walk 2 — Frigiliana Circular: Cuatro Caminos, Mallarin, Venta de Frigiliana and Peñones Ridge

We based this walk on Walk FR/9 of Exploring the Axarquia by Elma Thompson, 2002. All details as at 21st December 2002.

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Mrs Thompson writes that this walk is "steeped in history". Sadly, because of the rapid pace of development in this area, we experienced little of this. The tracks and caminos are becoming little more than unkempt lanes leading to country properties and building sites. They are edged with piles of garbage and abandoned building materials. Ralph spotted , amongst the plastic bags, the shit (animal and human?) and broken bricks a brassiere (!), two door knobs, beer bottles, coke cans and much besides. Grist for archaeologists of the future but not nice for those exploring the present.

You walk along the lane that bears left at the Restaurante Santo Cristo, passing the ruined sugar/olive mill that is showing signs of half-hearted restoration/conversion before meeting the firts (and really only) challenge the route offers. At Hito 4 turn right and head up Mrs Thompson's "short cut". The old camino has in reality vanished, and you merely scramble up a scree-and rubbish-covered slope down which water has cut drainage channels. There is no path. You turn right at the top and join the Torrox Road, where you turn left and walk on to the plastic green house you see ahead.

The lane leads away from Frigiliana

The ruined sugar/olive mill

The start of the short cut, on the right

Lenore climbs the short cut

Phew...made it to the top, beside the Bar El Cerro

The lane up to the Torrox Road

Turning right just after the greenhouse you follow a concrete track past a rubbish filled quarry, ironically overlooked by posh villas, steeply uphill. From here to the top the Camino de Frigiliana is really a suburban lane, with unattractive houses on either side that have appropriated the views. The Natural Park looks tempting to the right. The until-recently deserted village of Acebuchal is now begining to look just like every other building development in the area... Look back at the Mediterranean and you see a horizon dotted with huge cranes. Very sad.

We leave the Torrox Road just beyond the greenhouse in the distance

The lane skirts the Natural Park

A Spanish contrast — posh villa at the top of the hill, rubbish dump at the bottom

Clouds gather above us on El Fuerte

A touch of colour beside the track

Ralph tripping gaily along the Camino de Frigiliana

The view as we near Cuatro Caminos

Algarve and olives

Mrs Thompson's viewpoint, which looks down the Acebuchal Valley, is now right next to someone's back door. The new house was unoccupied and unfenced when we paused here, but I can't imagine the owners will take kindly to people regularly barging into their garden to look over the hillside.

The houses of Acebuchal begin to appear to the north

The valley opens out below us

The view of the Acebuchal valley that's been appropriated by a new house

Another shot of that view, while we can still see it...

Heading down the other side, along the Camino de Frigiliana, through Mallarin, the site of the 1569 uprising

View from the Camino de Frigiliana

The track wanders down and up to the Torrox Road again. There was the sound of loud music, people building breeze-block and concrete boxes, a couple of old men picking olives, trucks roaring past in the distance. Not much of a historic feeling to the site of a battle in which 2000 Moors and large numbers of Christians perished in 1569. Ho hum.

When you reach the road you turn left and then right at the Venta de Frigiliana (closed on Saturdays) and down a concreted lane that passes through some dramatic countryside, with crags and pine woods. But then it reaches suburbia again, and the monotony of white cottages and rubble accompanies you all the way back to Frigiliana.

The lane beside the Venta de Frigiliana soon plunges through some dramatic scenery

Crags on the Peñones Ridge

Olives and

The view southwards

A crooked chimney catches Ralph's eye

Another little ruin

Clouds still pouring over the mountains

Frigiliana in the distance

A last glance back at the mountains

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