Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Gavilanes To Pedro Bernardo

A brief respite from what is being quite a tough winter in Madrid meant that last Sunday was a good day for doing some walking. The route was in the lower part of the Sierra de Gredos, connecting the two small villages of Gavilanes and Pedro Bernardo. I wonder if you can guess, from visual clues in the images below, which political party controls Gavilanes? I'll offer another hint, it's not the Falange.

The route climbs up from the top of Gavilanes through the woods, following a beautiful path. This area was once an important source of resin extracted from the pine trees for industrial uses, but now the woods are just for walkers....and hunters. Higher up we wandered into the middle of a batida de caza, behind every tree or large rock there seemed to be a heavily armed hunter waiting to see whether the dogs could drive something his way. They didn't seem very pleased to see us and we had to change our route just in case someone confused a group of 25 walkers with a wild boar.

Down below there were views far across to the province of Toledo.

The water tumbling down the hillside in this image is not a natural stream. The water has been redirected for electricity generation and falls some 400 metres down the mountain.

Sadly, the area near Pedro Bernardo is no longer so beautiful as it once was, two fires in recent years have destroyed much of the woodland. Pedro Bernardo itself looks from above like quite a large village but many of its houses are only occupied at the weekends, many of the villagers live in Madrid.


Pueblo girl said...

I remember walking one Sunday near my previous home (also a village), and counting 17 hunters randomly distributed in bushes or behind rock and trees - over a distance of about 3-4 kms. Needless to say, there is hardly any game at all left in that area. A few pigeons at most.
A friend claims his brother takes his bagpipe with him on Sundays, playing it as he walks the hills. I don't hink I'd be quite so brave (foolhardy?) about antagonising armed men. But the idea amuses me.

Graeme said...

Whether they like it or not you have to let the hunters know you are there for safety reasons, and the bagpipe sounds like a very good way of doing that - not many deer or wild boar have bothered to learn how to play the pipes.

Jan said...

I've taken to wearing the flourescent jacket from the car when I walk the dog on hunting days, although I always wait until lunch time as most of the hunters go back home then... but you never know.

Graeme said...

I like the bagpipes idea more, the jacket doesn't work for the colour blind. The hunters we ran into were starting to pack up too, but we still changed the route.