Rio Barosa

We wanted to be out by 8.00am on Monday so talked about setting the alarm the night before. Doh! We only talked about it and woke at 8am. We were ready by 9am but got a rude shock when we stepped outside, it was only 3 degrees! We had to cycle 4.5 miles to the start of the walk and by the time we’d arrived our hands were painfully cold. The best way to warm up was to get going so we set off at a good pace.

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Rio Barosa, the sun yet to clear the mountains

Lisa had read a few reviews of this riverside walk, we were expecting great things and weren’t disappointed. The river itself was so picturesque, babbling over rocks and the blue-green tint to the water added to the magic. After walking a few miles along a wide gravel track we came to a section of wooden walkways fixed in to the side of the rock face which left us walking over the river, brilliant!

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Walkways suspended above the Rio Barosa

The path crossed back and forth over the river. After this it was back on to a wide track but now going more noticeably uphill, but by no means steep. Every now and then we’d stop and look in awe at the colour of the deep pools and take in the atmosphere of the place. After 2 hours we reached the small hydro-electric power station – this is where the real walking began.

Looking at the map we’d covered the majority of the distance of the walk, but knew there was still a few hours before reaching the end. This meant we were going to be ascending more quickly. The path immediately got more rocky and the rock faces either side of us more dramatic. Ahead we saw 2 waterfalls cascading from above and we soon found ourselves walking across the flow near where they came crashing down. As if this wasn’t good enough, as we rounded the next corner we noticed several large birds of prey circling above on the thermals. We stopped several times, taking turns to look through the binoculars or to (try to!) take photos, every time getting closer to the birds. Due to their sheer size we thought they were Golden Eagles, but some reasearch later showed they were Griffon Vultures – still absolutely amazing though.

We’d read about some tunnels that were on this walk so we were on the look out for them, but had no idea they would be where they were – but this was the walk that kept on giving.

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See those 3 holes in the cliff…

It was only after a steep ascent on scree covered paths that we double backed, and then took a double take at the walkway into the tunnel. It went through the side of the cliff we’d been walking under. We’d never expected this. It was so amazing that I didn’t even suffer from vertigo. I felt much worse looking up at the cliff afterwards!

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Those 3 holes in the cliff, that’s where this tunnel is

There was over 100 metres of path through the tunnels, all beside a fast flowing irrigation channel, with occasional ‘windows’ hacked out of the rock to give some light and enable us to enjoy the view; with the large birds of prey now swooping below us. We popped out the other side into another world, much greener with more trees and new cliffs looming above us. We soon found the perfect spot for lunch, sitting in the hot sun surrounded by the sound of sweet birdsong and watching yellow butterflies with orange tips on their wings dancing about.

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Walking beside the irrigation channel, Rio Barosa

This just left the final stage of the walk, along a gently ascending track through pine forest, passing a large turquoise reservoir before arriving at another lake. Another astounding walk in Spain. Nearly 4 hours and 7.5 miles. We were only half way as we needed to go back the way we came, but we really didn’t mind doing it all again.

The trek back down was just as good. We had more excitement in the tunnel; Lisa jumped at one point when she discovered a man hiding just in front of us. He said he thought we might be frightened if we suddenly spotted him – no shit – and so he’d decided not to shine a torch, but to lurk in the dark hoping to go unnoticed. Seeing as the tunnel was about 6 feet wide this was nigh on impossible and the end result was Lisa almost pooped herself especially when he introduced himself as Dr Jekyll.

We were also confused to find the large waterfalls missing on the way back, and figured water had been diverted for irrigation or for the hydro-electric station. We did momentarily wonder if somebody had turned the tap off. Perhaps us fiddling with the wheel for the sluice gates at the reservoir or maybe it was the scary man in the tunnel?

Finally on the last stretch we saw a lizard, which whilst we’d seen many before this one wasn’t camera-shy and hung around for quite sometime for his 5 minutes of fame on the internet!

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This guy ain’t photo shy!

The walk almost over, we once again bumped into the man from the tunnel. This time he was ahead of us; how he manged that we don’t know. Once back where we’d left the bikes, and after letting our new friend ramble on for a bit longer we got on to our bikes for the final 4.5 miles home. Thank God there was a tail wind and we’d prepared dinner the day before.

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Almost back where we started, Rio Barosa

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