Started out so well, an hour's drive up country through some typically white Spanish villages with typically podgy old men sat on street corners taking in another typically warm day. We set off late so on arriving at El Chorro we headed straight for the nearest (and only) restaurant nestled above the first lake and below the huge rocky peak. Lunch over we headed in the wrong direction looking for the gorge, then trekking back down the windy mountain roads that make Cupola look like it was built by the Romans I picked up the first of many Griffon Vultures. It was but a few seconds later that a pot hole not dissimilar to a Northumbrian opencast revealed itself from the gleaming white road ahead (not that I saw it until later inspection). The result was that we had two tyres that looked like they had been in combat with the masked Mexican of my childhood Saturday morning cinema visits. A long painfully slow journey back down the mountain and a several hour wait for the tow truck and taxi ensued. There are worse places to be marooned though, at least I had a phone signal and managed to receive the odd text message, the breaking news of DEFRA's U-turn on the Buzzard Management Proposals was celebrated on a dusty roadside with nothing stronger than a swig of warming water. The news from Tom Mckinney was gratefully received and he did his best to cheer us up pointing out we could have been in Newbiggin, though as I said to him, same shit different vultures.