Above Cortijo del Fraile

Near the start of our walk

Today is a public holiday in Spain. It has been breezy, and cooler than yesterday, so we took ourselves for a long walk.

As we ascended we caught a glimpse of the coast

We parked beside the track leading south from Cortijo de Montana and walked up to the mountains that separated us from the coast.

A path leads along the ridge

Looking down on Cortijo del Fraile

A path leads along the ridge from which there are wonderful views looking down on Cortijo del Fraile and across to the Sierra Alhamilla.

Looking up


I am still trying to identify the pink, clover-like flower

The mountain slopes above the path are sheltered and fertile and many species of shrubs and flowers thrive. We passed sprawling clusters of arenaria -little white flowers with rounded petals ….

Flowers of the gum cistus

Gum cistus shrub

…. and the sticky leaved gum cistus, with large, white flowers. Their delicate scent reminds me of bluebells.

Descending to Cortijo del Fraile

When we approached the old mine workings, Minas de Avellan, we descended to Cortijo del Fraile.

Three orchids

Here, we spotted two examples of a very large orchid, Barlia robertiana, which dwarfed a mirror orchid growing in front of them.

Ruins of La Ermita del Fraile

The dispute regarding the renovation of Ermita del Fraile continues and the old buildings have been fenced off.

Lettuce growing at Cortijo del Fraile

Most of the agricultural land has been recently ploughed for fresh planting but crops of brocolli, lettuce, parsley and fennel are growing in abundance.


About Margaret Merry

I grew up in Falmouth, Cornwall, England where, after leaving Falmouth High School, I spent a year at Falmouth School of Art. Then followed three years at Hornsey College of Art in London where I obtained a Diploma in Art and Design. I then spent a post-graduate year at the West of England College of Art in Bristol where I gained an Art Teacher?s Diploma and a Certificate in Education of the University of Bristol. I lived and worked in Truro for over 30 years and became one of Cornwall's most popular artists. My paintings have been exhibited in New York, Tokyo, Paris and London and have been bought by collectors from all over the world. I have published 4 books which became local bestsellers - 'The Natural History of a Westcountry City', 'Margaret Merry's Cornish Garden Sketchbook', 'Sea & Sail' and 'Tidal Reaches'. In 2002 I moved to Spain and now live pn a small farmer the town of Alhabia in the Alpujarra Almeriense in the Province of Almeria. I now get my inspiration from the dramatic scenery of Andalucia and its old cities, towns and villages which I usually capture in watercolour. I also enjoy portraiture and figurative art, particularly nudes and dancers. For these paintings I use artists' soft pastels. I have written and illustrated 3 children's books - The Wise Old Boar, The Lonely Digger and The Adventure of Princess The Pony - which have been published in the USA.
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3 Responses to Above Cortijo del Fraile

  1. angela Bell says:

    I am astounded at the beauty of this post.I love the slight greening of the area too,I did see it in March once ,the terrain is endlessly fascinating. Is that plant a fumitory or there is something that farmers plant called sanfoin(not sure of the spelling without looking it up).What an inspiring walk.lol Angela

  2. Paul Shakesby says:

    Great photos as always, Digby. Has kept up our spirits during the cold wet Cumbrian winter up here in’t North.
    Where did you start your walk from ? Last year we got the bus to Albaricoques and walked passed the Ermita del Fraile, over the volcano rim, and back to San Jose via Presillas Bajas and Pozo de los Frailes. Your walk may give us a different starting point for May’s holiday this year.
    Shame that the Ermita is still unresolved, in a couple of years it will have fallen down anyway, so problem solved.
    Many thanks.
    Paul Shakesby

    • We did a circular walk using Cortijo del Montana as a starting point. Take the track to Cortijo del Fraile but then take the left path at the first fork. This takes you up to the ridge overlooking Cortijo del Fraile and drops down to the mineworkings. We then walked to the Ermita and back to our starting point through the cortijo.

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