If you had looked up as you drove over the A7 towards the La Cañada roundabout you would have seen a steep defile between two mountains. This is called the Puerto de Marbella and there is a path that takes you from the bottom right to the saddle. On the saddle, overlooking Marbella is the Mirador, that is our destination but today we are going the easy way, a 3 kilometre stroll that is popular with Spanish families to work up an appetite for lunch on a Sunday. On one occasion we even saw somebody in a wheelchair making this journey.
After parking the car walk up the track that soon leaves the mixed woodland and, at a gate becomes much more open with olive groves to the left and right. Carry on through the style next to the gate. You will soon see a partly ruined building on the right and you start to walk across the top of the saddle with the same two mountains you saw from the road to the left and right. The view opens up with first glimpses of the sea far below and then Marbella itself. Notice as you go that the surrounding rock has changed to a mudstone with what looks like sandy beaches. At this height these raised beaches are a feature of this range of hills. Millions of years ago they were indeed beaches that have now been pushed to 900 metres or so by the tectonic action of the African continental plate pushing into the European continental plate.
The mirador itself is overlooked by a realistic looking metal mountain goat, (Capra pyrenaica). There are a few live mountain goats still in this area but they, and the wild boar, are extremely shy. You would count yourself very lucky to see either. You are compensated however by stunning views of the pale, rocky mountains all around you covered in the typical upland maquis, gorse and rosemary with occasional juniper bushes and pine trees providing the vertical structure.
© 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.