Thursday March 24th Cotos-Rios to Pontones

Big 34 kilometres walk with nearly 1200 metres of climb so feeling a bit knackered. The really frustrating thing is that this is the second night in a row that I have not been able to access the internet. Would really like to know what the birds were I was seeing yesterday, are wild boar dangerous and what was this cat like thing I saw today was.

Anyway it was a great walk, which means four really good days walking through the Cazorla Natural Park and still a bit more to go. If anything today's walk was the wildest, partly because of the weather which, at the top, was windy, wet and misty, and partly because the walk just felt more remote. For the fourth day I have had the Park to myself.

Leaving Cotos-Rios you walk along banks the Rio Gaudalaquiver for about 2 kilometres. There are some huge campsites all them empty at the moment which probably explains why everything is so quite. You follow a forest track graded for vehicles for about 10 kilometre next to the Rio Borosa. Overshadowing the walk, on your south side, is the distinctive Pedra del Mulon.

Piedra del Mulon

Eventually the track runs out, just before the end of the gorge which, at this point is particularly dramatic. Today the clouds were hanging over the top, but it was still very impressive.

Cordillera de las Banderillas

Leaving the track graded for vehicles your then on a really nice trail and into the best part of the walk. The first stage involved quite a stiff climb to the first pass. It was wet, I wasn't moving very quickly, and it was at this point I experienced my first bit of novel wild-life. Got a picture and I have to say it looks a bit like a squirrel albeit that the colouring is not one the same as any I've seen before, certainly not a grey squirrel and not as red as a red squirrel.

Red Squirrel?

After the pass you continue to climb and as it gets higher and more predominantly limestone the trees become sparse. Eventually the path levels out and you cross an ancient meadow with an old broken down cottage. Ahead I can see some odd coloured rocks, which attract my attention because of their colour, and which as I get closer, shoot off in various directions up the hill. I've disturbed 20 or 30 deer which had been grazing by a stream. Looking at the picture I think there are two types, one classic bambi, the other browner and a bit chunkier.

Wild goats and deer near La Hoya de Albardia

A couple of hundred yards further on I have my second lunch by some ruined houses, La Hoya de Albardia. You can still work out how big the rooms are and how intimate it must been not just for the inhabitants of each house but for the whole village.

La Hoya de Albardia

After another 30 minutes, and just beyond what I think was the highest part of the walk, I see my most intriguing bit of wild-life. At first glance I thought I was seeing the back of a marmot, it was the same colour, but it was bigger. It was at the bottom of a near vertical array of limestone boulders about 30 metres high and about 60 metres away. It then ran up the boulders and I could see that it was a cat, agile like a fox and with a big fox like tail, but with a much thicker, stronger neck and broader head. It was definitely a cat but much bigger than any tabby I have ever seen. I did get a really good view of it but not a picture I'm afraid, it was raining and my camera was inside my waterproofs.

So walking through the Cazorla Natural Park has been as good as a safari although without a guide I have no real idea what I have seen. Perhaps Juan will be able to help.

For Christine's benefit a picture of a miniature daffodil and some pine trees covered in an algae type thing - the latter would normally generate about two days of discussion.

Miniature Daffodil

Algae cover pine trees on the way down to Pontones

Stayed at the Hotel-Restaurante Ruta del Segura which was very pleasant.


  1. John, wild boards are not dangerous as far as they do not feel atacked as a matter of fact it is dificult to get sight of them for they use to get food at night.
    The cat you caught sight. We have two kind of that species, one is the wild cat and the lynx, but could have been a stone marten also.

  2. Hi Juan, like the idea that it might have a Lynx, will go with that! Apologies but I have deleted your other comment, the buttons on the iPhone are very small. I saw the White mountain you referred to but mistakenly thought it was the Sierra Nevadas. Thanks for your continuing interest


  3. Other mountains you are to see today to the north in Murcia territory are Revolcadores and Sierra de Moratalla that you will pass tomorrow. And also you will get a glimpse of Sierra Espuña more to the east.
    I also get to getting up very early.
    Have a nice day John. Remember that today you will have to change the hour at night, at 2,00 will be 3,00.

  4. Juan is right that boar are normally not aggressive. However, if you give them the impression that you want to harm their sweet pyjamas-striped kids, they are happy to change their nature temporarily - and they are strong enough to make you exchange the temporary for the eternal! So please take a little care with them - we want to read your comments on Budapest. Menno

  5. I'm at the hotel ruta de segura tonight, after being on the gr247 for a few days it's back on the gr7

    1. Hi Terry, your in some remote countryside, watch out for the Lynx.