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Gibraltar - Mediterranean Steps Walk and Douglas Path

Gibraltar or Algeciras Bay, depending what nationality you are

Start and Finish: Jews Gate on Gibraltar. (Pillar of Hercules)

How to get there: Take the steep road signposted Upper Rock which is just past the Rock Hotel. (You can catch a bus to the hotel). Just past the first toll booth and adjacent to the second, on the left is a flight of concrete steps, the start of the walk.

Distance: 7 kilometres.

Difficulty: Hard.

Essential: Boots, food, water.

The Spanish Coast from Mediterranean Steps

General Description: The route takes you up the east face of the rock. It is a continuous uphill slog to the summit. The walk can be broken here and the road taken back to the start, a total distance of 3 kilometres or you can carry on up the Douglas path to the cafeteria and take the cable car down for a distance of 4 kilometres, or you can continue and take an easy road walk back to the start. Until the summer of 2007 the path was in a dangerous condition but it has since been restored with new rope handrails in sections that are particularly steep.

Mount the concrete steps that lead to a rough gravel path that slowly takes you up and around the southern facing crags. Far below and behind you is Europa point. You are soon surrounded by lush vegetation, a feature of the first part of this walk. It is on the east side that many of Gibraltar's indigenous species grow as well as a whole range of rare plants native to North Africa or southern Spain.

As you will soon see the east facing side of the rock is a precipitous chunk of limestone with the path clinging to its side. A short tunnel through a spur of rock provides a chance to cool off a little and then the path becomes steeper. You will also find the steps either cut into the rock or manufactured seem to be made for somebody with a two metre pace, still, at least you gain height rapidly.

Wild flowers on Gibraltar

Your mind will be taken from the arduous task by the views. The vegetation opens on the right to provide vignettes of deep blue sea, moored trading boats and, far in the distance, the coast of Mediterranean Spain with a backdrop of purple mountains.

The summit is in sight as the path starts to zig zag up the cliff. This is the steepest part of the ascent but it is soon over as you haul yourself to the top of the ridge just below OHaras battery.

Follow the path to the roadway on the west side of the ridge. Turn right and take the road down the hill. The views on the west side overlooking the bay to Algeciras are no less spectacular than those on the east. After about 300 metres you will come to a rough path off to the right signposted Douglas Path.

Follow Douglas Path as it takes you up on to the ridge between the two peaks of the rock. The path follows the top of the ridge. Notice the lookout point built by the British during the 18th century, a lonely vigil for some poor soul and the very top of Charles V wall built in the 16th Century that falls precipitously all the way to the sea on your left. The path then descends to a road, ahead and to your right is the cafeteria at the top of the cable car station.

A ticket down from this point costs £6.50 or you can continue to take advantage of the superb views, the varied flaura and fauna and the knowledge that from here it is all downhill.

Articles and Stories

The Ceremony of The Keys
The Pillars of Hercules
The Red Arrows and The Battle of Britain

Days Out

The Alameda,

History

The Sieges of Gibraltar
The Tunnels and Airfield
Operation Felix
Operation Tracer
The Rockbuster, the 100 Ton Gun
The Trafalgar Cemetery
The Treaty of Utrecht 1704
Fortress Gibraltar - The King's Bastion

Places to Visit

Top of the Rock

© 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.

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