Corumbela to Bentomiz
3 hrs 30 Mins walking time
Total ascent 595 mts
Maximum height 709 mts
4.5 hrs with plenty of time to explore the ruins
This walk takes you from the small village of Corumbela to the old moorish fort of Bentomiz. Corumbela has existed since roman times and certainly has elements of the Moorish tradition in its streets. Not sure about the dogs though – I thought Arabic cultures generally don´t keep dogs! Corumbela had more than enough. The church is particularly notable and is in the Mudejar style. The village is a part of the Sayalonga municipality but is quite remote from the other villages of the Cómpeta/Algarrobo Valley. It can be seen from almost everywhere else in the valley – un pueblo blanco on the other side of the valley from the main road. Its floodlit church and street lighting can probably be seen from space! They can certainly be seen from my kitchen window.
Park just as you enter the village from Archez on the right near the bus stop. Walk up the ramp behind this parking space and then at the top turn sharp left. Weave your way upwards and to the left until you find Calle Alta. Up here on the steep road until you meet a stone circle on your right that may have been a drying bed or a threshing circle. Above this is a square and above this the village school.
Go straight along the new concrete road amongst very well tended almonds and olive groves. After some way you come to a junction of five paths. Take the main concreted one which is pretty much south-west, go straight on and past a barn or storehouse. The middle path of the three coming from east, west and north goes along and amongst the ridge of the hills back to Puerto los Carboneros. You can do this walk starting from there if you prefer. This is a well known pass leading from Canillas over to Salares.
Along the road and down a hill until you meet the main tarmac road from Canillas and Corumbela over to Arenas and Velez Malaga. Here cross the road and walk back a few metres then off right on the dirt road heading south west. Bear around the farm house and take the better of the roads. Following this up and down for about 2.5 km and then bear to the left when the road splits. It is marked to Bentomiz. Follow this along keeping to the left fork in front of a house on a hill, then down to a junction with a concrete road. Now for a really steep long climb up the road marked to Castillo Bentomiz. At the top or brow of this hill there is a building and a mast in front but turn sharp left here leaving a castellated wall to your right. Straight up again and bear round to the right and along for another half a kmpast an old high remains of a wall. You are now in the middle of the Bentomiz fort. Climb up the hillside to the highest point for great views up to Cómpeta, across to Mount Maroma and down to the sea – miles of coast.
Here is the place for lunch and a poke around the ruins. We found a piece of pottery in a fallen wall that is probably very old. Searches on the internet suggest that Bentomiz was known to the Phoenicians and the Romans before the Moors developed it further. It was handed over to the Christians with the reconquest. However, it was finally destroyed during a rebellion – the Morisco Rebellion of 1568-71 when the remaining moorish population revolted against their bad treatment by the Castillian catholics. This gave Philip II an opportunity to expel many of the remaining moors. The remaining inhabitants of villages in this part of Andalucia, especially in the Alpujarras were resettled in other parts of Spain and people from Northern Spain were settled in the vacated villages. This of course is why you get such a wide range of complexions and hair colours in the area. Anyway what is left has not been excavated or even signposted in any way yet but there are remains of storerooms and perhaps baths to be seen.
Back now the way we came although you could make diversions down to Sayalonga and then back to Corumbela – perhaps best for another day! When you meet the main road again you can climb and follow the way you came or just walk down the main road to the right until the village of Corumbela comes back into view. Return to the car round the outside of the village or go up the first steep ramp and around to the left. There is a small bar there where you can get refreshment. You may get into conversation with some of the people whose ancestry draws on blood from the Atlas Mountains or ancient Syria cities or the northern plains of Spain. How often do you get that chance!