Route: Silk & Salt

Sedella to Salares. Click on the image to see it full-screen

Difficulty: Medium+. The uphill section from Sedella’s Roman bridge is on eroded paths, is fairly steep, and includes occasional exposure to drops.

Good Walk for: cooler days (the uphill warms you) – but a bit exposed for very rainy days or summer heat. Geology (the bones of the land, laid bare); wonderful open views on the route; village link up to see Sedella and Salares, both worth spending a little extra time in to take a look round. Lifting the spirits – love this walk.

Distance:  5 Km (about 2hr )

Description:

This is a linear walk from Sedella to Salares – the silk and salt of my title. If you taxi to Sedella stop at the bus stop (parada de autobuses) near the townhall (Ayuntamiento).  If you have time take a look round the village – it is very attractive. Or at least, pass the end of the first road into the village, heading to the big white building: this is the Natural Park’s Visitor’s Centre. Hours are variable but if it is open go in for 10 minutes – it is free and rather good. Then back track and walk up that main street (Avda Villa del Castillo). You pass the townhall on the left straight away, then Restr. Lorena. At the top of the street just past Bar La Frasca, TL onto Calle Andalucia, then TR into Calle Daire. Quickly you TL again, away from a house with beautiful metal railings, towards a plazoleta with a mini statue. Opposite this statue TR and go down to the track, where you TL beside the sign saying ‘Puente Romano 806m’.

On the track look right over the valley and you’ll see the Fogarate ridge, which divides Salares/Sedella from our own Sayalonga valley. You can see a big house on the ridge. You reach and cross the Puente Romano – a very pretty bridge – then head a few steps to the left to pick up the steep path uphill; steep but fairly easy, though the ground is shattered. Since walkers, hunters, goats & goatherds use it there are multiple paths, but the direction is consistently up and generally right across rock beds; the path is never close to a serious drop and there are a few GR249 posts on the way. After 25 minutes at a rough cairn you arrive below the ruined Cortijo Herreriza. Follow the path that leads ahead and right passing the ruin on the terrace that has a big walnut tree growing on it; at the end find another footpath small but clear footpath leading into the rough. This heads away from the farm, right and gradually up; it is fairly clear. After 5 minutes you cross a gully and tiny stream; keep going on and up. You twice reach a junction with another small path; TR each time. Finally you get to the crest of the ridge, beside a big broom and another GR249 post: below is a concrete acequia, or water channel.

A sandwich in the holm oak’s shade

Go down to the acequia (be careful, it’s a bit steep), turn right and walk gently downhill along the channel, enjoying the wonderful views back of Sedella. You can walk on the concrete banks but mostly there is a little path to one side or the other if you prefer. I sometimes stop under the holm oaks (there are a couple beside the acequia) and have a sandwich in their shade.

After 15 minutes walking or so, keep an eye on the left hand side looking for a clear little path that heads uphill. If you miss it you’ll soon know: almost straight away the acequia becomes alarmingly steep – back track until you find the path. The path brings you up immediately to a track on which you turn right; it heads downhill past a rather grand house and comes out after a few minutes on a larger track, opposite a fairly large but somewhat delapidated goat farm. Turn right and follow the track for some 20 minutes. It comes out onto a road. Turn right and, as you come round the corner you will see a lovely view of Sedella. Cross the road; to your left is a track down into the town of Salares. Head down here.

It goes down quite steeply; at the bottom go right and you will be shortly find yourself at the town-end of the parade – where they have the party stands and activities during their fiestas. If you go up into the town and round the corner  you’ll come to Bar El Theo – Theo is something of a character but I’ve always enjoyed his humour and found his and María’s food to be excellent. Equally you might enjoy a drink at the Los Arcos bar – I confess I don’t know what the food is like here – before heading home.

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

Route: The Cómpeta-Canillas Goat Path

The Goat Path; click image to see full screen

Difficulty: Easy. And pretty flat. The walk runs along the contour line; part of the path is sanded, part path, part road. No steep sections.

Good Walk for: An easy stroll between villages; wonderful flowers in spring. Unusually LEVEL: good for anyone who struggles with ups and downs. If you want to make it a round trip  you can stop for a coffee then go back again or vary your route by taking the Low Road. Lovely little walk all year round.

Distance: 3 Km (about 1hr)

Description:

The starting point is the square in Cómpeta. From here go up to the street overlooking the plaza (C/ San Antonio) and passing the arts and crafts shop head left, away from the square. You pass a pharmacy, the primary school and the health centre where the road splits, but keep going in the same direction, passing the Hotel Balcon and the little San Antón shrine. After this the road swings round a corner and uphill; here, just before a house with a turret, a yellow sandy path with a wooden rail leads off to the left. Take this.

This path runs more or less on the level. You will go almost immediately past a tiny yard where, bizarrely, a local builder keeps a couple of rather sad ostriches (the female looking especially the worse for wear). Keep going. You pass some picnic tables and an enormous green watertank and go on. The path is lovely and there are beautiful views down the valley down on the left, and of Canillas ahead; there are also lovely olive groves on the right. After about 15 minutes you come to the end of the yellow sand and the path constricts into a more typical narrow footpath. You keep following this and will glimpse a road below you; in a few minutes the path leads you down to it, coming out near the metal gates of a house-drive on the right (a signal for the path if you walk the route in reverse).

Turn right and continue. You are on a quiet road above but not far now from Canillas. After about 5 minutes there is a little path leading down on the left. This is now easier to spot – there is a GR242 sign by it. Follow this little cut carefully down and it leads you over a field or two before you come out onto a gravelly track. You begin to pass houses – this is the upper end of the second village – and then come to a tarmac road. Turn left and walk downhill.

You descend towards Santa Ana (you might like to take a moment to walk up to the church to look at the contrasting views to south and north). Take the road to the left, passing the church on your right and then take the first right downhill and keep going down until you reach a little ‘plazoleta’ with a choice of 3 exits. Turn left on the only level street. This brings you out into the town’s square – if the restaurant-bar is open you might stop for a drink! When ready, keep going past the townhall and onto a narrow street; it is kinked but stays on the level. When it comes out to from between buildings a few steps down brings you to a road. You are at a taxi stop, with a shop, supermercado Andalucia ahead on your left and, opposite, the road down to Árchez. You can get a taxi from here – call Silvia (652 63 55 00) or Mari (699933026) – if you want a lift back. On the other hand, you could go down towards Árchez to start the low road – or point your nose uphill and head back to Santa Ana to do the Goat Path in reverse. Enjoy!

Goats on the goat track, spring morning.
Canillas from the goat track, winter evening.

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

Route: Three Peaks

Three Peaks Click image to see full size
Three Peaks Click image to see full size

 

Difficulty: Medium-Tough, longer, steep ascents and some exposure to drops

Good Walk for:  Seeing the burn from the 2014 fire, which the walk route covers (hence the firefighter on the map). Connecting from Canillas de Albaida to Cómpeta. Views, height, hills, exercise.

Distance: 10 Km

Options: Lots. You can make it a circular walk back to Canillas, varied by taking the lower track on the way back; you can make it a circular walk from the Cómpeta football pitch, doing the walk in reverse up to the Collado de Huerta Grande (CHG) peak before returning to town. You can avoid exposure and the steepest tracks by simply skipping the two peaks. All the tracks and most of the paths are very clear; the sketch map shows a good number of the connections you can make.

Description: Dramatic linear walk over the tops of the village hills, crossing through the 2014 burn. Starting point is beside the football pitch at the top of Canillas de Albaida. You can walk up from the village or, if you are coming into the village from Cómpeta you (or your taxi-driver) should take the right hand road uphill past the hotel; it heads up, passing Santa Ana after a sharp bend; keep going up til you reach the football ground: there is parking beside it. A little path leads you up onto the road above. Here turn left. Follow the road up until you are close to the big mast and there is a good sized track leading off to your right. Take this; pass the first minor track to your left but take the second: it takes you right up to the mast. Walk round this and you find a path that takes you straight up the firebreak.

There is a long rise and then a ‘false summit’. Keep going until you reach a a triangular junction in front of which is a steeper rise. On the left hand side there is a little path that zigzags up this. Take this path and work your way carefully uphill. It soon becomes a bit less punishing and leads you into the ‘burn zone’ (shaded red on the map). As you walk along the second ‘false summit’ you approach the ‘2-Tracks junction’: the said tracks run to the right around the hill. When you reach them take the upper track and follow it round.

You are now heading towards Cómpeta and the Gaviarra ridge is dramatically visible before you. When you feel you are almost on top of it you pass a pylon on your right and then see another above you on the hillside on your left. A few minutes you find the start of a path on your left taking you back up towards this pylon.

View back to Canillas de Albaida from CHG peak
View of Canillas de Albaida from CHG peak

To go to the CHG summit (1049m) take this little path. After you get to the pylon you must find a fainter path going in the same direction. You skirt a ridge of rocks on your right before climbing up to the obvious summit – a crown of rocks with a great view down to Canillas de Albaida and beyond.

You then retrace your steps to the track again. Head on along this in your original direction of travel. A few yards on is a path down which you take later, but for now continue straight on. You pass the flank of Gaviarra (1104m), but you don’t ascend it: when you reach a second junction and keep left, you leave this ridge behind. You are heading out of the firezone now, towards Cerro Gávilan, the high point of this walk (1137m); as you do so you’ll see the difference between the unaffected woodland and the burn.

At the next track ‘T’ junction you get a superb view of the Sierra Tejada. You are at point A. Now you have some choices.

Path up Gávilan
Steep path up Gávilan

Option 1: Turn left. Just where the track swings left to circle round the peak you step onto the bank over a pine root – a path runs uphill straight before you. Take this: it is steep and there is exposure to the drop but it is quite easy to follow. Pace yourself. After 10 or 15 minutes you get to a track (good spot for a breather), cross it and go on uphill for another 3 minutes and then you are at the summit, just below the firewatch station. When you’ve looked out from in front of the station walk out behind it to find the track the firefighters use to get there; follow it down in a spiral until it joins a track and here turn left. This track will bring you back to point A where you made your choice.

Firewatch station (photo A. Clifton)
Firewatch station (photo A. Clifton)

Option 2: If you want to ascend but avoid steep ground or exposure, follow the track round until you find, on the far side of the summit, a connection with the concreted track the firefighters drive up to get to the firewatch station. Walk up this track until you arrive at the summit and enjoy the views. Then reverse your route to return to point A.

Option 3: If you think – I don’t need to climb Gávilan, the views from here are great! – that’s fine.

With your back to Gávilan go back down the track you walked up to get here (that is now on your right, going downhill). Pass one left hand junction but when you come to the next small path going downhill – you should see the path to the CHG summit a few yards ahead of you – turn left to take it. This brings you down to the main lower track. Here turn left to go towards Cómpeta.

When this track splits take the right hand track downhill; at the next split take the right again and then at the 3rd junction turn left; again you are connecting with a lower path. You will be able to see the town below you now, and the artificial green of the football pitch. Keep going until you are almost past it and find a track down towards some small buildings just before it on your right – go towards them and then, on the left you’ll find a short but rather nasty thin little path that gets you down to the side of the football pitch.  You are now in Cómpeta: you can follow the road down into the town. Make your way to the plaza and you can enjoy a beer or two before picking up a taxi to get home.

 

 

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

Route: The Low Road, Cómpeta to Canillas &/or Árchez

Low Road (Click image to see full screen)
Low Road (Click image to see full screen)

Difficulty: Easy-medium, fairly short, though some narrow paths and one short steep down.

Good Walk for:  Wildflowers in Spring; enjoying the villages; Bodega Jarel ; birding in the Poplar valley; seeing the farmed terraces of so many locals.

Distance: 2.5 Km to Canillas; 3 Km to Árchez

Options: On the way out you could make a small detour to visit Bodega Jarel.

Combine the Camino de Árchez route with this one to make a round trip.

For a longer walk do this route from Cómpeta and at the junction just after the Canillas San Antón chapel turned right and walk on the road down to the mill. From here follow the Cájula Valley Loop.

Description: Lovely walk through the terraced countryside. Come out of Cómpeta heading from the plaza along Calle San Antonio passing the chapel of San Antón. Just after this the road bends right; at the start of the curve find a little cobbled path leading down hill between weedy banks. After a few minutes you can find old concrete steps going down on the left. If you want to visit the Bodega Jarel winery go down these and follow the weedy path out past an open water tank (you may see frogs), down a couple more steps (be careful) to the main road. Cross this and turn left – in half a minute you are at the winery and can go into taste and buy wine. Come back up to the main route when you are finished!

Once you have past the steps you walk gently along on a terrace edge path; you can see the main road winding along on your left. You will see the dark line of conifers that edge a house that stand below you on a bend and in another 5 minutes you pass close behind the backs of two more houses before emerging onto the main road. To your right is the turning marked the Mosquin stables; straight ahead is the metal barrier of a road bridge beyond which is a valley full of lovely poplar trees (a friend calls this ‘Nightingale valley’, she has heard them here so often.) Cross over to the barrier, turn left and walk to the its end then another 10 paces and look on the right for a very overgrown poor little path that runs down towards those poplar trees. It can be hard to find but it is there. This is the only steeper bit; go carefully and watch out for brambles. Once you are among the trees cross to the ‘other side’ of the valley bottom and turn left putting your back to the road bridge. You follow a path which will shortly swing right and take you through avocado plantations; you see terraces going down into the valley. After 5 or 10 minutes you come to a track going downhill. Turn left and follow this just for a couple of minutes. When you are almost at a house called Casa La Naranjera you find the cement brick wall on your right ends and a path leads off from it – turn right to take this path.

This winds on very prettily, mainly on the level. You are walking along terrace edges so the paths are rather narrow in places but nothing too challenging. Eventually the pathway comes out just past a building (there’s normally a truck or two nearby) at the end of a track. Go forward onto this track, which heads slightly uphill. You will be shortly be able to see a rather sad burnt off palm stump. You come up to another track near this, with a pylon in front of you beside which is, you guessed it, the start of another footpath.

Take the footpath and follow it; with a couple of twists and turns it takes you most of the way. You have one more choice – a slight uphill or a small down – both paths will lead to the main road but I always take the lower (it is the low road, after all). You then come out onto the road just above Canillas’ San Antón and below the Canillas municipal swimming pool. Now you have a choice: you can turn right to walk up into Canillas (2 minutes) or can turn left to take the road walk down into Árchez. Or both, visiting Canillas first before going down into the lower village.

If you follow the road down to Árchez remember to bear left after the San Antón chapel and to be aware of traffic – this road gets quite a lot of use. The views are lovely. You will pass the ‘hobbit pods’ – unusual rental accomodation in a Gaudi style. After this there is the first of two traffic lights – you can cut into the town via steps down shortly after these, or keep going to the second set and turn into the little square there. Done!

 

The low road was the second half of the Flower Fiesta walk: you might have a read for some pictures of the flowers seen on that.

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

Route: Camino de Árchez

Camino de Árchez (click image for full screen)
Camino de Árchez (click image for full screen)

Difficulty: Easy, short, though lots of uphill

Good Walk for:  All year excl. full Summer, inc. cloudy/rainy days (coffee start, winery middle, lunch end!) Birding, wildflowers and villages. Stretching your legs on the up.

Distance: 3 Km

Options: You can skip the last path by turning right then left after Bodega Jarel to get into Cómpeta by road. You can combine it, after lunch with several walks back via Canillas de Albaida to Árchez (watch this space!)

Description: The walk starts from the parking by the river in Árchez. This is actually a good spot for birding on a quiet day, as the opposite bank is thick with brambles making dozens of birds feel secure enough to fly in and out – look out for flycatchers and yellow wagtails.

Walk along the road, downstream, passing Restaurante La Peña opposite the first bridge before you cut up on the left to reach a tiny square (where you might stop for a coffee or a hot chocolate if it is a dull day).

Leaving the plaza walk out to the main road ahead (pass the traffic lights and hill). At the next junction, where there is a magnificent Algarrobo or Carob Tree, go left and continue on the road for less than 5 minutes. You see a wooden signpost to Árchez on your left just past a thin, water-eroded track, which leads up towards a house on the bank above. Take this: it is steep and poor, but only for a few yards, then runs behind the house before heading uphill. After 5 minutes you come out onto new terraces.

Turn right here and follow the track skirting the edge of the terraces uphill, pacing yourself. The terraces are being planted with avocados, which dominate as their price is good while the olive price has crashed, but as the track winds on you will pass almond trees and vines, which have a much longer history here, as well as looking back down on Árchez and back up to Canillas de Albaida. When you come to a junction with another, main track (the Camino de Árchez proper), sometimes having to step over a chain here, turn left.

Now the track passes villas and farmhouses then the “paseros” or raisin beds of Bodega Jarel, which you find just before the main road. It is properly the Bodega Almijara producing the Vinos Jarel but the sign on the road combines these. it is worth a visit – if they are open the shop is a little treasure trove of local goods – honey, avocado soap, oddities – as well as wine. Yes, they allow you to sample pre-purchase… but don’t get drunk if you are walking back!

Coming out from the Bodega go ahead to the main road and turn left, walking for about 100 metres til just before a road bridge. At this point cross the road and find a little path that cuts into the bank. This brings you to some steep stone steps: be careful but go up here and you emerge next to a large “deposito” or open air water tank. This is sometimes boringly half full but often full and rife with waterplants – weed and reeds – and walking along the track beside it may lead to dozens of ‘plops’ as frogs leap into the water at your approach. I have seen a cattle egret here and don’t blame it! At the end of the deposito the path continues on, crossing to the right and soon comes to another set of concrete steps (wider and dryer) bringing you to another path. Turn right.

The new path brings you up a pretty cobbled channel to the edge of Cómpeta town: you come out just beyond the San Anton chapel. If you head straight on and, after passing the Hotel, come to a choice of left (on the level) or right (downhill) you go left past the “Consultario” (health centre) you will emerge after a couple of minutes in Cómpeta’s main square, with its church, banks, and numerous cafe bars: perfect for a bit of lunch. Enjoy!

 

What did you think of this walk? Add your comments below or send your pictures (low res jpegs only, please) to grasshopper@wildingmalaga.com

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

Route: Atalaya!

Atalaya route - click photo to see full screen
Atalaya route – click photo to see full screen

Difficulty: Medium+

Good Walk for: Spring and Autumn: varied terrain right in the Park, with lots of wildlife about. Stretching your legs – a good uphill and down. Superb views.

Distance: 12Km

Option: You can extend this circular walk by walking out from the town along the road to the Fábrica de la Luz; take the upper road when you reach a division just past a sign welcoming you to the natural park and continue til you reach the “Curva grande,” a large hairpin bend with a dirt track leading off from the outpart of the loop. At the end of the walk you retrace the same route to return to the town. This adds 5 Km easy road walking.

Description: Drive to or Get a taxi drop off at la Curva Grande (debajo de la Cruz de Canillas). If you want to rebook for the pick up now, since the last stretch lacks good mobile cover, the walk is about 4½ hrs including picnic time (3km/h, rough ground). This hairpin taxi point is where the lorries turn; the track that leads off it goes all the way to Puerto Blanquillo. Follow this track and stick with it. After about 20 minutes you pass a track going uphill on the right (you will come down this way); a bit later you ignore a path off into the woods. You pass a house on your left, Finca Buenavista, once used as a fire look-out point I believe – you might walk around it since the views are attractive but it is always closed up. A little further on you will pass above the Montossa Quarry (you sometimes hear it before you see it if work is in progress). You pass a track going down on the left (to Pepe’s farm opposite the Cueva del Melero).

Finally you come, after about 1¼ hrs, to a large concrete water tank (Fuente Borriquero) on the right, which used to be just about always full of tadpoles, but since it was renovated and painted seems to be less wildlife-friendly. Perhaps they will have come back?!

Now head off to your right along the track into the little dry valley that the water tank marks the end of: stay in the (dry) water channel, looking on your right for the start of a path up the bank, just before you reach more old concrete water tanks. The path, once you find it, is fairly clear. It is a bit steep and in late spring rather overgrown, so take it easy and look out for wildlife, which the woods are full of. There are all the small birds you might see in UK pinewoods (finches, tits, warblers etc) and I’ve seen foxes, eagles, ibex, snakes and a flock of bee-eaters too, as well as abundant lizards and butterflies.

Firebreak below Atalaya
Firebreak below Atalaya

After about 45 minutes you will reach a glittering white firebreak that heads up towards the rocky crest of Atalaya. In cooler months I sometimes see snakes warming up here, but they are brilliant at vanishing before I catch a shot. Turn left and walk up to the head of the firebreak (5 min): you will then easily find the path on the left that leads, once again into the woods. This shorter path is a little more open – it takes you up to a col: the low point between Cerro Verde to your left and Atalaya to your right. Straight ahead are views down towards El Fuerte and the coast at Nerja. TR here and follow the footpath that leads you to the left side of the rocky crest of Atalaya: there is a little exposure as the land falls away on your left, but nothing too alarming and great views. As you pass out from beside Atalaya’s rocky side you have panoramic views south of the whole landscape, which is breathtaking: this might be a good spot for a picnic lunch.

Ahead of you from this spot you can pick out Cerro Gávilan, with the fire station on its summit. The name means Sparrowhawk but although I have seen Sparrowhawks in the area I have never seen one just here – Bonneli’s Eagles, Honey Buzzards and Peregrine Falcons yes, but not Sparrowhawks. The path heads on towards this, skirting to the right of one or two outcrops: keep following it (it may be a bit overgrown) until you come down onto a track at the “Cruz de Canillas” junction. A left turn on the track would take you towards Gávilan and Cómpeta, while a footpath on the left leads off on the “silk route” – but these are for another day. Instead turn right and follow the broad and recently relevelled track zigzagging downhill.

After about an hour you meet a junction with the Puerto Blanquillo track you were on at the start of your walk. Here you turn left and follow the track back – another 20 minutes brings you to the “Curva grande” and – hopefully – your taxi will be waiting for you here.

I absolutely love this walk. It can be done in a morning, is enormously satisfying as a neat circular that encompasses height, mountains, woods, maquis and open spaces. Hope you enjoy it too!

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

Route: Shepherd’s Cortijo Walk (short or long)

Shepherd's cortijo route (click on map for full screen)
Shepherd’s cortijo route (click on map for full screen)

Two options: a longer circular walk, starting with a road walk into the natural park  then the track walk OR a taxi drop in the natural park then the track walk

Difficulty: Medium. Two thirds of the walk is on tracks with the final third on paths zigzagging down and then up on steeper ground.

Good Walk for: Views. Almost any time of year. Avoid very hot  or really windy days.

Distance: Full walk 9.75 Km (about 3hrs 20m). Shorter walk 5.45 Km (about 2 hrs)

Ascent/Descent: 15-20 mins zigzag down followed by 15-20 mins zigzagging up. Steep but not very.

Description:

For the short walk take a taxi to Canillas de Albaida’s Fábrica de la Luz, a recreation zone and picnic site.

The longer Walk starts in Canillas de Albaida’s main car park, between the primary school and “polideportivo” (sports ground). Having parked, walk up the hill opposite the mini roundabout and at the T-junction turn left. Follow this road up towards the chapel of Santa Ana, passing it on your left to find a cross roads. Don’t go right and up, don’t go left and down: go almost straight, on the level, heading away from the town. Follow the road for about 20 minutes – you pass a sign welcoming you to the Sierras just before a junction to the right  (stay left), then you pass a road off to the left just before you pass the quarry on your right. After that you pass a ruined building on your left and reach a parking area near the river, picnic tables and the building of La Fabrica de la Luz.

For both walks from the Fabrica do not take the steps up to the building (except to have a look or visit the toilets) but walk forward on the track towards the ford. You get over the stream wherever is easiest (there are several good crossing points to your right) and then follow the track running straight on. It leads you gently north then, after crossing another stream that trickles, usually toe deep across the path, it begins to zigzag slowly uphill.

The Shepherd's cortijo
The Shepherd’s cortijo

As you get higher, look around. Behind you will see a distant tiny white building – the shepherd’s cortijo, an old bothy in this obscure location, after which the walk is named.  You may see sheep and goats grazing or hear their bells.

Further on you will pass stands of cork oaks: beautiful trees. Their bark was harvested in 2013 and will take about 7 years to grow back. You will also be able to see (looking essentially back and down) the Fábrica, which you started from. It will seem a long way below!

Eventually the zigzag track joins a main track on the top of the ridge. Turn left and walk south, on this ridge top: on either side there is farmed land, mainly olives and almonds, with some rough ground in between. When you see a little rocky rise on the right you might scramble go up it to look at the views: to the north the Sierras, to the east the town of Cómpeta, to the west Malaga and, on a clear day you might see Gibraltar and even the peaks of the Riff mountains in Morocco far to the south. Now go back to the track and continue until you come to a big pylon, next to an old, rather overgrown firebreak.

Go to the pylon and head to the right hand side of the firebreak in front of you, in the same general direction of travel as before. After 150m or so, before the ground starts to really climb, find a path on the right that runs along the level. Follow this path; there are glimpses into the Cájula valley on your right.  You will shortly arrive at another track. Cross it and pick up the path again, following this as it leads you gently down through open pine woods ‘til you come to another firebreak. You cross this too and again pick up the path on the other side. This leads you down to a tarmac road.

Cross the road and find the path yet again zigzagging down among open pine woods. This is a little steep in places so take it steadily. It brings you to the valley bottom and meets another path; turn left and you’ll find a bridge over the Rio Turvilla. Of course, having come down into the valley you now have to get up to the town, sticking to the main path as it zigzag uphill. You arrive by the white walls of the village cemetery and can get onto the road by heading up the concrete slope just before it. You are now back in Canillas.

To get to the car park turn right and follow the road down and round. When you come to a side street on your right that runs uphill take it. You pass a beautiful lemon tree hung with gourds! Go on to the plazoleta behind the church and head diagonally across it to go, on the level, into the plaza. Continue through the plaza, past the town hall and on through narrow level streets until you come to a broad opening with a road uphill on your left and the main road just below. Go up the hill, turning right past a fountain and you have reached the carpark again. Well done!

What did you think of this walk? Add your comments below or send your pictures (low res jpegs only, please) to grasshopper@wildingmalaga.com

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

Route: Cájula Valley Loop

Cájula Valley loop
Cájula Valley loop (click for full-screen)

Difficulty: Easy-Medium. You use stepping stones and walk some stony narrow paths. The second section is an easy track but the path down is steep.

Good Walk for: cooler days (the valley is sheltered); orchids (Jan-April) and flowers all year but especially spring.

Distance: 6,4 Km (about 2hr 20m)

Descent: The final path down (20min) is steep and tricky to follow.

Description:

The starting point is an old flour mill at the confluence of Rios Turvilla and Cájula, below Canillas de Albaida. To reach it from Cómpeta drive to Canillas, turn left down the hill then left again towards Árchez and then right. To reach it from Árchez drive up towards Canillas, turning left just opposite the chapel of San Antón. This brings you down to the river; just after the bridge you can find parking on the right.

Have a look at the mill then turn your back on it and walk alongside the stream on a farmer’s path. After a few minutes you come to a stream crossing – it is usually low enough to simply splash across without really wetting your feet. The path goes past terraces on your right with the river on your left. It opens out and is very pretty but you soon go down to the river and again step across it. You pass under a cathedral of oleander bushes before heading up past a cliff of yellow stone and then descending to the river for the third time (watch the brambles).

Now you are on the right bank again passing more citrus fruit terraces and pretty flowers until you come back to the river for the 4th time. The path now takes you uphill to the end of an old track – there’s a ruined farm above. Don’t follow the track; take the path on the right signed “Camino Rio”. Be careful as the terrace edge is a little narrow. It improves once out of farmland and after a while brings you down to the river for your 5th stream crossing (use the stepping stones). The path now takes you up through lovely pine woods before it swings back to the stream for your 6th and final Cájula crossing (bridges not included!).

You are just below a tiny ruin: you head up to this and pass it heading away from the Cájula along the valley of a tributary stream. You climb steadily for about 10 minutes before crossing the tributary just behind it’s waterfall – if it is flowing,  look back from 10 paces or so on to see it. You are still going uphill and can see a farm to your right and a ruin to the left; the path zigzags up to meet the track between the two.

Here you turn right. This track leads you level and down, past what I’ve called “Hill top farmhouse” on the sketch map, which you could see from the valley. It is very gently after the path uphill! You shortly reach, and cross, first  one bridge (there are poplars growing around it) over the Cájula, then another (over another tributary). The track turns to the right. Don’t be distracted another running downhill: the main track now heads steadily up and along the valley side, heading back towards Canillas.

Follow the track steadily – you can see right over the valley you have walked up – until you come to a sharp left-hand bend. Straight ahead you can see Canillas de Albaida on the hill opposite.  This means the mill is almost directly below: all you need to do is get down to it. A path leads off straight from the bend veering over to the right and zigzagging down. It is steep so be careful. This comes onto land the owner has recently cleared (for planting new olives in) and you have to zigzag on this looking for the cairns that lead you back down to the path again – this is quite tricky but remember the path stays over to your right and persist: don’t try to get down “off piste”, you need the path. Once you have the path again another 10 minutes and you are walking past the mill into the parking area. You’re back!

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest