2017 Weekly photo challenge (week 45) Walk

(Edit: whoops – I seem to have published this out of sync! It’s only Week 41!!! Week 41 & 42 will come next week)

Worthington Lakes, near Wigan, Lancashire
I do like a good walk. If you are a regular visitor to the blog, you will probably know that my favourite kind of walk, is the green woodland variety. However, here in Gibraltar, green woodland is a bit thin on the ground, so the Med Steps are my walk of choice mostly over here.
Med Steps, Gibraltar
This is the blog post I wrote about our lovely woodland walk around Worthington Lakes near Wigan, which features in the top photo.

I have written many posts about my walks, in fact I have a whole series of posts on my ‘Strolls around Gibraltar’. In June 2016, I took a walk up the Med Steps and got to see it looking completely different as I climbed up through the cloud / mist, you can read about it here.

I’m linking with Nana Cathy and Wild Daffodil for this weekly photo challenge throughout 2017.

The Med Steps: a sunny autumn walk

IMG_0078

It’s been a good few months since my trainers saw the light of day and my lax attitude to exercise has resulted in a few extra pounds being gained, so I decided that today was the day I’d set about doing something to rectify the situation. After a few grey and damp starts lately, we woke up to a beautiful day and there’s nothing like a bit of sunshine to lift the spirits and get you moving. This morning, once the rest of the family was ensconced in work and school I headed off on a walk up our lovely Rock of Gibraltar. There are a number of ways to travel to the top (most people opt for car, taxi, bus and cable car) but on two feet you can head up several different routes using paths, roads and steps. My favourite, and definitely the most scenic route I’ve tried, is the footpath known as the ‘Med Steps’. It’s a bit of a misleading name as it isn’t just made up of steps, although there are many, much of the route is over rough ground and rocky paths.

IMG_0027

The start of the route is close to Jews Gate at the entrance to the Upper Rock Nature Reserve where a rather unassuming shady wooded path leads upwards and south around the edge of the Rock. This (apart from the summit) is my favourite part of the walk as it feels so cool and secluded there and you could almost be on a woodland walk in the British Isles (I do still get homesick sometimes). As you continue, you come out of the trees and you’re greeted by this fab view –  the Straits of Gibraltar in all it’s glory with Morocco in the distance. See I told you it was a beautiful morning!

IMG_0030

The temperature rose dramatically once I reached the eastern side of the Rock, the sun was belting down and it’s light was reflected off the Mediterranean below. Perhaps I should have waited to clear the breakfast things and make the beds after the walk rather than before, I don’t think I’ll leave it so late in future to set off on such a trip!

IMG_0033

One of the slightly disheartening things about this route, is that a little way into the walk, once you have climbed to quite a height, you are faced with some downward steps. The thing is, you know that you need to climb to the very top of the Rock, so it seems such a shame to be heading downhill at this point knowing you’ll have to regain the height a little bit further along.

IMG_0037

Quick stop for a sip of water and to take in the view…

IMG_0035

There are plenty of things to see when you are on this walk, there are even caves to explore. Well they don’t got very far back, but a cave’s a cave isn’t it?

IMG_0041

Onwards and upwards, these steps look very steep from down here don’t they?

IMG_0045

One big highlight for me this late morning was this short tunnel, I was beginning to regret setting off just before 11am by this point and my water bottle was already nearly half empty, knowing I had a good bit further to walk, I took sanctuary for a few moments in the gorgeous, cool shade of this tunnel. Thank you, who ever built it, it was most welcome today!

IMG_0046

IMG_0047

IMG_0048

It’s the military who we have to thank for creating this lovely footpath. Much of it is cut out of the side of the Rock itself and dotted along the route are a few little plaques like this one reminding us of it’s history.

IMG_0053

Another reminder of days gone by and the Rock’s role as a fortress are the various military look out points built along the side of the path.

IMG_0049 IMG_0050

Isn’t this a stunning view (below)? From this part of the walk, you are facing north and can see the beaches along Gibraltar’s eastern side (Sandy Bay in the forground, Catalan Bay and Eastern Beach), beyond these you can see Spain and the Costa del Sol stretching out into the distance.

IMG_0051

I saw a bit of wildlife on my walk, bugs, birds and a good few lizards making the most of the warm sunshine. All bar one were too fast for me to photograph, but I caught a snap of this little chap before he skittered away into the cover of the plants.

IMG_0055

More steps…

IMG_0059

Nearly there, I’ve just climbed up all of those!

IMG_0064

The final push.

IMG_0065

Made it!

IMG_0066

Now for the descent. With the road underfoot, it’s a lot less arduous on this side of the Rock which is just as well, as the views of the town below can sometimes be a bit of a distraction. No accidents allowed!

IMG_0068 IMG_0070

On the descent, I passed through the tourist hotspot of St Michael’s Cave, there were literally dozens of taxis and tour buses parked there bringing tourists up the Rock to take in the view and of course pay a visit to Gibraltar’s most famous, hairy inhabitants.

IMG_0077 IMG_0076

As you can see the apes obliged and came out in in large numbers to greet their visitors.

IMG_0074 IMG_0075

It’s on mornings like today I feel very lucky to be living in such an interesting and beautiful place as Gibraltar. Less than an hour’s walk from my front door and I’m up the Rock and in amongst the wildlife. As you have seen, the views from the top and on the way up and down are amazing. Add to that the gorgeous weather we have had today – hotter than an English summer’s day I reckon, and it’s easy to get over the twinges of homesickness I get from time to time.

Thank you for stopping by, I do hope you have enjoyed this little walk with me from the comfort of your armchair or wherever in the world you may be!

A sunset walk

 
I think I may be on the cusp of a mid-life crisis… I have an over riding desire to get fit – something which has never really troubled me before! About six months ago I bought myself a step counter and found myself going the long way round where I would previously take a short cut, in order to boost my daily step count. Recently, however my step obsession has shifted up a gear. My husband bought me a present, a fancier gizmo which measures my heart rate, stairs I’ve climbed and distance I’ve walked/stumbled/run as well as how many steps I’ve taken during the day. 

Last week was a dismal one for the Postcard household, a very nasty bug took us all down one-by-one. I spent most of the last seven days either feeling unwell or caring for others who were feeling under the weather. As a consequence my step totals for the week have been equally dismal despite the many trips out to the back patio to hang out countless loads of washing and vigorous floor mopping as I fought valiantly to rid the place of germs.

This evening despite the fact we are now all back in rude health and I have left the house several times today, for some reason I only had 6,000 steps out of my target of 10,000 by 9pm. I took myself out for a bit of a walk this evening once the younger members of the family were safely tucked up in bed. Off I headed on a quest to get my daily step count up and have a mosey around the neighbourhood. 

  

It was lovely and peaceful and cool-ish (we’re in the grips of a bit of a heatwave in Gibraltar – or perhaps it’s just the summer!). I did hope to get a few nice photos but the light was fading fast. This bougainvillea was positively glowing in the soft evening light. Unfortunately my phone camera didn’t quite get that effect, but it’s still lovely.

 
Despite living in Gibraltar for several years and the fact it’s so small, there are still new places I’m discovering. Today I went up flights of steps and alley ways I’ve never noticed before and saw beautiful old buildings which I’d previously passed many times without taking the time to look up and study them. Any photos I took aren’t worth posting as the light was so bad, but I have promised myself I’ll retrace my steps in daylight and try to capture some of the lovely features I saw tonight. 

In just half an hour, the light had gone and it was time to head home. 

  
That’s it for today, time to retire safe in the knowledge I’ve hit my 10,000 step target! Night night.