely and interesting area for walking. If you're used to harder stuff, it's nice to be able to plan a lunch stop at a village bar and just soak up the sun (and beer) for an hour instead of cheese sarnis 'on the summit'. Certainly, in early March, the weather was perfect walking weather. Mainly sunny, cold until mid morning, then up to the low 20's until sundown when it fell to just above freezing. It's probably a little warmer in the summer!
So treat yourself to a few days at Corteconcepcion with Fran and Mike.
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