The Sierra de Guadarrama National Park

‘Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world’ John Muir

 

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Climbing the mountain (but as we started at 1200m we only had to hike  up 400m – Amazing!)

When we left Glasgow 4 weeks ago, a Spanish neighbour gave us a hand drawn map of interesting mountain ranges and remote areas to visit when we reached Spain. Our plan was to explore some of these areas on the way back from Portugal. We aimed to ‘smash’ across Spain to the West Coast, that is until we realised how huge Spain is and ‘smashing it’ just wasn’t an option! So we dug out David’s map and found an area just North of Madrid he had labelled ‘Beautiful National Park’.

And it was so beautiful we stayed 4 days.

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Watching Vultures soar through the remote valley

The Sierra de Guadarrama National Park was only established in 2013 and is around 340 square km (130 square miles). It is dominated by the Sierra de Guadarrama mountain range with its highest point being ‘Penalara’ at 2,428m (7,966ft). These are the highest mountains I have ever seen.

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We were based at a campsite in the park and walked a lot. But driving over the high passes was a definite highlight, up to 1800 meters (nearly 6000 feet) through snow and forests of Scot’s pine. I could have been in my own National Park back in Scotland.

Only 50km north of Madrid this is a special place. We spotted Eagles and Griffon Vultures, wild boar (sadly road kill) and wild goats. I had read that recently a pack of wolves had been discovered in the park after a 70 year absence, but unfortunately we never heard them. 45% of the total fauna of Spain can be found here, beautiful forests, lakes and mountains. Highly recommend and we will definitely return one day.

[All photos taken on Pentax 35mm film cameras and the film was developed at a wonderful place in Porto].

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