Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Finally made it to the top!

I've been training to do the hike up the mountain to the cross of Juanar; I've been averaging 7 kms a day up in the sierra for the last few weeks, hoping to make it up and back without knackering myself. With a cloudy day forecast I decided that last Thursday would be a good time to attempt the hike; it may not be that warm (14degC) but the sun on my back all day would make it just too hard.
I set off bright and early(ish), the first couple of miles were part of my training route so seemed quite easy. The guide book then said that the trail now "goes up fairly steeply" which seemed to be vertical!
I'd decided to stop every hour for a 10 min rest; after 3 hours fairly hard going I reached the top of the hill just below the rocky outcrop where the cross is sited.
Looking back down towards Marbella

So far I had not seen a single person or heard a sound apart from birdsong, fair to say I was in good spirits. Now as I just had to make the last ascent the sun started to break through the clouds, I have to say it all looked beautiful. I scrambled the last few hundred yards to reach the flat top of  the mountain, there was an iron cross and a small shrine to the Madonna with fantastic views 360 degrees around.
Made it!

The story goes that some fishermen were out in bad weather, fog descended so that they had no idea where they were, then magically the fog cleared high up on the mountain so they could identify the distinctive shape of 'La Concha' and so return safely to port. In gratitude, they erected a cross & shrine on the peak adjacent to 'La Concha' - Juanar. I'm not sure how the hell they managed to get it up here, I was knackered just carrying my rucksack with apples and water in it!!

Looking North

Looking East

Looking West

After a nice rest and some packed lunch I began to make my way back down. The route is circular so instead of the rocky scramble I had coming up, the descent first went down through a lovely forest full of the fragrance of pine and a nice soft carpet of pine needles, that's where I came across long lines of caterpillars marching along head to tail.

A bit further on and I looked up to see fluffy white flowers on the tops of the pine trees - never seen those before.

The trail then came out into the open and continued descending on a lovely sandy path with views all around down to the sea and Marbella in the distance. I may have been a little light-headed by this time, as I came around a corner and looked across the valley, there was a rocky outcrop that had the appearance of a Chinese warrior guarding the entrance to the mountain (WTF!) yeah I know - I even took a photo of it.

You might have to squint a bit to see the warrior.........

Just to rub in the strangeness of that thought, around the next bend I surprised a small group of 8 or 9 Spanish Ibex (no really) but by the time I got the camera out they were gone.

There they were - gone!

Lovely Spanish Ibex - library photo obviously

I finally got back down to the bottom where I'd left the car, it had taken eight hours, but that was including stops & lunch. I felt really happy, not too tired. My smartphone said I'd walked 15 kms and 1600 metres in height. Lovely day (apart from that little wobble ;)

Looking back up - proud to have made it up there!


  1. Quite the distance and elevation. You have my full respect, John.

    I spotted the warrior right away, even without having read the caption.

    1. Thanks Sonja. Once you start the long walks you feel the need to just keep going, don't you?

  2. Wow, great job!! That view is a worthy reward.

    The caterpillars have me intrigued on their march. Wonder where they were headed?

    1. Trobairitz, the views alone made it worthwhile.
      I did spot a long line of caterpillars going up a tree trunk, not sure myself what they're up to, but it looked strange.

  3. Dunno, but it seems a good hill climbing challenge!