Off-roading 4×4 Land Rovers on the Andalucia Mountain Tracks

Andalucia is a huge mountainous region. One sierra or mountain range rolls into another across the south of Spain meaning a huge network of tracks and dry river beds ideal for mountain biking, quads or 4×4 off roading.

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I’ve often explored rugged tracks around where I live in my estate car, which is not ideal, so when the opportunity of driving a 4×4 Land Rover defender around the sierras in Granada came my way I happily jumped in behind the wheel. Actually I didn’t jump, they are higher than I thought.

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Three of us were in one Land Rover and we were six vehicles in all. Stage one was the easier bit, partly  road and mostly dry river beds with jutting out tree trunks, large stones and at times slippy wet puddles. I chose to drive first, each stage being about an hour so doing as told and keeping both hands firmly on the steering wheel with thumbs on the outside (in case of jarring) off we went. What fun!

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We stopped for photo calls and driver swaps as the river bed terrain changed and the driving a bit more skilful with the need of a lower gear ratio and careful manoeuvring.

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The river beds became open countryside with stunning surreal landscapes, steep climbs and hairpin bends on the pine-covered mountain slopes.

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Now the back-seat driver I could enjoy the scenery  more and relax between jolts.

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After winding and climbing with no other sign of life around we reached the Vereda de Chirlata, a spot of Natural Interest and at midday a lot of heat  haze too! But what incredible far-reaching landscapes, disappearing into the horizon with no sign of life or habitiation.

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We then wound down to civilisation again, leaving the wild, stunning mountain views behind, an experience not to be forgotten with wishes to repeat it in spring or autumn.

Many thanks to my co-drivers Abi and Jesu,  TurGranada the official tourist board for the GXPerience blog trip especially Raul also known as MisterBackstage for his humour, joie de vivre, planning skills and lack of sleep, Garnata Tours who provide many different types of activities and tours around Granada province  and Sports Adventures who own the Land Rovers and plan vespa, quad, Land Rover, car treks and rallies in Spain and Northern Africa.

 

 

Hot Air Balloon Flight over Granada

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Without even realising  we were airborne. Floating gently, the distance between us and the ground growing. The views over the town of Guadix, 60 km from Granada city, revealing its beauty, calmly we drift upwards. In tandem with a smaller balloon we are at times above it, then below with no sensation of rising or falling – just a steady calm, barely noticeable movement.

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This is the land of cave houses, stunning scenery and mountain ranges. The cathedral captures my eye, a merge of Renaissance and Baroque style, with clay ridges behind and in the distance the mighty mountain range of the Sierra Nevada with glints of white snow still visible at the end of June.

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Higher we go, 360 degree views of uninterrupted beauty. The silence is calming then the flare of the flame a noisy blast and serenity resumes. I could live up here, peacefully drifting the skies, looking down on the hustle and bustle of the city below and the immense expanse of nature far greater than that of civilisation. Never for a moment feeling scared or unsafe.

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And those views go on forever, oh to keep on flying.

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Where to stay in the province of Granada – Only Spain ~ Boutique Hotels in Granada

My balloon flight experience  was thanks to GloventoSur and part of the GRXperience blogtrip run by Granada Tourist Board. A big thank you to both. Would I go again? Oh yes. I want to fly over the Alhambra in Granada city and over Ronda and the stunning mountains around it.

All photos are mine except the one with me in the basket! – copyright deMiku