Two At Large in Spain 2006-7

December 28th

A hike to Puerto Blanquillo, and a 10km misprint!


Up even earlier, as we were aiming to do a longer walk.

We started our trek at 10:30am, climbing up from Plaza del Carmen through the ugly fringes at the top of Cómpeta to join a forestry track just above the football ground. The track soon swung away from the sea and into the Sierra Almijara.

This is an area of tortured limestones and sandstones (I think), with dog-toothed peaks clawed by deep dry valleys and gorges, and with thin pine woodland clinging to some of its flanks or dotted with small spiky bushes.

We followed a route described in Holiday Walks from the Costa del Sol by Matt Butler (Walk 2) which though written in 2003 was still pretty accurate (apart from point 10 where the path has changed radically and you turn left onto the roadway then right down a steep path into the Arroya del Cueva del Melero). However the distance he gives is a misprint! This is a 25km walk!

In retrospect I would recommend walking this route in reverse. The way we did it you finish with a long slog along tarmac from the Fabrica de Luz Recreation area past a cement factory into Canillas and then on to Cómpeta. Best to get this bit over at the beginning. The walk up the Arroya del Cueva del Melero is then a gentle climb with a short steep climax, and you'll arrive above Cómpeta to enjoy some great sea views (assuming that afternoon clouds haven't gathered round the peaks).

There are half a dozen ruined farms along the route, a couple of lime kilns (which the path almost falls into) and lots of splendid vistas. The first half is arid, the second damp (we just touched the snow line). The author's timing is also optimistic — we are pretty fast walkers and we took over six hours (including lunch and pauses for photography), so don't imagine this is a late afternoon stroll! It's a great walk though, apart from the very end.

THE WALK IN PICTURES

Walk to Puerto Blanquillo

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