El Cargadero de Mineral de Agua Amarga

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The path to the ruins

This morning we visited the ruins of El Cargadero de Mineral de Agua Amarga. These are easy to find, about 2km from Agua Amarga towards Carboneras. On the left hand side of the road is the Chumbero restaurant and on the right, parking from which a track leads to the ruins. At the end of the 19th Century a railway was constructed to take iron ore from the workings at Lucainena de Las Torres, in the Sierra de Alhamilla behind Nijar, down to the coast by Agua Amarga for exporting by boat. This was quite a feat of engineering. The railway followed a barranco down to the coast where an iron jetty stretched into the sea so the ore could reach the boats.

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The Ruins

On the top of the cliffs are the ruins of what we presume were the administration and residential buildings servicing the site.

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Agua Amarga

From here there are superb views of Agua Amarga and the coast of the Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata.

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Down the old railway

We then walked down the route of the old railway line alongside the barranco.

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The ruins by the shore

From the path we followed we could not get to the shore but looking down on the ruins gave us a good idea of the scale of the original site.

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Looking back

We walked back up the track ….

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Rock with iron ore

…. and found that there were still small rocks of iron ore littered along it.

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The information board

When we returned to the top of the cliff we studied the information board beside the ruins.
On the board was an old black and white photo of the last boat to leave the Cargadero with iron ore in 1942, after which the line was dismantled and the property abandoned. Unfortunately, it was badly scratched and could not be reproduced.

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An old photo of the steam locomotive

We did, however, find a photo of the old steam locomotive. As well as iron ore this locomotive bought villagers from Lucainena down to the coast at weekends to spend the day on the beach at Agua Amarga. We took some photos of Lucainena and the old iron works a few years ago. Here is the link to the old blog – https://wordpress.com/stats/insights/countryhouseinspain.wordpress.com

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Coast of the Cabo de Gata

We then drove a little further up the road and pulled in to follow another coastal path along the cliffs from which there are more spectacular views of the coast of the Cabo de Gata.

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Agave and ruins

The typical landscape includes the usual agaves and ruins ….

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Centaurium

…. but we did note this lovely wild flower, a large-flowered centaurium, not commonly found in the parque natural.

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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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