Category Archives: Clives Ramblings

Conquering Torreon peak in Grazalema

I have rebublished this wonderful article from 2010. Fantastic memories of a wonderful person. Yes you Sacha Burton 🙂

It’s been far too long since I viewed the Sierras from our highest peak here in Grazalema and as we have a friend from Canada visiting us I thought it would be a good excuse for me to take a day off the computer to show her the view from the top of our particular world…The walk of Torreon takes about 5 or 6 hours there and back depending, of course, on how long you stay at the top. It is a steep incline to the summit of 1654 metres which can take around 2.5 to 3 hours to trudge.

This article was first published on Wildside Holidays in 2010

Remember that to enter this restricted area you need a permission from the park authorities. Read here about how to obtain permits for restricted areas in the Sierra de Grazalema

Over to Sacia for her thoughts and observations 🙂

Torreon adventure story! by Sacia Burton.

Ooh, STOP! I want to get out and take a picture… please?

Lady birds at the very top!
Lady birds at the very top!

Clive, my friend and nature guide for the day, shrugged and pulled to the shoulder of the road; I had cause to be excited — we had just turned the corner on our way to Torreon and the Puerto de Boyar Mirador, or “golden view“.

Spectacular views of endless mountains dispersed between verdant valleys lay before us. I hopped out of the car, camera in hand, and snapped a few shots of mountain tips peaking up through morning mist.

I am diligently not a morning person, so with such enthusiasm early in the day (early being any time before 11 a.m.) I was surprising even myself. Torreon, the highest peak in the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park, standing at 1654 metres, was to be my first mountain hiking/climbing experience here.

As it turned out, my early morning enthusiasm wasn’t the only thing that surprised me that day.

Continue reading Conquering Torreon peak in Grazalema

Summer heat in the Sierra de Grazalema

Someone has turned up the heating here in the Sierra de Grazalema and the rain and cool of the spring seems to be a long distant memory…!

Temperatures are up in the high thirties and the forecast is for more intense heat yet to come which will probably take us into the forties!

The green fields and colourful meadows have changed to dusty soil as the summer does its work to dry seed heads. Local farmers are doing their work to harvesting the fields of wheat, sunflowers and other crops.

Nothing surely can compare with walking through a pine forest in Andalucia with cones cracking in the heat and cicadas “whirring” in the branches.

The temperature hits the melt point releasing the essential oils from cistus, rosemary and lavender that fill the air with that unmistakeable Mediterranean hot summer scent… Maybe you can guess from my words… I love Andalucia in the summer!

in summer the bright pink Nerium oleander is in full bloom and if you look closer you will see that this plant generally follows watercourses and dry (sometimes wet) gullies… Oleander hedges always provide great rewards for insect expeditions over the hot months of July and August.

Especially look out for dragonflies and damselflies, shining jewels of the summer flying alongside the butterflies that appear in a myriad of colours and sizes feeding on blue sea holly and other plants of the thistle family

Many people find it too hot during the months of July and August but for those with a special interest in insects this area is litterally a “hotspot” for many normally hard to find species.

Wildside Holidays – Spain

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A visit to the botanic garden in the village of El Bosque.

Regular visits to the Botanic Garden in El Bosque village allow us to see the local wild plants as they change through the seasons.

Mid June is the best time to see some of the parks endemics in full flower. Phlomis x margaritae is a hybrid shrub in the Sage family that occurs naturally on a mountain named Margarita – hence the plant name. This is placed in the “rupicola” section (rock gardens) at the highest point of the meandering pathways. It is a plant endemic to the Sierra de Grazalema park area. This meaning that it is not found in the wild anywhere else in the world.

In the same rock gardens and in full flower at this time of year are the orange blooms of the cliff dwelling Grazalema poppy (Papaver rupifragum) which although it was thought that this plant was exclusive to this mountain range it has also been recorded in Morocco.

The delicate lemon flowers of (Sideritis incana subsp occidentalis) are easily overlooked on a mountain side and this again is only from the Grazalema area.

The sky was a beautiful deep blue and I love the combination of dark green trees and fresh white clouds against such a colour. My progress around the gardens was slow as there is so much to see and photograph at this time of year. Even seed pods from plants that flowered earlier are very photogenic.

The shaded areas beneath the mature trees on visits to the Botanic Garden in El Bosque village are always welcome at this time of year!

On my first visits here I used to write the plant names that I wanted to learn onto a note pad, now I cheat and take a photo of the sign along with the plant pictures – so much quicker!

Wildside Holidays – Spain

The top wildlife, activity and walking holiday companies in Spain. Small family companies living and working in Spain. Local guides are the best!

bars and restaurants are reopening

Well, slowly but surely all the bars and restaurants are reopening in Ronda, Grazalema and the area around the Caminito del Rey.

Many hotels are already taking bookings as well. However, it does seem that Ronda is lagging behind a little in this respect. Let’s hope it catches up soon.

The state of alarm declared here in Spain due to the outbreak of Covid-19 will be lifted on the 21st of June 2020.

This means that this “new normality” that everyone has been talking about will be a reality. What exactly does it mean? Who knows to be honest. Hopefully it will mean that the quality of establishements will be better than ever. Providing a clean and safe environment to sample those Spanish tapas or wallowing in the jacuzzi of your favorite hotel.

Whats new on the websites?

Heres the latest article over at Ronda Today if you fancy a horseriding holiday in this stunning area of Western Andalucia.

The Caminito del Rey is up and running and there are virtually no spaces left aaccording to the official online booking system. Have a look here for some alternative ways to get an entry ticket

The Spanish version Event Calendar is developing nicely. All the basic village and town information articles are written and published and there are now 41 villages on the new pages.

A few events have been published For some villages and I expect this to increase a lot with the lockdown lifted and more freedom to move around.

That said, pretty much every summer feria and romería has been cancelled for this year. So this August will be a quiet one without the usual fun fairs, dodgems and deafening concerts untill the early morning sun rises. 🙂

You can see the event calendar website here. Its all in Spanish so good practice for your language skills. 🙂

Wildside Holidays is also doing pretty well of late! I am seeing traffic increasing and hopefully the businesses running wildlife holidays in Spain will benefit a little from this project.

Wildside Holidays – Spain

The top wildlife, activity and walking holiday companies in Spain. Small family companies living and working in Spain. Local guides are the best!

So, theres more happening in my neck of the woods than just the bars and restaurants are reopening!

Happy travels and stay safe!


The new events calendar for Grazalema and its neighbours

So, I am working on the new events calendar. It’s not just the Sierra de Grazalema as before but now but takes in all of the SerranĂ­a de Ronda from Algámitas across to Benaladid to Ubrique via Cortes de la Frontera and finishing up alphabetically in Zahara de la sierra.

Events right now are few and far between due to the coronavirus issue that continues to persist.

That said, things are coming alive again slowly but surely.

Bars and restaurants are opening. Places to visit and things to do. Hotels taking reservations.

You can follow the progress of the new event calender on this domain here.

It is in Spanish so good for your language practice.