Start and Finish: Casares Village
Distance and Grade: 8 kms, Medium
Essential Equipment: Boots, waterproofs, food and water.
General Description: This walk first appeared in this magazine in December 2004. It is designated SL-1 and signposted. This year we decided to go 'the wrong way round' after hearing from walkers that it was a more pleasant experience going up the rough, slippery, hilly bit as opposed to down. They were right.
Park on the top road in Casares on the Estepona to Casares road and walk down towards Manilva going past the road to your left that takes you down to Casares village. Just before the road turns sharp left over a small bridge to climb the valley opposite Casares there are two tracks on your right. The first one is the one you take;there is a wooden pole that used to have a sign on it.
A steady climb brings you to a track going off to the left, turn left and immediately right. There is a yellow and white marker post. You should see a rough path climbing up the hill. Stay on this path. It is steep in places and eventually gets you to the refugio. A notice on the wall informs you that a refugio has been on that spot since Neolithic times variously used since by Iberian, Roman and Moorish animal herders.
A few metres higher you will see a 'Junta de Andalucia' sign. Just before, on your left, is an even narrower path that wends its way along the ridge to the mirador. From there you have panoramic views to Los Reales and the Mediterranean to the east and round to Gibraltar and the Atlantic in the south west. Return to the Junta sign and turn left up a broader track. This track takes you along the flank of Crestellina all the way to the head of the valley.
Keep on looking to your left. High up over the limestone ridge you should see vultures and, on the day we were there, buzzards. Under foot and growing on the sides of the hill is wild thyme. During mid October this, and the heather, were flowering, providing a fragrant, colourful vista. A few small butterflies were as entranced as us. The occasional dead thistle head provided strong contrast to the pinks and mauves, glowing gold in the sun's rays.
At the top of the valley the view suddenly opens up to your left as you look over the ridge towards Gaucin and Genalgaucil. The track then bends to the right. At a green single bar gate go straight ahead and gently descend the opposite side of the valley. You can just see the track up which you walked on the other side. The track becomes increasingly better until, for the last couple of kilometres, you are on a concrete road that takes you back to the Casares to Estepona road a kilometre up from the bridge where you started.
© Nicholas Craig Nutter 2004 - 2012. Nick Nutter asserts his rights as the author of this article and all associated images. This article and images may not be copied or reproduced in any way without written permission of the author.