Start and Finish: Gaucin Village
Distance: 12 kms
Essential Equipment: Boots, food, water, waterproofs
How to Get There: Drive to Gaucin and park opposite the garage on the main Algeciras to Ronda road.
Description: Take the road just to the right of the garage between two garage doors and some modern houses. On your left, opposite house number 16, is a metal gate and alongside that is an earth bank with a path that leads up alongside a line of eucalyptus trees.
Take this path that runs between two fences. Ignore a track that branches off to the right and shortly afterwards one that descends to the right to a farm. Keep climbing towards the large statuesque rock you can see up and to your right.
Just past this rock the track ends and you have to descend a few metres to pick up another path that runs alongside the fence to your right. Walk up this path as it climbs to a pylon and a fence. Just to the left of the pylon is a wire and post gate through which you pass.
If you arrive here just after sunrise you may be surprised to look up to your left to a large rock buttress. On the top live a family of Griffon Vultures (Gyps fulvus). When we were there we were being observed by three of these magnificent birds perched on the rock.
Having gone through the gate follow a path alongside a fence on your right that leads downhill through oak and conifer trees until it meets another fence and another wire and post gate. Go through the gate and turn left, following the fence, ignore the next gate and you will come to an ornate water trough after 200 metres or so. Go through a wire and post gate here, walk past the trough and then ascend the hill on your left until you reach a fence and a concrete well cover. Take the path below the fence that goes off to the right.
You will see ahead the ridge over which you are going to pass. Cross a normally dry stream and a few metres on you come to a rocky gully that, to your left, takes you through the ridge. On the far side of the gully the fence will again be to your left as the path descends to a normally dry stream. The path then bends off to the right away from the fence. Ignore small paths off to the right and you will descend steeply a short distance to an old oak tree and another normally dry stream bed which you cross. Follow the path alongside the stream bed as it passes to the right of a pylon and meets the corner of a fence.
Keep the fence on your left as you descend and cross two more normally dry streams. You should see ahead and to your right a 5 metre high lightening blasted tree trunk. Make for the tree and about 25 metres past it you meet a better path and then a track leading to a house on your left. Turn right on the track, down the hill.
At the bottom of this track there is a pylon and a junction of tracks. Take the broad forest trail sharp right. (First exit right if it were a roundabout).
You will be on this track for about 5 kilometres. It goes past a quarry with a full grown bonsai style tree on a rocky spur, there are wonderful views up the Rio Guadiaro valley, almost as far as Ronda, and through a mixed goat and pig farm with animals wandering all over the place.
Just past the farm go straight on ignoring another track to the left. As the track takes you around the end of the ridge Gaucin comes into view ahead and soon after you will cross a bridge across a distinct streambed. The track bends sharp left after the bridge, round another shoulder and across a second bridge, again the track bends hard left, around a shoulder and you cross a third bridge.
A short way further and you will see an indistinct path leading up the hill to your right, with a small cairn. It is marked at the bottom with a sign nailed to a tree that says, ' Camino de Gaucin a Cortes'. Follow this path as it takes you up through the cork oaks towards the ridge that carries the Ronda - Gaucin road. You will meet a better track where you bear right and follow it until you reach the road. Turn right on the road and follow it round until you get back to the garage and your car.
© 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.