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