Atalaya, Cieza 

Hard to believe that almost exactly a year ago we were fleeing the Costa Blanca as howling winds and snow storms swept in! This year we’ve been consistently basking in high teens and cloudless skies, but  we’re moving on for a change of scene – the El Campello campsite we’ve been on is well located for the crags but lacks any charm, so we’re back on the road for some “real” Spain in the Andalusian hinterland. 

We stopped off on the way at the crag of Atalaya near the pretty town of Cieza, just north of Murcia. There’s another ancient hill-top castle here, alongside a lovely church and some climbing in a glorious  spot high above the town. 

We started on the sunny roadside Carretera sector and did the two longest routes, a 5+ and a 6a – attractive spot but so-so climbing. 

Then headed into the shade of the Castillo sector immediately beneath the castle. This was far more interesting climbing – the excellent El Puta Esquina, 6a+, takes the steep arête on the right side of the main crag…

… and Fin de Los Dias, 7a, a bulging line to the left. A good ‘end to the day’. Here’s a view of the castillo sector from above the town – still shady at 5ish, it’s a good hot weather option. 

An hour or so down the road, we spend the night beneath the Sierra d’Espuna, enjoying the magnificent sunset… 

… and a beer from our rooftop terrace (a.k.a.  luggage rack). Cheers! 

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