Autumn overlanding in rural Spain can be a bit hit and miss [and even dangerous] when it comes to driving through the mountains and woodland, here’s why:
Hunting, there are various hunting seasons in Spain, in Autumn/Winter it usually runs from early October through until February of the following year. During this time you can hear the shots ringing out from the mountains. Sunday’s are the most popular hunting day but Saturday’s can also be busy.
In our village, the hunters gather in the morning and spend time in the bars first before heading off to the ‘hunt’, 4×4’s are parked all over the place with trailers attached full of dogs, dogs you would not want to get on the wrong side of either.
I have my thoughts on Spanish hunting, none of which I will express here in this post but let’s just say that I don’t see the point of it. [You may want to check out this post from the Andalucian Bird Society just to offer an indication of what can and does go on.]
Avoiding the Danger
If you live in rural Spain then you will know about the hunting season not that information is very forthcoming. If you are overlanding or simply taking a drive through the mountains as a tourist then you may not be aware of the hunting season at all until you see a sign like this: [see all rural signs and their meanings]
This does not mean your plans are scuppered but you do need to be aware that hunting is taking place – stick to the road if you want to continue. Many years ago back in 2005 a year after we arrived in Spain we were driving towards woodland to collect pine for the fire where we came across a group of people.
One morning we approached the wood down the usual farm track and met two local shooters with a few crossbred dogs running around. It was very misty and we decided to ask if they were on a shoot, they said no but advised us not to go into the wood as there were “crazy people” with shotguns….at this point we heard shots ringing out and decided the wood would wait.Cave Living Andalucia  our first blog!
We stopped and asked what was going and they explained that there were crazy people in the woods and it would be a bad idea to go any further. This was a wood with a single track, well maintained road through it and we were still advised not to go, we duly turned around and went home, the risk of getting shot with a toddler in the car simply was not worth it.
If the signs are there then it’s a case of continue at your own risk.
The Last Wood Collection
So mid October was our last wood haul for 2022 [at least at the weekends], there are some weekdays when we can still go to our place where there is still storm damaged pine but in all honesty with a decent surplus for the coming winter it’s best left until next year as dodging hunters is not my idea of fun.
What this does is free up the Shogun, this year it will go back into overlanding mode as it’s been in ‘workhorse’ mode all summer. The amount of wood available is immense if you can be bothered to drive out and get it, more bad weather in Jan/Feb may see even more storm damage. If it’s a free, natural fuel source then we’re all over it – providing there is no risk of getting shot of course.
Autumn overlanding in rural Spain is an opportunity as the Autumn season never lasts very long in Andalucia. You’re straight out of summer with little warning, the temperatures plunge 15 degrees in a matter of days and the clouds come rolling in.
The weather can be unpredictable but generally it is much more pleasant than the heat of the summer. Sunrise is around 8.00am and it is cold until the sun comes out, by lunchtime the temperatures are in the low 20’s which is far more comfortable than the 40 degree heat of July and August.
Evenings come around quick as it begins to get dark around 7.30pm and even earlier when the clocks go back at the end of October. Temperatures drop again and it’s coat time for being outdoors after the sun has set.
Autumn, similiarly to Springtime is a period during the year when you’re never quite sure what to wear as you need to wrap up mornings and evenings but it’s shorts and t-shirt weather by lunchtime and into the afternoon.
You do have the colours of Autumn but you have to seek them out as most of rural Andalucia is evergreen, before you know it, it’s winter and the fire is on. Autumn, in all reality only lasts 6 weeks or so before the harsh cold and frost of winter arrives.
Overland Gear Changes
Not having the Shogun full of wood every weekend means we can get back to normal overlanding status, a change in the weather also means we can organise spare clothes etc and have a re-jig of what goes in what boxes.
The ‘fire’ box gets filled up because the high risk fire season is over as of October 15th, this means we can boil water for coffee using the Petromax FK2 and grill on the mini barbeque. Clothing is swapped for more winter suitable gear and shorts are ditched until next year, we also organise the roof storage box with waterproofs and hiking boots amongst other things.
The ‘big hoover’ also takes place, all drawers are removed, seats go down, mats out the lot for a comprehensive valet, it’s surprising how much sawdust and bark accumulate in all the nooks and crannies of the interior. Exterior wise it’s a wash and a t-cut to get rid of the summer scratches and a polish ready for winter.
So that is us at around this time of year, the next big job will be prepping for the ITV early next year and I have a new battery on the cards before the weather gets colder, full review and why we chose what we did coming up.