Pépé and cervezas.
It’s just before Christmas. The temperature was far above > 0 °C and we had continuous rain. Fantastic prospects for a wet Christmas eve, but luckily, we have books months ago and were traveling to Andalusia. So, on 22nd we stood at the Memmingen Airport and were looking forward to comfy 20 °C in Spain, where people laugh at you after being asked for veggie food.
After the first night spent in Malága we took our rental car and drove towards Almuñécar. Spending Christmas at the beach seemed like a pretty good idea. On the first day we were just arriving and organizing ourselves and exploring the surrounding area. On Christmas Eve itself the wind was supposed to take up. So, we decided to not waste another day parawaiting for less wind and took off to the Parque natural del Cabo de Gata-Níjar and the wild wild west of the desert of Tabernas. The next day the weather window opened up to paragliding at the Cerro de Itrabo. We used that opportunity before stronger winds and rainy conditions stopped the show in the evening again.
While wind and rain spread over Andalusia we hit the road again and explored the caves of Nerja, searched for ibex in the Torcal de Antequera and decelerated in the Sierra de Huma with good food and wine. Unfortunately, the Caminito del Rey was rebuilt lately so that it is now feasible for young and old from 2 to 99 years and only10 Euro per capita – and has thus lost all its charm. In the crisp wind, the ferrata was also closed.
After relaxing three days and wandering around El Chorro, we made our way to the Sierra de Grazalema to immediately get up in the air at the NW-Lijar. There, we made up for the relaxing days by hike and flying and detoured to El Bosque after again the wind took its toll on us. On New Year an east wind set in, so that Montellano was on the plan. The next day we had west again, so we tried our luck in Teba. However, the instability of the weather let us pack our bags and we wanted to spend our last days and the sea again. Guess what, Andalusia has much more to offer than paragliding in Algodonales.
In the southernmost tip of the Iberian Peninsula, we arrived in Tarifa, enjoyed the views to Marocco and were dragged along the Strait of Gibraltar in high waves during our kitesurfing course.
We certainly will escape the wet winters in southern Bavaria and visit Andalusia someday again. The country has much to offer and is almost forcing you to take along kitesurfing stuff, your paragliding backpack, the road bike and some climbing gear. Whose priority is paragliding should probably plan the trip for the beginning of December, because weather conditions turn instable around New Year.
Lijar in Algodonales.
After some stormy days we said goodbye to the Sierra de Huma and set out for Algodonales. A almost closed cloud cover and slight northwestern wind. We wanted to give it a try, so we tormented the little Fabia up the graveled road until we reached the NW-launching site of Lijar. The view towards the Embalse de Zahara was gigantic and an impatience for a flight equally great.
The wind was very weak and straight from the front. The launching site is graveled and wide enough for one and a half wings. But not too long! This means that the launch could be tricky at zero wind, due to the bushes at the end of the slope. For us the 5 kph were sufficient to launch and I followed the young vultures to the east. At 5 pm the conditions were as imagined not a real doozy. The landing site is spacious, located southwest of la Muela and easily accessible from NW-Lijar.
Still flying, we all of a sudden saw a couple of wings in the air coming from Poniente towards La Muela. Bold move, as this launching spot is not quite next to the landings site, they were aiming at. Thus, it turned out that only 2/3 of the dozen paragliders made it to the landing site. The remainder, depending on the possibilities of each, had to land better or worse with a lot caution to power lines half way. At the landing site, as it shall turn out the upcoming days, Pépé ist always waiting with a small mobile bar, where, in addition to coffee and snacks, you could by a landing beer.
We made our way back to the car on foot and were repeatedly asked on the way by passing pilots from all over the world if we’d like a lift. A lack of understanding why we Fly & Hike was apparent, but otherwise people around here are super friendly and it should not be hard to form carpools.
|Group||Sierra de Lijar|
|Valley location||La Muela|
|GPS (Launching)||36.903331, -5.407814|
|GPS (Landing)||36.917354, -5.420833|
|Height launching site [amsl]||880|
|Ascent||Move north around 100 meter from the landing site. Right hand side you will find a gate. Follow the meadow trail until you reach the graveled road, which leads to all launching sites of Algodonales.|
|Launching site||Flat and short graveled site. Not recommendable at zero wind.|
|Landing site||Big meadow and some emergency landing possibilities.|
|Wind at landing site||In winter none.|