Off to madrid next weekend, for some hills, what should we do?
Last time we rolled up to Cercedillia and had a great time, just picked the biggest mountain we saw and beat our way through a lot of forest, occasionally crossing forest paths, and then as the trees opened out did some excellent scrambling to a lush summit.
Ideally something not massively technical (wont have a rack), but long, something like a long ridge, and accessible with public transport.
I'd say the classic Yelmo ascent is a nice thing, if you haven't still done it. You get to Manzanares El Real by bus 724 from Plaza de Castilla in Madrid and the buses leave at least every 1h... Also, if you feel like spending the whole day walking, the so called 'Circular de la Pedriza' is quite a feat, though not really involving a lot of scrambling...
The other classic, but make sure to check if it will not have snowed before - is the highest peak of the Madrid province - Peņalara. You start in Cotos - you can get there by:
- green bus 691 from Moncloa - check the timetables at http://www.ctm-madrid.es/servlet/RedTransServlet?xh_ACCION=0&xh_TIPO=8
- Train from Atocha to Cotos (you need to change trains in Cercedilla)
From Cotos you get up to the peak by a very easy track, but then you can descend on to the NE side to make a circular route and the descent takes you via a nice ridge with a bit of exposure. Probably there are some easy scramblings up to the peak from the Peņalara hut, but I don't have any topo here to check at the moment.
So, I'd suggest El Yelmo and La Pedriza if you don't know that area yet (plus it's faster to get to by bus 724), but if you've been there before, then Peņalara should offer some scrambling (but it's not a lot, so don't blame me for disappointment) The views from Peņalara are nice - though!