Kew Gardens Field Trip – First Walk

Walking up the rambla

Walking up the rambla

This morning, we joined the botanists from Kew Gardens on their walk up the rambla that leads from Las Negras to Las Hortichuelas. We showed them this walk on their first visit in 1987 and it has been one of the highlights of their annual field trip ever since.

Students from Kew botanising

Students from Kew botanising

Today has been sunny but with a fresh wind. Ideal conditions for walking and botanising.
The recent rain has freshened up the countryside and the professors remarked that the flora this year is better than ever.

Broomrape

Broomrape

There was so much for them to look at that progress was slow. Here is a beautiful example of one of the more common broomrapes.

Lavandula stoechas

Lavandula stoechas

This lavender is unusual as it is pink rather than dark purple.

Up the narrow ravine

Up the narrow ravine

At this point, the rambla becomes a narrow ravine and it was the first time we have seen water trickling down it like a mountain stream.

Orobanche foetida

Orobanche foetida

Here is wonderful specimen of another broomrape, Orobanche foetida.

Up the rocky hillside

Up the rocky hillside

We ascended the rocky hillside above the rambla.

Gladiolus

Gladiolus

Pink wild Gladioli are flowering here.

Fern in the rocks

Fern in the rocks

Here we discovered, for the first time, some tiny ferns. This is one of them, growing in a fissure surrounded by orange lichen.

A picnic break

A picnic break

We stopped for lunch on the rocky hillside.

Caralluma europea

Caralluma europea

Hidden in a crack in a nearby rock is a botanic rarity, the Caralluma europea, a speciality of the Cabo de Gata. The curious flowers are very striking.

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A change in the weather

Las Negras this morning

Las Negras this morning

After a glorious Semana Santa when our visitors were basking on the beach, walking our coastal paths and enjoying the laid back atmosphere of Las Negras, gales have pounded southern Spain this week.

Looking out to sea

Looking out to sea

The sea has been wild, the temperature has tumbled and the beaches are empty. We hope you like these dramatic photos taken at Las Negras this morning.

The far end of Las Negras beach

The far end of Las Negras beach

As always the sun has made an effort to come out and lit these photos. We are promissed that normal weather will return for the weekend when Las Negras will be hosting its annual, 11 day visit from the botanists of Kew Gardens for the 27th time.

If you click on the images they will enlarge.

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El Viernes Santo en Las Negras

Colourful countryside

Colourful countryside

Las Negras has been extremely busy this Semana Santa and the weather, although not as clear and hot as at the beginning of the week, has been warm and sunny enough to please our visitors. Yesterday morning we walked to San Pedro and back with a couple of friends who were staying with us. The mountains are still looking fresh and green and the wild flowers add splahes of vivid colour. This photo, taken from the path to San Pedro, shows a patch of poppies and Bermuda buttercups behind an old stone wall.

Las braces, beach and horses

Las braces, beach and horses

We returned to Las Negras for a tapas lunch and afterwards strolled around the village. The fish restaurants on the front were doing great trade. This photo shows the restaurant Las Barcas and a group of horses on the beach below.

Horses on the beach

Horses on the beach

We have not seen these horses here before so naturally went and spoke to them.

Craft stalls and Bar Cerro Negro

Craft stalls and Bar Cerro Negro

Between the bars hippy traders had set up art and craft stalls. Here are a few of them alongside Bar Cerro Negro.

Brilliant parasols

Brilliant parasols

We thought this stall with its colourful parasols very eye catching.

On the sea wall

On the sea wall

The owners were equally interesting. Here is a photo of them sitting on the sea wall opposite their stall. I published another photo of them and their wares on https://coloursofspain.wordpress.com/2015/04/03/trading-in-las-negras-on-good-friday/ Click on the link to have a look and if you click on the photos in our blogs they will enlarge.

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The Arrival of Summer?

The cove at the end of Las Negras beach

The cove at the end of Las Negras beach

The weather this March has been very changeable. There have been warm, sunny days but we have also had cooler and windy days plus a fair amount of rain. This weekend the weather has settled and we are promised fair weather through Easter. On Friday morning I went to the end of las Negras beach and cleared the cove there of rubbish, filling a sack with all the plastic that had been washed up in the recent storms. Not our job but the council will not do it. Here is a photo I took after.

Off las Negtas beach

Off las Negras beach

Yesterday was another glorious day. Here are a couple of photos I took early morning at Las Negras.

Landing at Las Negras

Landing at Las Negras

It was good to see activity on the sea and the water taxis to San Pedro prepared for visitors again.

Olive trees and ruins above Las Negras

Olive trees and ruins above Las Negras

Today was even warmer with the temperature in the high twenties. We walked over the mountains to el Valle de Rodalquilar.

El Valle de Rodalquilar

El Valle de Rodalquilar

The light was brilliant and the countryside looked so fresh after the recent rain.

El Playazo

El Playazo

Cove beaneath Bateria de San Ramon

Cove beaneath Bateria de San Ramon

Down at El Playazo and the beach beneath the Bateria de San Ramon visitors were enjoying the beach and the sea.

Walkers along the coast

Walkers along the coast

We walked back to Las Negras along the coastal path encountering many other wakers along the way.

Cala del Cuervo with Las Negras behind

Cala del Cuervo with Las Negras behind

The photo above is of Cala del Cuervo, the last cove before Las Negras.

looking towards San Pedro

looking towards San Pedro

This photo was taken from the cliffs above Las Negras looking towards Cala de San Pedro.

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Sarcocapnos enneaphylla

sarcoc

Sarcocapnos enneaphylla

This very rare plant, which grows in shaded cracks and crevices of rocks, is one of the loveliest of spring flowers. This example was photographed yesterday afternoon on the cliffside between Las Negras and El Cuervo.

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Partial eclipse at Las Negras this morning

Partial eclipse of the sun

Partial eclipse of the sun

We are experiencing some unusually wet and windy weather in Almeria at the moment. Two things in its favour though. Firstly it will keep the countryside fresh for the annual visit from the botanists of Kew gardens just after Easter. Secondly, the cloud cover made it easy to take some dramatic photographs of this morning’s partial eclipse of the sun.

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Down on the Farm

Manuel picking habas (broad beans)

Manuel picking habas (broad beans)

Returning from our morning walk we stopped at the finca of the Garcia family at the edge of Las Negras beneath the San Pedro cliff path to buy some fresh vegetables.

Washing the spring onions at the water deposit

Washing the spring onions at the water deposit

Manuel, the owner, picked us some broad beans, spring onions and a lettuce. Beautiful, fresh organic produce.

Spring onions, lettuce and potatoes

Spring onions, lettuce and potatoes

The next crop will be potatoes.

Three donkeys

Three donkeys

While we were waiting  for Manuel to pick our order we spoke to the two donkeys and the foal, Canario.

Chickens

Chickens

They also keep chickens so you can buy eggs here too. This is one of the few remaining, traditional farms in the area.

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