Ernest Bevin College 2017

Kunj Patel and Shezoo Rahman

La escapada espanola’

We initially aimed to hike for 7 days and camp for 6 nights in the La Pedriza region of Madrid. To achieve this we mainly packed food and clothes in an attempt to carry as little weight as possible but also meet the baggage restrictions set by the airline we were travelling with. We were to complete 90km of hiking with inclines of more than 2000 feet within these 7 days and aim to camp, either at a campsite or in the wild, for each of the nights.

The first problem we faced was the fact that one of our members was forced to back out at the last minute, leaving only two of us. Despite this, we were raring to go and we’re very excited. However, once we reached the airport, we were told that check-in baggage was not included and had to pay £70 to check in both our hiking bags!
When we reached Madrid, it was evident that there was a heatwave as local temperatures exceeded 35 degrees Celsius, making it a challenge to simply get to the bus station in Madrid. Once we got to our campsite for the first night it was calm and we were ready for the next week of hiking. However, we realised that the ground was too hard for our tent pegs and for the next few nights we simply slept in the sleeping bags rather than in the tent, which was completely fine as temperatures were high even at night. Our final problem arose on the lasts few days where the weather took a bad turn, and we were met with stormy conditions which forced us to stay at a local hostel from Monday to Wednesday!

Despite the many plot twists that we encountered my partner and I can both agree that it was truly an experience. Whether this be the fact that we were in charge of our own decisions and got to see some truly stunning natural views or simply the fact that we were even given the opportunity for such an encounter. Although there are things that we would do better if we got the chance to do a similar thing again, such as plan for rainy conditions or pack a mallet/rock penetrating pegs, we still did what we can with what we had.