The long way to Las Hortichuelas

The ruin with two old olive trees

The ruin with two old olive trees

Yesterday we took full advantage of perfect hiking weather and made a long circular walk from Las Negras through El Valle De Rodalquilar, up the rambla to Las Hortichuelas and back home down the Rambla Aires de Las Negras. Leaving Las Negras we turned left up the track to the converted windmill and these ruins with two old olive trees.

Ruins of an old cemetery

Ruins of an old cemetery

The track forks here. Bear left and you end up in El Valle and the main camino to El Playazo. We took the right fork along a path that leads down past an abandoned cemetery. The track reaches the main road to Rodalquilar, which we crossed, and headed across the valley.

Fascinating geology

Fascinating geology

We walked past a small, white cortijo and through this little barranco with these striking rock formations.

A noria in El Valle de Rodalquilar

A noria in El Valle de Rodalquilar

We walked across the valley down a lane, past this old noria – waterwheel – around which the vegetation was much greener than the surrounding barren countryside.

Life on Mars?

Life on Mars?

Indeed, looking back towards where we had walked from, the landscape looked almost Martian. On the right, in the photo above, you can see the old mill above Las Negras which we had walked down from.

Towards the mountains

Towards the mountains

Past the noria, we turned right and headed up a track towards the mountains and the Rambla del Granadilla, which leads up towards Las Hortichuelas.

Poplars and palmettos

Poplars and palmettos

As we climbed up the path, the vegetation became greener with palmettos, wild herbs and poplar trees. Surprisingly, the poplars here have not shed their leaves – another sign that winter never came here.

Old walls and terraces

Old walls and terraces

We walked up through a large finca which was once well-tended and worked but is now abandoned. Fig, olive and pomegranate trees are in profusion and the land has been cut into terraced fields. Most of the old, dry stone walls are still in good condition and there is spring water here. At one time it must have been a productive farm.

Chumberos

Chumberos

Chumberos, prickly pear cacti, grow alongside the path and these looked healthy. Down in Las Negras most of the chumberos have been affected by insect infestation and are being destroyed.

Las Hortichuelas Altas

Las Hortichuelas Altas

The path eventually reaches the old road above Las Hortichuelas and we crossed over and down into the village for a drink and tapas. So far, we had walked for three hours.

Home via Rambla Aires de Las Negras

Home via Rambla Aires de Las Negras

After refreshments, we returned home down the Rambla Aires de Las Negras which runs from Las Hortichuelas to Las Negras and passes beneath our house. This took us another hour.

Robin on agarve

Robin on agave

On the way we saw this robin perched on an agave. Robins are quite unusual here. Blackcaps and black redstarts, on the other hand, are very common.

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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 in the little coastal village of Las Negras in the heart of the Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata. 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 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 The long way to Las Hortichuelas

  1. Wim Thys says:

    Indeed a very nice walk if you know the way !

  2. Wendy Kate says:

    How lovely to see the healthy chumberos, they have all died here 😦

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