Sunday, 9 August 2015
With the heat of summer I have done quite a few trips around Veleta in the past few weeks. This peak is second highest in the Sierra Nevada and with its proximity to the Granada ski village and an area called Hoya de la Mora it is a relatively easy summit to ascend and so is perhaps the most climbed peak in the range. This was brought home to me last week when I arrived at the summit last weekend with a couple of clients. The summit of the mountain is marked by a concrete pillar and on this occasion it was crowded with a group of about fifty walkers. It was almost like getting to the summit of Snowdon. As we lunched the numbers grew as more and more walkers and cyclists arrived at the summit. It does seem that the popularity of walking in the mountains is growing. Other mid week visits have been much quieter affairs with the whole mountain empty of walkers. On those visits it is quite common to come across quite large numbers of Cabra de Montana. In late July for the first time ever I came across a young cabra kid suckling off its mother. I had never seen this before so it was great to see. A week later with a group of friends we watched as a fox circled a group of three or four cabra before they finally decided that enough was enough and they chased the fox off down the mountainside. Cabra do seem to becoming more used to walkers and in some areas particularly will allow you to get quite close before they run off. Descending Mulhacens south ridge in early August I walked within about three meters of a group of four large males who casually watched as I approached before finally getting up and sauntering off. They didn’t seem in the least worried by my presence seemingly accepting the fact that I was there in their territory. Near the Poqueira refuge cabra quite often approach the building even if you are sat out on the terrace. They seem to like licking the side of the building presumably getting essential salts to supplement their diet. Other wildlife sightings in recent trips included a couple of juvenile Golden eagles soaring above us on a trip to Pico de Jerez near Gaudix. Nearer to home we recently spotted a common genet (Genetta genetta) crossing the track below our finca as we drove up from the village one night. These animals are also known as ‘’civit cats’’ and look like a cross between a domestic cat and a large ferret.