Friday March 25th Pontones to Santiago de la Espada

Second to last day in Andalucia so approaching a big milestone. After three quite tough days, today's walk was much shorter and getting to the Hotel San Francisco at about 2 o'clock I'm trying to get as much time of my feet as possible. The hotel does have Wi-Fi but so far no Internet so will have to see if the growing back log of blogs get published.

The walk was about 17 kilometres and a nice one, the weather has improved since yesterday and, although not hot, there was no need to get the waterproofs out.

Continuing on from yesterday the first two thirds of today's walk was through what I'd regard as extreme limestone country. Hardly any soil, very dry looking and sparse in terms of trees. It's also high up and there is still a lot of snow about. Making a living here looks tough with sheep the only agricultural product. Not sure why but, compared to sheep in the UK, sheep in this part of Spain really smell, a different smell but strong in the way goats smell.

Sheep and more sheep around Pontones

The vast majority of the walk was off road and along a path that by and large not difficult to follow. Leaving the village,


and after a short stretch along a road, you follow a shallow valley gently up heading east and then south until you eventually hit the road to Poyotello. The countryside is not spectacular in the way it has been for the last days but it is very pleasant. You follow the road south and after crossing a sort of pass, and the highest point of the day, head down, cross a main road for the last part of the walk. The countryside is now wide-open, almost like the Yorkshire Dales, except in the distance you can just see, for the second time on this trip, the snow covered tops of the Sierra Nevadas.

Open dry limestone countryside above Pontones

Having crossed a small ridge just beyond the road, descended in open country for about 500 metres, the route then takes you alongside a little stream which gradually, over the next 5 kilometres turns into a full blooded gorge. If you watch what your doing you will spot where the GR route divides (near the little dam apparently) and follow the route into Santiago de la Espada. Alternatively you will miss the turn, do what I did, and end up on the wrong side of the Rio Zumeta, and then have to walk back up the road for a kilometre or so to get to where you want to be.

Valley down to Santiago de la Espada

Talking of roads I suspect, almost as a penance for the great walking of the last four days, that road walking is going to be standard for the next couple of days or so. Even the Cicerone guide suggests hitching at lift for the last 15 kilometres of tomorrow's 34 kilometre walk. That of course would be cheating and I couldn't possibly do it.


  1. Looks very dry. maybe that's why the sheep smell - they're not drinking enough. hope you are

  2. Christine probably means water, minerals, tea, that kind of stuff, John. Not alcohol. Menno