Algodonales – a paragliders dream

On leaving the coast behind in El Puerto de Santa Maria and heading back into the mountains, we were going to head to a site in Olvera, but at the last minute I spotted a free motorhome service area shortly before Olvera in a little town called Algodonales, about 20 miles north of Ronda.  Not only free but with electricity included – seemed too good to be true?  It wasn’t!  We ended up staying 4 nights 🙂

Once parked up we became aware of lots of music that seemed to emanate from the town itself, which was about a 10 minute walk away.  We also spotted a number of walkers heading that way; so we decided that we should head into town ourselves.  It’s quite a steep climb past chickens, building yards, lemon & orange groves and numerous streams.

The noise escalated as we neared the main square, where we found a finishing tunnel and an announcer with a microphone welcoming runners (and walkers) back on finishing the Viboras Trail (a run/hike up into the mountains and back – see below).

  • The route of the Algodonales Víboras Trail (which translates literally as “Cotton Snakes Trail) is a homage by us to one of the most testing routes in Andalusia. At 16 km in length and 916 meters of accumulated ascent, this route is a level three, and is a speciality trip that can only be accessed by club members.       https://xcmag.com/travel-guide/guide-to-algodonales-spain/

We sat at a bar (very busy but we still managed to sit after a few minutes) and enjoyed a drink while watching these amazing people returning from their latest challenge 🙂

On the way back to the van we could see a white town in the distance.  We thought we might cycle there in the morning, but then we looked on Google maps and saw how far it actually was!  Back at the motorhome area the paragliders, that we’d spotted jumping off the mountain when we first arrived, Continue reading “Algodonales – a paragliders dream”

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Delights on our Doorstep – Days out from Cabopino

Staying at Cabopino Camping? Here are some ideas for days out and what to find in the surrounding area.

This is my last post from our time at Cabopino and I’m aiming to mop up all the places that didn’t merit individual posts.  So this post is just a bit of a mash up 🙂

I have dealt with the following days out already (click to go directly to the relevant post):-

Malaga

Banos de la Hedionda

Embalse de la Concepcion

Ronda

Camino del Rey  (also our 1st visit was covered back in 2017)

Gibraltar (from our visit in 2017)

Many people also visit Antequera and El Torcal from here, but we actually stayed near there instead so this will be recorded in a later post.

But this wasn’t all we did (of course not – we were at Cabopino for over 6 weeks this time!)  There follows a short summary of all other days out during our time there.

Benalmadena

I visited Benalmadena years ago with my boys (staying in the Flatotel which was perfect for us at the time).  Whilst we were there that time we visited the theme park, Tivoli World (I was never going to get away with not going was I with 2 young boys in tow!)

This time though we were determined to go up the mountain in the cable car.  We tried twice….  The 1st time we got to Benalmadena before realising that the weather wasn’t as warm there as back at Cabopino, and would, of course, be cooler still at the top of the mountain – plus neither of us had bought any sort of warm top with us.  So we had to abort.  The trip wasn’t a complete wash-out though – we sat and had a drink in a cafe and found a cheap perfume shop where Calv managed to buy me a birthday present 🙂

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A month later we finally found the time to return to head up the cable car.  This time it was much warmer but we went fully ready for all eventualities – except for the fact that the day before we arrived it had closed for a month (as, apparently, it does every year…)  We are completely useless and really must be better prepared. Continue reading “Delights on our Doorstep – Days out from Cabopino”

Cycle ride to Portchester Castle

This is the 1st time we have actually cycled to Portchester Castle (despite the fact that we only live a couple of miles away…)

And what a beautiful day we chose to do it!  We headed off down the hill and took the road towards the water.  We first visited Wicor Marine from where you can access the Salt Café, sitting directly on the shores of Fareham Creek and well worth a visit for a cuppa and a slice of cake (or perhaps even a glass of wine 🙂 ).

(There is actually a lovely walk around Fareham Creek that can be started from the café (or the castle itself), that takes you around the golf course at Cams Hall (covering much of the Fareham park run route).  Click here for details.

Having stopped by Calv’s sister’s for a cuppa and some oil for Calv’s bike chain we took the path along the shoreline as far as Hospital Lane where we emerged into the heart of old Portchester.  The path was good (although there is a bit with steep drops on either side, 1 down to the shingle beach, the other a grassy ditch, so if you’re not very confident on your bike you would probably get off and walk here!)  The views are just lovely, particularly on a beautiful sunny day (which we are experiencing so many of at the moment 🙂 )

 

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View from our ride along the shore of Fareham Creek towards Portchester Castle

At the end of the path you can continue straight to the castle along the shore – although a short section is on the beach so it’s not really suitable for cycling.  Therefore when you get to the end of the fence separating the shore from the lane down to Turret House, turn left to go up Hospital Lane, where you will found a couple of lovely old houses.  The view of Castle Street when you get to the top is lovely 🙂  (I didn’t take a picture as on a sunny Sunday afternoon the cars have sort of taken over!)

From here it’s just a short hop to the castle (about 20 seconds on bikes, maybe 2 mins if you’re on foot.  Continue reading “Cycle ride to Portchester Castle”

More Northumberland Beaches. And Castles :)

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Bambrugh Castle from the beach

 

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Bambrugh Beach
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Bambrugh Castle landside

 

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Looking towards Dunstanburgh Castle
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One of the towers at Dunstanburgh Castle, Northumberland
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Looking ‘through the keyhole’ at Dunstanburgh Castle!
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Dunstanburgh Castle, Northumberland

We still weren’t finished with Northumberland.  Our remaining days there before we headed into Scotland took in beaches and castles.  We headed slightly inland to visit Ford & Etal and we even had a daytrip into Scotland, visiting Eyemouth as well as a couple of hidden coves.  We were busy!

We weren’t experiencing wonderful weather; we had some extremely windy conditions – but the sun was out too at times 🙂

From Holy Island we had spotted, what looked like, some rather lovely beaches across the channel, so we headed a couple of miles back down the A1 and took a left.  The 1st turn took us to a dead end.  We did get out to have a look, but there were bird hides and this wasn’t on the agenda for us so we carried on and took the next left!

After a while we found a lay-by from where we could access the shoreline, so we stopped and headed out for a walk along the shore.

Unfortunately this wasn’t the most pleasant experience as the tide was coming in and we had to negotiate the muddy shoreline around the bay.  However we eventually came across the sand  which very nearly made the challenging walk to find it worth it!  Rather than tackle the shoreline, with the tide even further in, we left the beach via a footpath that took us out to a lane, past a caravan site and finally back to the main road.  Although there was no pavement there was room on the verge to walk on when cars went past so it was fine.

Not necessarily my favourite afternoon out, but we did get a fair bit of exercise 🙂

The next day dawned bright and sunny but windy.  We had already decided to head down the coast to Bambrugh, which has an amazing stretch of beautiful wide sandy beach backed by dunes you can get lost in!  We very nearly did!  Continue reading “More Northumberland Beaches. And Castles :)”

A few more days on the Moors and seeing the Transporter Bridge

We did a lot of walking in the North York Moors – even when we were ‘going’ somewhere!  So this post will deal with 1 of the days that we were, sort of at least, heading somewhere and I will do a separate post for the days we actually set out just to walk (to the top of Roseberry Topping and to see Captain Cook’s Monument to be precise).

On day 2 in the Moors we headed to the nearest decent sized town, Stokesley, which turned out to be extremely pleasant.  The parking system was disc parking and, not having a disc, we drove through and parked as soon as we could, giving us a short walk back into town.  There are an awful lot of old buildings in Stokesley and the centre has a really nice feel about it, with lots of independent shops and several butchers, bakers and greengrocers.

We also found a dedicated running shop here (I needed a new water bottle).  The 1st bottle they showed me was £35 – I politely explained I wasn’t actually THAT much of a runner!  I did get what I wanted though, and then realised that I recognised the couple from my previous morning’s ‘run’ – I had stopped to wait for them to pass me with their 4 dogs as I was embarrassed by my shambling and didn’t want them to observe it!  These 2 are proper runners – he went up the hill like it  was a Sunday afternoon stroll, whereas I had to bully myself up this hill (all 20m or so of it…).  The shop is called Let’s Run, and they are very involved in coaching and getting beginners out with groups.

From here we headed towards Middlesborough as we both wanted to see the Transporter Bridge that crosses the Tees there.

We found it, and we went across the river on it (£1.30!), a very quick crossing after which we found ourselves in an area called Port Clarence, which used to be very busy, but which is now less so.

We had a quick drive around Middlesborough and were impressed by the evidence of past grandeur, and also the clear evidence of ongoing regeneration.

Making our way back the, slightly long way, we saw another bridge that appears to lift.  I have since discovered this to be the Newport Vertical Lift Bridge which is no longer in use, so no chance of seeing it in action unfortunately 😦

A couple of days later we decided to head south through the moors towards Helmsley.  Continue reading “A few more days on the Moors and seeing the Transporter Bridge”

Richmond & Leyburn

On our last day in the Dales we decided to go to Richmond, but on the way we stopped off in Leyburn to do some washing.

Whilst waiting for this to finish we first of all did a bit of shopping in a local supermarket, Campbells (actually a CostCutter but also a family run grocery store), and then a quick wander down to ‘The Shawl’ (I was intrigued by the name 🙂 )

We got some wonderful meat in the grocery store (which made us both a wonderful beef stew and a somerset pork casserole).

We found the initial part of the shawl to be playing fields leading up to limestone terrace that extends for almost 2 miles (but we didn’t have time to find this bit).  Romantics like to think it’s called The Shawl as Mary Queen of Scots  dropped her shawl in the area whilst escaping from her imprisonment at Bolton Castle.  This may well not be true! But the views are amazing 🙂

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We moved onto Richmond, where we drove around for a while trying to find a parking space – eventually parking halfway down the hill towards the old station.  Before heading to the castle we had a drink overlooking the market place, followed by a quick mooch around a little market in the old Victorian market hall.

Then onto the castle that dominates the town.  It’s not huge but is a pleasant enough way to pass an hour or so.  The views from the top of the keep are wonderful : Continue reading “Richmond & Leyburn”

Harrogate and Knaresborough

In between our 2 visits to York we had already decided to go to Harrogate.  Harrogate is an elegant spa town about 20 miles west of York, and it has a rich history as such.

We parked a little way before the town centre, paid our £2.80 for 2 hours, and walked in, keeping an eye on the time as we went.  There are numerous beautiful buildings and grand streets and hotels.  These were built for the hordes of wealthy Victorians, although it has been a spa town for much longer than that.

You can visit the Pump House museum for just a few pounds each, and it’s a very interesting visit, dealing with the growth of the town as a popular spa.  There are almost 100 thermal springs in the area, each of them providing different health benefits.

Other places of interest include The Royal Hall (originally named the Kursall, but re-named Continue reading “Harrogate and Knaresborough”