Start and Finish: Car park in Genalgaucil
Distance: 8 kilometres
Essential equipment: Boots, small towel, water & food.
General Description: This walk has two fairly steep uphill sections, one early on, the other towards the end. If the rivers are high you will have three wet crossings to make. A bonus, if you go in late October or November, is that you should be able to gather enough chestnuts for stuffing, soup and preserving in Grand Marnier on the way round. The whole route is through mixed woodland, cork oak, oak, olive, and the occasional Madrono (strawberry tree) with edible red berries in November and December. Genalgaucil is a not so typical Andalucian white village that is worth visiting even without the walk.
How to get there: From Avenida Andalucia in Estepona, turn inland on the road east of the Mercadona supermarket. Continue up this road until you reach the Puerto de Penas Blancas pass. Left is the road to Los Reales, straight on is a rough track and right is signposted Jubrique. Turn right, Go through Jubrique and you will soon see a sign for Genalgaucil off to the left. Turn left and drive to the village. As you enter the village you will see a high road to the left and a low road to the right. Take the low road through the winding streets. You will emerge, after a sharp left hand bend and a short uphill, in a car park on the far side of the village. It should take you less than 1 ½ hours from Estepona.
The route: Leave the car park, walking back down the hill. At the bottom, where you had a tight left turn in the car, there is a concrete ramp on the left. Go down the ramp and immediately turn right. You will see ahead an old farm house with a track to the left. Take this track.
It descends steeply to the river. Just before the bottom of the track you will see new tracks crossing the path. At the first bear right down the broader track and at the second a short way on bear left. As you emerge on the river bank there is an old mill on the left and part of an old bridge on the far side of the river.
This spot was our first coffee break and we were rewarded for our patience by seeing two grey wagtails foraging on the river bank (see Bird of the Month). Cross the river just below a low homemade dam in front of the mill. The path continues up the far ridge. The start of this track is not obvious, you may have to push through the undergrowth about mid way between a small building up on the ridge to the right and the bridge remains.
The path zig zags up the ridge until you emerge on a broader track. To the right there is a chain across the track so turn left and then follow the track as it bends to the right, ignoring an open gate on the left. You will come across two tracks that bear off to the right, both of which you ignore. The track you are on is just below the top of the ridge opposite Genalgaucil which you will see to your right across the valley. You will also see tantalising views ahead of Benarabba and Algatocin and the surrounding mountains as you go further. This section has a couple of chestnut trees so keep your eyes open.
You will soon see an abandoned cottage ahead. Take the path to the right of the cottage downhill to a track junction where you turn left as it emerges onto the river bank. The ford is diagonally across the river following the line of the track. We have seen dippers here. Cross at the ford and walk straight on to a concrete bridge across a second river.
Just before this bridge you will see a wooden signpost with Genalgaucil off to the right. Turn right here across onto the river bank. If the river is high you may have to wade this bit because the track leaves the right hand bank about 20 metres upstream so keep to the right hand side.
After a few metres you will see a yellow and white painted post where you bear right. This is the second steep bit as you follow the path up the ridge back to Genalgaucil. You will cross a broad track twice, once in front of some green gates and again a little higher up. As the path starts to flatten off you come to a junction. Turn right, before a gate, you will see the path dropping down, continuing to the right.
There are more chestnut and moreno trees on this section as it gently takes you uphill to Genalgaucil. You enter the village past the football ground and tennis courts on your left and then turn right onto the road you drove up to the village.
As you walk back through the village to the car park you will see all sorts of statues (take a look in the bus stop), sculptures, wall decorations, fountains and street plaques. The inhabitants obviously take great pride in their village and the locals, including the children, have done all the adornments you see.
© 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.