Tag Archives: Zahara

October Wild Swimming


The Sierra de Cadiz is a veritable lake district. This, at the foot of Zahara, is an embalse, a manmade lake, but – aside from the dam at one end and some trees sticking up at the shoreline – you wouldn’t know it; it’s wild and natural, with just two jetties but plenty of natural beaches along its 30km circumference.

We’re having an Indian summer – or a membrillo (quince) summer as it’s known here. I’ve been the only person in the lake in August, and today – almost November – when I stopped for a swim on the way back from shopping for jamon, cucumbers, and milk, I unsurprisingly had it all to myself again as I swam out and floated on my back enjoying the view of olive fields and beauteous Zahara. The temperature today was around 28, and the water is about as warm as it’s going to be this year.

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Cadiz Countryside

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Most tourists visiting Sierra de Grazalema head higher up into the mountains. Spectacular, but I like it down here in the lush, rolling, pantano.
Winter in rural Cádiz is not a hardship, but we are now being rewarded for two months, two week of keen, cold nights, and about two weeks – all told – of rain or sodden morose skies. This is how it looked around these parts in early April: the too bright brilliant, green coming through. Sparkling – and already loud with the bleating and bells of sheep and goats.
I am compiling a gallery of Favourite Hills, and one pictured, on the road from Zahara to Prado del Rey, is a contender. Why is the tree foliage parallel with the steep incline of the hill? I don’t know.

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