Sunday, 19 July 2015
Cool summer walking
With low level temperatures hitting the high 30's it is still possible to get some cooler walks in in the main Sierra Nevada range by taking the cable car up the southern side of Veleta. The cable car runs out of the Pradollano ski village which sits at 2,000m above Granada Initially travelling in an enclosed gondola or cable car you arrive at the Borreguiles half way station where you change on to an open chair lift for the final stretch up to 2,9000m. The ride is spectacular in its own right as it carries you over the now dry ski runs. In the past couple of years the lifts have been adapted to accommodate mountain bikes and there are now a number of down hill runs also starting from the end of the chair lifts. The lifts end at a fairly bleak area on the mountain side however a couple of great walks start from here. Most walkers head north east to follow a track uphill to los posiciones de Veleta at 3,000m. From this spot you get one of the best views in the whole of the Sierra Nevada range as you look east across the dramatic north faces of Veleta, Mulhacen and Alcazaba. From here some more confident walkers may venture down into the corall de Veleta though most will continue south along the track to the refugio de carahuela before ascending to the summit. For those who don’t want to climb as much there is also another path which starts from the end of the chair lit. Head south west after leaving the cable car and the walking is equally spectacular if perhaps a little easier. After a few minutes waymarkers bring you to the head of a path which head down through quite rugged terrain to the Embalse de las Yeguas a small man made lake used to supply water for snow machines in the ski season. From here you can head south east to explore the lagunillas de la virgin, small natural tarns where you may well find snow till quite late in the season. Returning to the embalse you can retrace your path up hill or head north west to cross a small coll below the obvious observatory building to then head down to Borreguiles. Even in high summer it will be cooler at these altitudes so it’s worth remembering that you may well need additional clothing and a waterproof jacket. The cable cars do not run when there are high wind speeds and as ever when you are venturing out you need to check the weather forecast before you head out.