A walk through a cork oak forest

Laura and I decided to go for a walk yesterday. She had recently been in this area and I said I would like to see the freshly harvested cork oak trees as I had never seen them. We met up in Orgiva, drove into the Contraviesa and parked at the restaurant of Haza del Lino. It was a beautiful autumn day, just perfect for walking, not too hot, not too cold, no wind and nobody else around.

Wonderful colours on the trunks of the trees after the recent harvest.

Wonderful colours on the trunks of the trees after the recent harvest.

We walked up through the cork oak forest, stopping to take lots of photos along the way. Cork oaks are the only tree that can have their bark harvested without killing the tree. According to some reports I have read, this is the highest cork oak forest in Spain.

Eventually we arrived at the top, close to a fire look out point, to stunning views of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Las Alpujarras and, when you turned around, views of the Mediterranean sea. I attempted to have a conversation with the man who was manning the fire look out, I swear he was not speaking back to me in Spanish haha.

The view from the fire look out . The Sierra Nevada mountains with the left over of the recent snows and some of the villages in the Alpujarra.

The view from the fire look out . The Sierra Nevada mountains with the left over of the recent snows and some of the villages in the Alpujarra.

Mulhacen, the highest peak in mainland Spain

Mulhacen, the highest peak in mainland Spain

Veleta, (the pointy peak) 2nd highest mountain in the Sierra Nevada and other peaks and ridges

Veleta, (the pointy peak) 2nd highest mountain in the Sierra Nevada and other peaks and ridges

More photos were taken up there, before we turned around and made our way back through the forest collecting discarded cork along the way. I shall use my cork to float in the pool so when small critters fall in they can at least get out of the water until I fish them out for good.

The Mediterranean Sea with the cloud creeping in from the coast.

The Mediterranean Sea with the cloud creeping in from the coast.

Incredible colours

Incredible colours

More cork oaks

More cork oaks

Arriving back to the road there is a big old ruin and a fantastic old tree that screams at you to take their photos, so we obliged. The cloud had crept up from the coast and made a great back drop for the tree.

The tree that screamed to have it's picture taken.

The tree that screamed to have it’s picture taken.

While taking photos I noticed two big birds in the sky, just silhouettes because they were in the cloud, making it difficult to identify them. They were making a lot of noise and we noticed a 3rd bird that was attacking the two. Once they moved into the clear blue sky I could see they were a pair of Golden Eagles getting mobbed by a Bonelli’s Eagle. I have been lucky to witness this once before, many years ago, but it still never fails to excite me seeing these big birds of prey, but seeing these birds interact in this way, well that’s just super special! What a great way to end the day.

A pair of Golden Eagles

A pair of Golden Eagles

Bonelli's Eagle

Bonelli’s Eagle

Bonelli's Eagle chasing Golden Eagle

Bonelli’s Eagle chasing Golden Eagle

Golden Eagle

Golden Eagle

Golden Eagle and Bonelli's Eagle after an altercation.

Golden Eagle and Bonelli’s Eagle after an altercation.

A little information about cork :- It takes two years of studying this special art before the students are allowed to touch a tree and get harvesting. The trees are harvested every nine years to allow the bark to regenerate and can only be harvested between June 15th and August 15th. Spain is now the worlds biggest producer of cork. Cork is fascinating, seriously, do a little research and you will be amazed at how big an industry cork is and it’s not just used to top wine bottles. I have a new respect for the cork in a wine bottle now, not only from seeing how it comes about, but also how ecological friendly it is compared to the synthetic corks and screw tops we are getting used to seeing.
More interesting facts can be found here Andalucia.com
A short video about cork Birth of the Cork

Cork Oak

This entry was posted in Trip reports.

4 Comments

  1. The Ao4 25th October 2017 at 3:45 pm #

    Wow, what stunning views! Well worth the hike to get up there, I’d say! I’m still fascinated with the cork oaks!
    AND EAGLES!!!!!!!
    I love the old tree with the cloudy/foggy background!
    What a day you had!!!
    KZK

  2. Linda martin 26th October 2017 at 12:43 pm #

    Lovely article nice read and amazing photos. The cork trees look fantastic with all the colours etc.

  3. carol 26th October 2017 at 6:54 pm #

    Lovely post, love that stretch of the Contraviesa, the lavender there in Spring is fabulous too.

  4. Peter Roberts 27th October 2017 at 9:11 am #

    Great story. Was by there during first fall of snow this Autumn. Am very interested in the wild life which is tolally dependent on these forests. Very interesting. Thanks.

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