Off-Piste Trekking With The Semples! Moral Of The Story Being… Always Buy A Trail Map!!

  1. Our plan for today was to follow a pretty well-documented 17km trail up to The Siestes Lagunas -a group of lagoons and their waterfalls at an altitude of 2500m which meant an uphill trek of over 1000m from the village.  We had clothing for all seasons and a rucksack bursting with provisions – flask of hot coffee, bottles of water, sarnies, Christmas cake , chocolate ….the only thing missing was a proper trail map which, although we had seen one in the shop yesterday, we balked at paying €12 for! Mistake numero uno! Roy, being a seasoned hillwalker, usually insists on sussing out the starting point for a trek like this but, in this case, he didn’t, and opted to just follow the signposts! Mistake numero dos! We walked aimlessly round the town looking for a walk whilst following directions from a tourist website. Everyone knew we were tourists because like New York we were the only ones looking up! We finally latched onto signs that said “c’mon there’s a walk here!” and off we went. Over a steep hill and down the other side to see three large dogs roaming in Harley’s direction! The owner was there loading up his two mules but didn’t care what his mutts were up to. Harley made mistake numero tres-not all dogs want to play,-and, after a brief encounter and a bite on the ass and a painful yelp, he stuck to our sides like Marmite on toast! We headed on in front of the mules and mongrels train and indicated left onto the hard shoulder to let them all past, save Harley and never see them again. Not quite! We called for ‘afternoon tea’, several kilometres in the middle of nowhere, but didn’t get a great reception when we took a path past their remote abode and the three amigos barked to let Harley know that they were hungry.

Peace descended and we walked up a river valley and followed it’s course, moving from shade to sunshine. This meant at times walking over inch thick ice to feeling the heat on our backs more than Harley had a short time earlier. Not gaining much altitude, we came to realise that we were not lost but certainly not on our intended course, but stuff it, we just decided to rack up the kilometres and enjoy the views of the valley and the snow capped peaks. Water flowing in a riverbed was a novelty after spending days driving over river courses that hadn’t contained water for a long time, to the point were they had become unofficial roads or had been fully kitted out with enormous greenhouses for crop cultivation. After around three hours and after being refused afternoon tea and rejoining our original track, we came to a path that intersected with our originally intended walk. We deliberated hard over coffee and Christmas cake and decided that the possibility of a head torch decent didn’t light us up ( pardon the pun) so we did an about face and headed for base camp.


Once back in Sebo, with around 20km under our belts, we scrubbed up, had a quick San Miguel debrief and headed out for grub. Several places in town appealed but our bleating limbs wouldn’t allow us to go further than the restaurant at the entrance to our unofficial Aire car park. No bad choice though! With some pointing and strange noises, Roy ordered a local pizza, for Karen, an Alpujarrian speciality (sautéed spuds, onions, peppers, garlic, blood sausage, sausage and the local jamon) that had several defibrillators on standby. Only the Campo Viejo kept the arteries clear enough to pay the €23.00 bill and take the long, cold, lonely walk back to Sebo and a dog that looked like he had been chewing Rohypnol! He would get most of the blood sausage with breakfast as the ‘Northern Lass’ ain’t a lover of such food!!!