The drying of hams in the wonderful mountain air is one powerful economic reason that may stop this happening. Another is the increasing number of outdoor types who hike the trails and ride on the mule tracks. Back on the upward climb we passed a house whose garden was full of vegetables, sunflowers, and fruit trees. There was no road to be seen and the only trail was the one we were on. At the edge of the village an English family were discussing, in their terraced garden, how to ensure they get a good crop of beans. We still said ‘Ola’ to them. After downing a refreshing beer – plus more tapas – at one of the two bars in the village, we did some more shopping for nuts and pure chocolate at the village store and then headed downhill back to Bubion.

From Bubion an ascent of Mulhacen, mainland Spain’s highest point at 3,482 metres, can be undertaken. The peak is named after Muljey-Hacen, Granada’s penultimate caliph who according to legend was buried in a glacier on the top of the mountain. Don’t be put off by the height as a National Park bus, starting from Capileira, will do a lot of the hard work, dropping passengers off at around 2,700 metres, leaving only 782 metres to the top. Visitors should book their tickets in advance, especially for the return journey as it’s not a good idea to be stuck up there at around 5:30pm, although there is a refuge with 60 beds in a nearby valley. As the bus travels through the holm oak and pine forests the onboard park ranger shows the passengers all the animals and birds that reside on the slopes of Mulhacen. Ibexes and eagles can be seen on a daily basis; vultures, foxes, and genets are rarer sightings.

Continued the same time tomorrow