We have a range of alternative activities for you when the weather is not suitable for flying. Those detailed below are at no extra cost and are arranged by ourselves with our own equipment.
We have three rafts and a number of kayaks. The rafts are self bailing and suitable for those without experience of white water. They are paddled like a Canadian canoe with single bladed paddles, for two people, one in front of the other. These are more manoeuvrable than larger rafts and can deal with the more creek style conditions on some of the sections we paddle.
The kayaks are only for those with previous experience in water of grade 3 or more.
We will equip you with wetsuits, helmet, wetsuit boots, life jacket, and splash jacket. If you are an experienced paddler, you might consider bringing your own dry-top.
The river we paddle is the River Tormes: the best white water river in central Spain. The access points are about 25km from Piedrahita. It is the river running down from the Gredos Mountains behind the Peña Negra launch. There are a number of sections that we use, depending upon the water levels of the day. Normally the water is consistent enough during April, May and early June from the snow melt in off the mountains. Occasionally we can take advantage of rains from heavy storms which may bring the river up for a day or so. October and November is also a time when we often get sufficient rainfall, but these times are outside of our season with visitors.
The sections are normally 6km to 12km. Steve will normally be in a kayak leading and helping rescue people and kit that are thrown into the water in the rapids. We change into the wetsuits at the start of the run, and your dry clothes are taken down to the finish in the van. It is a beautiful natural river with spectacular views and with loads of fantastic rapids running through and over the polished granite bedrock.
If the wind is strong we can fly our selection of power kites in the landing fields. We have 3 buggies and a mountain board. This is a skill which is normally quickly picked up quite quickly. We will start you on smaller intermediate kites, with shorter lines. Normally by the end of the session you will have basics and be sailing the buggy about the field in a reasonably controlled manner.
We also have a selection of water kites and boards for kite surfing. We do this on the reservoir 35km to the north west. Unfortunately we have found it not particularly suitable because on the strong wind days (when we are not paragliding) the wind is normally too gusty. When the wind does become good for kite surfing in the late afternoon it is often worth returning to fly on the hill, as the wind may also have smoothed out and reduced there too.
We also have some old windsurfing equipment which you can use, and which is more suitable on the gusty days. If we go to the reservoir we also normally bring a selection of kayaks and rafts for those who like flat water paddling.
There are a vast number of trails around the valley and hills. We have a number of bikes in the house that you can use.
This is fantastic area for walking. From long hikes to the lagoons in the Gredos mountains to shorter less energetic walks around the Corneja Valley near Piedrahita. For birdwatchers there is a great variety of birds to see. Our common exotic looking favourites are the Bee-eaters and the Hoopoos.
We are widening our season by offering walking holidays during the early spring and autumn. For more information see our walking section.
For those who fancy a more leisurely day lazing by the pool, there is a large openair swimming pool in the grounds of the Palace, just 200 meteres from the house.
It is normally open from the third week of June to the second week of September.
Steve keeps a growing number of Honey bee colonies. A visit to the Apiary (with protective clothes we will supply) can be arranged for small groups. There are a number of glass backed observation hives where you can see the working of the colony. If the weather permits we can inspect some frames from the Langstroth hives, or even harvest a little comb honey from the top bar hives. You could also get involved in Swarm catching during the springtime.
If a group wishes to go on an excursion, having exhausted the possibilities above, we can use one of our vehicles to take you and give you a guided tour as far as our own experience and knowledge allows. There are many options; below are some of the more usual ones.
Both these cities have some of the most iconic architecture of Spain, most importantly in Salamanca the Plaza Mayor, and Avila its Walls.
Groups who have been here many times before, will all have seen Salamanca and Avila, so we could go further a field to Segovia, Ciudad Rodrigo or Plasencia.
One outstanding spot is over the back of take off. The water is always incredibly clear (and cold). It is deep enough to be able to make the jump of 8m from either side of the chasm.
Another spot in the Corneja valley is a wider, warmer section with grass and sand banks at La Maquina, some 20km from Piedrahita.
This Peninsula War battle ground is similar today as when Wellingtons forces beat the French here in 1812. This was one of the key battles of the Spanish War of Independence and what many historians believe to be Wellingtons greatest victories. Two small hills, the Arapiles, are the centrepiece of the battle, the smaller from which Wellington spotted the weakness in the French deployment. This can be visited on the day trip to Salamanca. See the sidebar in the local area section for more information
We have included details of activities available in the Local Area section, these are not covered in the cost of your stay, but we will provide transport on non flyable days.
Activities available in the local area include horse riding, paintballing, quad biking and skiing and ice climbing in the early part of the year.