A Big Adventure

SO I’m off to live in Spain. Just thought I’d slip that into the conversation. I’ve been thinking for some time that I need a new challenge – a big challenge. And although I won’t be embarking on a really, really, really big challenge, such as walking the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, my wife and I will very soon be heading for the Sierra Nevada, where I intend to climb mountains and explore new landscapes while she socialises with her many friends and enjoys retirement . . .

This blog is no stranger to the gritty peaks of Spain’s highest mountains. I’ve walked in the Sierra Nevada and neighbouring Sierra Tejeda y Almijara many times over the years, so this is not so much a venture into the unknown as a natural progression. That’s not to say that selling your house and moving abroad at the drop of a sombrero is not a scary prospect. It is.

I will miss the Lakeland peaks, the Pennine hills with their biting winds and open views, and the majestic Highlands. I’ll even miss those dismal days when the mist is down to the treetops and the midges are swarming. I’m equally sure I will be back from time to time, to grasp the opportunity to scale familiar peaks with a renewed fervour.

This blog, Because They’re There, will publish its offerings as normal, so I hope you will continue to visit these pages and leave your witty and informative comments. There will obviously be a Spanish flavour to many of the forthcoming posts, but the Days Like This series will continue once my slide collection has been delivered by mule to my new mountain residence (wherever that may be).

I have also set up a new blog, Awkward Roads, which is a sort of snap-shot diary of a middle-aged man and his wife and cats driving off into the sunset in a VW campervan to a place just south of Granada. It’s a sort of pilgrim’s progress only without the knowledge of sin.

Talking about pilgrims, I rather fancy the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, actually – following in the footsteps of the righteous and Martin Sheen and all that. I’d like to have a crack at it one day. I might have to sin a bit first, mind.

So that’s the immediate plan. We set off to Spain later this week. This blog will be quiet for a few days, but Awkward Roads will be running as and when I can hook up to the internet.

Don’t desert me, because we’ve had a good time over the years and I value your input and friendship. Take a look at Awkward Roads. There’s only one short post up there at the moment, but there will be more to follow shortly.

Hasta pronto.

lucero-5

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About McFadzean

Alen McFadzean, journalist, formerly of the Northern Echo, in Darlington, and the North-West Evening Mail, Barrow. Former shipyard electrician. Former quarryman and tunneller. Climbs mountains and runs long distances to make life harder. Gravitates to the left in politics just to make life harder still. Now lives in Orgiva, Spain.
This entry was posted in Climbing, Environment, Hiking, Life, Mountains, Walking and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

70 Responses to A Big Adventure

  1. After everything’s that happened I don’t blame you for getting out of this country, in spite of its rain and midges. In fact, had I known in advance you were going I would have stowed away in one of your freezer bags.

    I’ll look forward to you finding old Spanish mine workings, Spanish railway carriages and the occasional tin of Frayos Bentosas. And when you’re at the summits of the Sierre Nevadas, look north west, hear the gnashing of teeth and take pity on the wretches such as us who failed to escape this Sceptred Isle.

    Chris

    ps Aren’t the Sierre Nevadas in America. You sure you’re going the right way?

    Like

    • McEff says:

      Hi Chris. Thanks for cheering me up and relieving some of the stress of moving house. If I can find a shop that sells Frayos Bentosas then I really will have struck it rich. And I note, from a quick search on the internet, that Sierra Nevada Beer is produced in California, so you might be right. I’m going the wrong way.
      All the best, Alen

      Like

  2. Stewart Brady says:

    All the very best for your new life. I doubt the sunshine will be too tiresome.

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  3. annebenson42 says:

    Have a great time. we’ll miss you.

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  4. Alastair Lings says:

    Good luck. I look forward to reading more of your adventures.

    Like

  5. Dave B says:

    Alen, good luck, safe journey and arrival, all the other pleasantries appropriate at a time like this. Here’s me thinking I was being a bit edgy moving from Blogger to WordPress. I don’t know; you young people!

    On top of all the other reasons to envy you, they have the best bloody football over there. You’re both right about the Sierras Nevadas, by the way: there’s one in the USA, near to Yosemite, and you’ll have your very own on your doorstep in Spain.

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    • McEff says:

      Hi Dave. Thanks for calling me a young person. You get the prize for best comment of the day.
      Yes, football, fine wine, good food and refreshing beer. I’ve taken all this into account. Priorities and all that.
      Cheers, Alen

      Like

  6. Jill says:

    Hasta la vista, baby. x

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  7. David says:

    A new adventure starts buddy, I surely check out your VW Van Pilgrimage 😉
    And ofc continue reading your adventures.
    Hasta luego Hombre 😉

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  8. David says:

    What a brilliant adventure to embark upon. Looking forward to reading about your adventures as well. All the best, David

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    • McEff says:

      Thanks for that, David. Might get to see you when you’re on one of your European jaunts. I’m hoping it will be a bit warmer and drier than Teesdale!
      Cheers, Alen

      Like

  9. JonJo says:

    Best wishes Alen. Looking forward to reading your new blog. It was reading these pages that made me want to visit the Sierra Nevada, which will be happening this September. Look out for a cyclist grinding agonisingly slowly uphill with his tongue clattering in the spokes of his front wheel. Buy him a beer; he’s sure to get you one back.

    Like

    • McEff says:

      Hey JonJo. If you pass a bearded chap, as equally knackered, on a red Youngs’ roadbike, that will be me.
      Hope you have a great time. You must let me know where you’re heading for and I’ll buy you that beer.
      All the best, Alen

      Like

  10. Hanna says:

    Congratulations on the big decision, Alen. Now you can see if you can find English wagons on steep hillsides in the Spanish countryside. It wouldn’t surprise me 🙂 …and copper mining operation smacks of course also a bit of fish
    I hope the cats have agree on the new hunting grounds or you may have your new flag swaying in the wind in strips. I don’t think the locals will agree on that development.
    Seriously I wish you the very best with your new adventure.
    I’m looking forward to the new post!!!
    Hanna

    Like

    • McEff says:

      Hiya Hanna. It’s good to hear from you. Yes, there are plenty of things to do once we get there – plenty of hills to climb, mines to poke about in, and I dare say railway wagons to find in strange places.
      I’m still in the very stressful phase at the moment, but once we get under way on the long drive south (planned for Thursday) I’m hoping things will get more relaxing. Keep in touch.
      All the best, Alen

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Ash says:

    Good luck to the two of you! Keep writing!

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  12. rthepotter says:

    Safe journey, will watch the progress with interest.

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  13. Alen, truly wonderful. Spain is my favourite country in the world (more or less), and you’ve just achieved one of my great ambitions. I look forward to reading more about your adventures – although I saw they’re forecasting 43 degrees in the south this week so maybe not too much climbing just yet! Best of luck, Paul

    Like

    • McEff says:

      Hi Paul. Spain is a beautiful country, and the great thing is my wife and I are familiar only with the mountains of Andalucia – and Madrid and Barcelona. So there is so much more to explore.
      Mind you, 43 degrees is a bit on the hot side. Last time we were there I was wilting at 33.
      Cheers, Alen

      Like

  14. Greg says:

    Absolutely brilliant Alen. Very brave,but a great change to lift the spirits. Look forwards to hearing about your adventures. All the best. No Steady Eddys there mind.

    Like

    • McEff says:

      Hi Greg. Good to hear from you. Thanks for giving me a laugh. I bet there are Steady Eddys and I’m going to do my damndest to photograph one just for you!
      All the best, Alen

      Like

  15. scott says:

    Good on you! All the very best in your new chapter, Alen.

    Like

  16. mbc1955 says:

    Make the most of it, Alen, and get stuck in to those fancy Spanish mountains. I’m trying to rise above the instinctive reaction of ‘You Lucky Sod!’ but seriously, I hope you both have the times of your lives.

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  17. alan.sloman says:

    All the very best of luck with the new life, Sir.
    🙂

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  18. Rowena says:

    I’ve done a bit of walking in the Sierra Nevada – it is lovely and very underrated. Best of luck with your move.

    Like

  19. OM says:

    Moving to Spain ? I hadn’t heard that there had been a major bank robbery in the North East.
    The only Spanish word I know is Venceremos. Dunno if it’s appropriate here, but good luck anyway

    Like

    • McEff says:

      Hi OM. Good of you to drop by. Venceremos sounds like it’s from the same stable as No Pasaran. I might have to sign up to the British Battalion.
      Cheers now, Alen

      Like

  20. andywham says:

    Integral de los Tres Mill Metros… 😉

    Like

  21. offmotorway says:

    Wow, sounds fantastic. Good luck!

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  22. Fantastic! Good luck. I am sure you will cope admirably – I don’t know you personally (my loss) but you appear to be made of stern stuff. And of course I will continue to follow you and look forward to your posts. And of course I am following your new blog too!

    Like

  23. Well done you for taking the plunge. I’m really starting to believe that, apart from the hills and scenery, Britain has nothing to offer any more but I’m not sure I’m brave enough to make the move I’ll certainly be taking a look at your new blog and I’m sure I’ll be following it to see what it’s really like to move abroad. Good luck!
    Carol.

    Like

    • McEff says:

      Hi Carol. Thanks for that. I must admit that Anne is the driving force behind this adventure, so I’m not really all that brave. My first choice of a new place to live was the Highlands, but that got vetoed circa 2006. Spain is very like the Highlands, only without the rain and midges, so I suppose it will be good enough.
      All the best, Alen

      Like

  24. Steve Bibby says:

    All the very best, Alen. Will watch and read with continued interest, curiosity and no little admiration.

    Cheers

    Steve

    Like

  25. All sounds very exciting, hope it’s everything you wish for 🙂

    Like

  26. zena b says:

    you there yet?

    Like

  27. Jonathan Wignall says:

    Well done,the pair of you! I’m just sorry that it’s thinning the ranks over here, but that’s selfish of me. I must find you some locations where the Furness iron ore men went prospecting, but my
    knowledge of Spanish geography is scanty,and it looks like a biggish place on my school atlas.
    May your endeavours be crowned with success!
    Jonathan W.

    Like

    • McEff says:

      Hi Jonathan. Thanks very much for that. Sorry we’ll miss your party this year. If our solicitors had strung things out another three weeks we’d have made it.
      We visited Alquife a few years ago but saw only a small part of it. It’s only a couple of hours’ drive away so a return will be in order. If you can flag up any other places, that would be great.
      All the best, Alen

      Like

  28. Jo Woolf says:

    Hey, Alen – so it’s all happening! Well done! I wish you and Anne every happiness, and I hope that your little pusscats will settle down happily too. What huge potential you will have for walking and exploring! I do like the concept of using an upcoming pilgrimage as an excuse to up your sinning levels – that makes me wonder if they used to try to fit it all in before a trip, in medieval times that is. Hoping that the sun shines on you, literally and metaphorically, and I’m looking forward to following your new blog! 🙂

    Like

    • McEff says:

      Hi Jo, I like the idea of upping the sinning levels before a pilgrimage. I’m sure it went on in the old days, so there’s no reason why it shouldn’t happen now. I shall plan ahead for that one.
      Thanks, and all the best, Alen

      Liked by 1 person

  29. Pingback: Clouds Drifting | HANNA'S WALK

  30. Found this post on a general catch up of the blogs that I follow (been pretty abysmal at reading and posting since we moved house earlier in the year). Wow and good for you.
    If you look at my blog you will see we have a strong resonance with Spain and all things Spanish. We have done bits of walking in the Picos, Pyrenees and Andalucia but haven’t climbed any of the heights. Even lower level walking is gratifying and gets you to some quite areas. The Sierra Nevada are quite something and as you say, the autumn weather will be great. Enjoy!!
    However, our favourite area is the Picos de Europa and the Cordillera de Cantabria. The Valle de Liebana (main town Potes) is like a second home to us, right on the border of Cantabria and Asturias. Mountains inland and stunning coast to the north. This proximity of mountains and beaches is what we have been looking for as we have searched for a change in life ……. so we moved to the north east of England …… the Cheviots, coast and castles. Very much like Spain, just a bit cooler!!
    Enjoy your new life and I look forward to reading some more of the Spanish tales.
    Buen suerte!
    John

    Like

    • McEff says:

      Hi John. Thanks for that, I have just signed up to your blog and will take a good look at it.
      We visited the Picos de Europa several years ago, but I didn’t get chance to do any serious walking because the weather was not good. The other areas you mention (excluding the Pyrenees) are new to me – so I will pay particular interest to those. I’m always looking for new areas to explore.
      The Cheviots is a fine area. A little damper underfoot than Andalucia, I expect.
      All the best, Alen

      Like

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