The Vault Regulars

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Walk to Frigiliana

 It was all Sheila's idea.
 We had had a sunbed day and a Nerja town day, so she suggested that we walk to Frigiliana.  This route is popular with able walkers staying in Nerja and surrounding areas and ends in the once Moorish village high in the Sierra De Tejeda. Most people get the bus to Frigiliana and walk back.

 We set off at 10.00am following the Rio Chillar right from the beach. A path on both sides of the river makes for a rapid start but when the main road is reached, the N340, the path and onward route is unclear. We looked for an obvious path but we only saw the river bed. Crossing the road bridge we decided to head for a large car park and there we took the chance that a minor road would lead us in the right direction. I had previously looked on Google Earth, which showed a track on the left bank of the river but this was all private and padlocked.

 The river was low and as it happened this driveable track was where we needed to be. It was also quite surprising considering the urbanisation and agricultural properties on either side, that the river was so clean. Also sugar cane was in abundance too.

I remembered that, when we passed the new motorway bridge that the river split in two. I couldn't remember which branch we needed to take.
I decided to stay with the main river which we learned later was a mistake. We should have taken the left fork, the Rio Higueron, which on this day was dried up. So we continued on the Rio Chillar. It was a good track most of the way and then we came to an access post into the National Park. Mmm, i thought!
This doesn't seem right.
 We walked on for about 5 minutes and then turned back looking for another way. Just as we retraced our way to the access post a Spanish walker was heading our way. Sheila asked him for directions and i just about understood that we needed to go uphill for quite a way, then down to the river bed then up again. He drew a line in the dust emphasizing the distance was still quite far. We thanked him and we went up hill on the minor road/landrover track.
 Entrance to the National Park.
Processional Pine Caterpillars.
 On the track we came across this spectacle. I had never seen this before. They are Processional Pine Caterpillars. Harmful to adults if touched, causing irritation/nausea. Serious illness's to children and can be fatal to animals such as dogs or cats.
 The track went up and up and then we saw the river bed with the path descending.
  Heading wrongly into the National Park, following the Rio Chillar
 The correct river, Higueron
 This was the Rio Higueron that we should have taken when we passed the motorway bridge almost an hour ago. We gave ourselves an unnecessary hill climb to get back into this valley.
In the last 2 photo's you can see the track heading up again. We called this cardiac hill, it just was relentless. On the way up we passed two ladies struggling with the gradient and one said that we must be used to hills as we were not out of breath. We didn't tell them we had just done one hill by mistake.

 Once at the top of the track the main road is joined for a short section which took us into the village.
Walking down the main street i was a bit disappointed, all that effort and is this it! We sat down outside a cafe and had a coffee. After about 15 minutes we were joined by the two ladies we had met on the hill. All they said was "We are going to the pharmacy for Panadol". And off they went.

 I said to Sheila that there must be more than this and thankfully we carried on walking. Around the corner and covering the hillside was Frigiliana proper. Absolutely breathtaking.

 Frigiliana or Friginhilli as Sheila now calls it, is a maze of quaint narrow winding streets, brimming with shops, bars, cafes and of course, tourists. It's a beautiful place to spend time here. You need a day to do the place justice or stay longer in the numerous hotels.

 There is also a walk from here to the caves that we passed on our first walk in Nerja. It says 14.6km. Going further into the park and completing this walk we would need to take it more seriously and come prepared with a map, boots or trail shoes and waterproofs. None of these we had today.

 We had a lovely walk round and we were pleased we made it to the village after our errors of navigation earlier. The bus back to Nerja is every hour and costs 1 euro. Great value for money.
 It took us a little over 2 hours to do the walk but if we had known or been better prepared for the route we could probably take 30 or 40 minutes off that time.

 About 2 hours after we left Frigiliana and returned to Nerja, it went very dark in the hills. We couldn't believe just how fast the weather was changing. It was so dark we couldn't see the hills any more. From being bathed in sun and blue skies there was a big storm coming in.
When we got up this morning the hill tops are snow covered again. Increadable.

 We will do this walk again sometime, on another trip, and do a circular walk. The area is stunning and many options.


  1. Ooer - looks nice and warm. But c'mon, Alan - Nerja and Frigliana - you're making these names up. Wouldn't mind a bit of warm weather myself as it happens.......


    1. There are worse names than this Mike. Like Oss commented earlier, it does make a big difference to the soul having that sun on your back. Even if it is only for 1 week. And when you sit down on the warm rocks...Ooooooo..

  2. I think the Processional Pine Caterpillars you spotted today are the same animal that produces the Cobweb structure you photographed a couple of days ago.

    1. Cheers David,
      I will look into the subject more when i get home.
      Thanks for the info and dropping in.

  3. Oh, some sun on my back would definitely do no harm whatsoever! My lower back has been aching since last Sunday - too much sitting by the desk, too little walking. I'm blaming the busy schedule of my studies (I'm happy the studies will be over - well, at least almost - by the end of May). Well, I'm going to enjoy the sauna tonight, so that's a substitute...

    You seem to have a nice combination of different things on your holiday - some walking, good food, ... Enjoy while it lasts!

    1. Hi Maria,
      Sorry to hear about your back problem. I can sympathise there. Hope the sauna gives some relief.

      The walking is good but not well signed. Maps are a must. Food excellent and prices very reasonable.
      Looking forward to going back next year now that we know it a little better.

  4. Very good Alan - this has me hunting for old photos from when I think Sue and I visited Nerja.
    It'll be back to reality in the UK weather on Wednesday, but I'll struggle to find any 'cardiac hills' on the Bridgewater Canal. Though there may be some 'cardiac cake'!

    1. It would be interesting to see what hills you did Martin. Waymarking, we found to be scarce to non existent. I think it’s an area that you need to get to know rather than just head out into. Water can be an issue. We came across very little higher up.

      Looking forward to Wednesday.

  5. Wowee, !!!sunshine and shorts. No snow or cold. Wonderful Alan

    1. cheers Dawn. Yes wonderful to feel the sun with heat in it. We do miss it thats for sure.
      Back home now to the grey and cold.


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