Walking holiday opportunities

I have recently been collaborating with Paul Simmons, who operates a UK-based walking holiday business in the UK and overseas.

We have walked together recently in Spain, and he takes people to Corfu and other overseas venues. You can see his website at http://www.walkitcornwall.co.uk/en/map/andalucia-march-2020

This is what Paul has to say –

“As a walking guide and organiser of walking holidays I am always looking for areas that have many layers to them and a multitude of stories that reflect this through the culture, archaeology. geology, myths and legends, flora and fauna and obviously the vistas, food and accommodation. With the help of local guides we get to the DNA of each place we traverse and you are left with an understanding and a sense of place that will last indelibly as wonderful memories. Hopefully we also entertain and inform you and take the organisation of it all out of your hands so you can enjoy every moment.” 

Spanish Trails Book Three

I am returning soon to the Sierra de Guadarrama, near Madrid, to complete my research for Book Three. Few people in the UK have heard of the Guadarrama, so it will be called “The Mountains of Madrid”. I have the help of Tim Price, a young Englishman who was born and bred in Madrid. We aim to have the book on the shelves in time for Autumn 2019.

This is a brilliant walking area, with lots of easy, moderate and strenuous routes taking you to over 2,400 metres altitude. The views are long-distance and brilliant. And you get the chance to visit the famous capital city of Spain as well.

2020 in Andalucia

In the spring of 2020 I will be leading a group, as often, from the wonderful Finca el Cerrillo in Canillas de Albaida. I will be taking the group on from there to Granada where they will walk in the Alpujarras, in the city of Granada, and in the Sierra Sub-Betica, which is half way between Granada and Córdoba. I am looking forward to returning to some of my old walking routes for the first time in a little while.

The group are clients of Walk It Cornwall – http://www.walkitcornwall.co.uk/en/

New testimonials

I am pleased to say that I have recently received the following message from a person who bought my Picos de Europa book. The printers had made a mess of the third reprint, and had to print it over again.

“I arrived home today to find your book delivered as promised.

I have to say a big thank you for your exceptional customer service.

I am visiting the Picos in early summer and am looking forward to walking a few of the routes described.

Thank you once again.”

New Year 2019

I spent a few days in the Sierra de Guadarrama over new year, working on Spanish Trails Book Three, “The Mountains of Madrid”. Then I headed south to lead another walking group in the Sierra Almijara.

The weather has been fantastic. Scarcely a cloud in the sky for over three weeks.

Yesterday I explored two routes I have not previously done. Firstly the ascent from Acebuchal to El Fuerte, and then up once more to Cerro Verde. The path to El Fuerte is now a good one, although somebody has put up large ugly signs saying private property. However, the path has been recently cleared and cairned, so at this stage I don’t understand this. I will need to make some enquiries, as this is a fabulous ascent which I would like to use again.

Back to Andalucía

I am on my way back to the Sierra Almijara and Tejeda, to the east of Málaga and inland from Nerja. I am honouring a long-standing commitment to guide some walkers from the wonderful Hotel Finca el Cerrillo, near Canillas de Albaida.

You can see information about the hotel at www.hotelfinca.com. This is a special place, owned by Sue and Gordon, an English couple who converted a disused olive mill to turn it into a private hotel, with a beautiful Mediterranean garden in the foothills of the mountains and looking down towards the sea.


I don’t claim any degree of perfection in my work. Anybody can make mistakes! But it is gratifying to receive some compliments about my work, and here are some extracts from emails I have received  recently.

From Wales:

“I bought your book ……………… and it arrived this morning.  I have had a good read through it and it is so good I have booked a 2 week walking and learning Spanish course through PeakMe in Panes for the second and third week in October.”

“…. book one is very, very good and I look forward to being able to get your follow on books and doing some of the walks.”

From Yorkshire:

“ I only did one walk from your book ……….. that was the Sedo de Mabro option to Walk 26 (Cares Gorge). The only addition I would make is in the last paragraph and it’s for reassurance to say that you cross the stream about half way down then re-cross it 3 times more by the bottom. I loved it.

From Italy:

“ many thanks for your book, i had bought it at Stanfords, London, and i really appreciated it. the descriptions are very clear, i also liked a lot the hand-drawn sketches ……. we combined some of your itineraries extending and joining them through a simple map-reading, and spent several wonderful days up there. i also appreciated how the book is organized (the subdivision according to access points, the difficulty rating, the overall information, etc).”

From Ontario, Canada:

“ …… thank you for your wonderful Spanish Trails book.  It has been our most essential tool in planning our trip to Spain this September.  We are so very excited for our upcoming travels and exploring the Picos de Europa.”

From Amazon’s website:

“ Really useful guide. Forgot the map one day and the directions and descriptions were accurate to the cm. Really useful. I wish there was one of these for every place I visit.”

“This book is easy to read and follow and brings to life the beauty of the Picos. Excellent!”

Picos de Europa, August 2018

I just returned home from a few days in the Picos. Temperatures in much of Spain reached well over 40 degrees (almost 47 in the shade in Granada) but, as always, the heat in the Picos was more temperate. Even so, we made an ascent of the Canal de Trea in almost 30 degrees, and in full sunshine. It was a brilliant but exhausting day. The refreshments, dinner and sleep at the Vega de Ario refuge were more than welcome.

Following such a cold winter there was an unusual amount of snow on the ground at high levels, making some of the traverses difficult or impossible. The Atlantic weather systems make this area’s conditions unpredictable. But there is plenty of great walking without doing the most challenging routes in snow.

I spent a few hours double-checking routes from my Picos de Europa book, because things can constantly change. I built a few new cairns on the route to Tresviso from Sotres, to make the vague path a little easier to find. And I went to Pandebano to look again at the route up to Pena Castil, where I met a strong Spanish walker descending at an early hour out of the mist. I guess he mustn’t have been able to sleep, to be coming down by 10 am!

Walks in the Sierras Almijara and Tejeda

For a contribution of £8 towards my costs, I will send you by email a comprehensive set of directions for 30 walks in this area along with sketch maps.

I will also try to give you tailor-made instructions to meet any specific requirements you may have.

To proceed, email me on info@spanishtrailsco.com and I will tell you how.

These are the walks:







Distance (kms) Ascent (metres)
1 La Maroma from Canillas de Aceituno S 20 1500
2 La Maroma from Llanos de Sedella M 12 650
3 La Maroma circuit and down to Sedella VS 22 1500
4 Almanchares ravine E 8 140
5 Sedella to Canillas de Aceituno M 12 825
6 El Fuerte from Sedella M 12 700
7 Sedella to Los Picaricos M 11 700
8 Canillas de Albaida to Sedella M 13 640
9 Canillas de Albaida to Salares one-way walk

round trip







10 Canillas de Albaida to Cerro Gavilan via Cruz de Canillas M 12 650
11 Canillas de Albaida to Casa de la Mina M 15 710
12 Canillas de Albaida/Archez/Competa circuit M 12 650
13 Cerro Verde and Cerro Atalaya M to S 13 800
14 Malas Camas VS 20 1250
15 El Lucero from La Fábrica VS 22 1400
16 El Lucero circuit from Puerto Blanquillo VS 13 950
17 The Silk Route and La Fábrica M 14 570
18 Puerto Collado and the Silk Route circuit M 14 450
19 Puerto de Frigiliana S 18 1050
20 El Acebuchal and Cerro Verde M to S 17 660
21 El Daire and the southern Lucero ridge – short route

 long route







22 Summit of El Cisne (short and very steep) S 9 915
23 Acebuchal to Nerja via Puerto Umbrales S


18 or


850 or


24 Frigiliana to El Fuerte E 9 730
25 Nerja to Los Galgos via Rio Chillar M 17 950
26 Nerja Caves to Frigiliana or Nerja via el Pinarillo M






27 Navachica summit from Fuente de Esparto VS 17 1350
28 Tajo El Almendron and La Puerta VS 15 1050
29 El Cielo VS 14 1250
30 La Lopera E 9 320



Gradings are: VS – very strenuous; S – strenuous; M – moderate; E – easy. The gradings are subjective, as what one person finds easy another may find difficult.

The distances and ascents are approximate.

Although care has been taken in preparing this information, no guarantees are given as things can change. Walkers undertake these walks entirely at their own risk.

My Winter

I will be returning to the Picos de Europa and to the Sierra de Guadarrama in the autumn, and then I will go south, to lead some walking groups in the Sierra Almijara from the Hotel Finca el Cerrillo. You can see the Finca on www.hotelfinca.com.

In January I will be back at the Finca to lead a group over “Reyes”, the feast of the three kings (which is, in a manner of speaking, Spanish Christmas).

Normally, each year my wife and I take care of the Hotel Finca whilst the owners take a well-earned break. They organise walking holidays all year except in the heat of high summer and it is a special place to stay for walking or for anything else. We expect to be there sometime in the early part of 2019.