La Gran Senda de Malaga : GR 249 16/17th Feb Malaga to La Caleta de Velez

LA GRAN SENDA DE MALAGA : GR249. 18th Feb La Capeta de Velez to Nerja

I managed to get 2 stages completed today, a total of 28 km altogether which according to my computations was the same as yesterday, the difference being that today involved my first real climbs and first contact with the wilder side of the Costa.
I started from our quiet seaside street and continued along a paved beachside promenade.
I’m always impressed by the facilities provided on the Spanish beaches with changing rooms and showers every 100m or so.

The early morning sun shone through the palms as dog walkers and joggers fulfilled their daily routine.

The high rise apartment buildings and tourist bars and restaurants ran out as I came into Lagos, a small scale traditional settlement without the sandy beaches that fuelled the development elsewhere. The simple seaside dwellings around there continued through the busier town of El Morche, sometimes with large tower blocks behind them.







There were a series of fortified watch towers keeping an eye out for pirates and privateers along the coast and the route led me through patches of flowers and cactus past the winches used for hauling the boats out of the sea.



As I approached Torrox Costa the hulks of unfinished developments again reared their ugly heads above the beach.

But back on the prom of the town proper I admired the exotic plantings and the creative pruning.

Just before the lighthouse was a strange construction with a glass floor built out over the ancient ruins of a necropolis and fish salting factory where they also made the unappetising sounding ” Garum sauce” whose chief ingredient was “guts”.

This was the point where I finally left the Costa behind and headed for the hills. I started up a track beside the dryish river bed with irrigated fields to one side.

Before long I had to make my first river crossing, described in my translated guide as wading.


I climbed up and up, the track getting smaller and smaller towards the humming edifice of the A7 motorway that strode across the valley on giant concrete legs.

Strangely some youth had decided that the undercarriage of this alien environment was a good place to have a good time and declare so in graffiti.

Incongruously, as I passed under the most modern transport route I started down the days oldest, a mule and walkers track that wound down to the valley bottom and over a tiny old stone bridge.


The vegetation was lush and small little subsistence farms plots were still tended in the shadow of the gigantic motorway structure, the slow movements of the gardener in contrast to the rushing traffic above.

Climbing back under the A7 on the other side of the valley I rose up on higher ground until I was looking down across it, to another huge area of unfulfilled property speculation. We’d seen the signs for years as we sped down the motorway, advertising houses that never got built, but now I could see the extent of infrastructure that had been put in. Roads to nowhere.

I’d been hearing the noise of the motorway for too long and was relived when the traffic was swallowed up by the gaping mouths of tunnels that I climbed high above.

Passing by a hill seemingly held together by lines of plastic webbing


IMG_3074.JPG I finally came to the peak of El Puerto at 265m where I sat by an ants nest and had my lunch gazing at my destination , Nerja , a long way below me.

The landscape changed again as I started down the long descent with a vista of avocados before me.

A little later I came across a grove of the most radically pruned olive trees I’ve ever seen.

There were some spectacular villas on the hills here with sea views and very wealthy inhabitants but alongside that , a simpler lifestyle continued.

As I walked through a tunnel under the motorway for the last time I found more graffiti evidence of youth seeking freedom in unlikely places

IMG_3087.JPG before approaching Nerja on a labyrinth of tiny lush tracks through the crops.


Just before I emerged into the town proper with its roundabouts, shops , bars, and general busy 21st century life I passed another reminder of simpler times, one that is still managing to co exist with the present.


LA GRAN SENDA DE MALAGA: GR 249 16/17th Febuary Malaga to La Caleta de Velez

A little while ago when we were hiking a bit of the GR 7 in southern Spain, we discovered we were also on the GR 249. A bit of research showed that this was a new route that circles the entire Malaga Province, a distance of around 660km. Very tempting.
Although I’d have loved to set out to do the whole thing over a month responsibilities did not allow such wanton walking but I have managed to slip away for a week to tackle the first 120 km or so.
After a night trying to sleep on a bench at Dublin airport McDonalds and an early morning flight I arrived into a barmy 17′ degree and made my way to the seafront where I had to walk about 5km west to get to the start of the grand circle at a bizarre sculpture.


Immediately turning on my heels I returned eastwards along the prom, my anal instincts for starting at the beginning satisfied. It was a fairly blowy day and the waves were crashing on the seashore while people watched and surfers retreated.


The first days hike took me about 20km eastwards, all of it along the coastline, past the marina,
the old brick chimneys and the Pomidou centre.



All along the prom for miles I past the enticing smell of woodsmoke and grilled fish from the string of beachfront chiringuitos but the urge to keep going towards my rendezvous kept me from indulging.


Moving out beyond the city limits the surroundings became a little wilder.

I found myself on the old Malaga to Almeria train track and past through a number of tunnels on the now pedestrianised greenway.



Eventually I came to the outskirts of Rincon de la Victoria where another few Kms of prom brought me to where my friend Trevor had his support vehicle camper wedged in between a bunch of others on a patch of waste ground.
After a long day and night the food and drink and general hospitality were most welcome and set me up handsomely for a continuation of my seaside ramblings the following morning.
After a couple of hours along the coast, sometimes on the beach , sometimes on little paths and sometimes on the side of the busy N340, the route turned inland along rutted tracks through the vegetable fields.




I went from an area resplendent with exotic plantings to one far more prosaic.




This was part of the intensive cultivation zone that feeds the habit of Northern Europe for summer veg in their depths of winter and that was supposed to have failed recently leading to shortages and panic buying.
There was no signs of it here although the methods and suspected chemical additives were a little unnerving to this organic smallholder.




Arriving back at the coast I found myself surrounded by a failed development at Niza Beach where abandoned plots and dumped rubbish were all that was left of property dreams.




After a while I was back on the old railway line passing a station and bridge across the arroya before passing under the motorway, skirting an obscenely green golf course and more colourful chemical avocado plantations.




I’d arrived at La Caleta de Velez after moving on beyond the days stage end at Velez Malaga ,hoping to shorten some long climbs ahead.
I met trusty trev and we parked up on the seafront, wined and dined with old friends before retiring with the sounds of the waves soothing us to a state of unconscious.