Round Walk from Salares
Ascent of 280 mts
You start this walk from the old village of Salares which is about 20 minute drive from Cómpeta over the Puerto del Carboneros and down to Salares. There is an outsize car park as you enter the village – park here. Apart from the car park and a new building in the car park the village seems to be very underdeveloped by local standards.
Salares is small with a population of maybe 400. It was known by the
Romans at least and there remains a very old arab or roman bridge outside the village where our walk proper starts. It has many features in common with other local villages such as narrow winding streets, an extraordinary church with mooring minaret and tower. In September it has a Feria (Fair) where the villagers and visitors dress in Moorish costumes and celebrate its past.
This is a Mudéjar village. Mudécar is the name given to the muslims of Andalucia who remained after the reconquest by the Christians but retained their faith. These people were given freedom to remain muslims by Ferdinand and Isabella by the treaty of Granada of 1491. They were known as Mudéjares. Somwhat later this tolerance was reversed and muslims were expected to convert or leave Andalucia. Even those who converted, known as Moriscos, were distrusted and were finally expelled in the early 17th century. This earlier tradition of tolerance strikes me as significant in relationship to the local attitude towards the recent hoards of settlers from Northern Europe!
Now, from the car park take the stone steps up on the south eastern side between white walls into the village. Then bear around to the left and along the street until you meet a telephone box. Turn right and along this road past the town hall and then downwards zigzagging and looking for the Calle Puente which leads down to the river and the bridge. Stop and look at the fine old bridge with the fine old collection of debris along the river bank. Here there are two walk notice boards. One is the one we are going to take and the other is a new walk marked in green and white which circles the village and comes back to the road. Our route is marked quite well with white arrowed waymarks.
The track will rise now for about 50 minutes gaining some 200mts of elevation.
Rise up zigzagging again for a way. After the second waymark don´t turn to the right but carry straight on uphill following the white marks. After a bit follow the white arrow bearing down the hill a little. You are walking now quite high above the river. After a while the path comes to a great big cork oak tree at a turn of the track.
Cork oaks in parts of Andalucia can represent a whole life style. They provide cork for bottling industry and acorns for theblack Iberian pigs that make the very best jamon.
Carry on the track along the old irrigation tracks. These themselves were a legacy from the Moorish period and in parts of the Alpujarras Moorish families were allowed to remain in the area to manage the irrigation. These are being covered in nowadays and replaced with pipes and taps. A pity from an historical point of view but good for water conservation.
The track continues to rise for some way now through woods of pines and oak. Keep following the white arrows. The track starts to level out as you come to the top of the woods. Bear to the left as the track widens, heading in the direction of a goat farm off to the left. The views now are become wider and grander. Keep going until you chance upon an abandoned farm with a rather newer water fountain near it. A good place to stop and take some refreshment here. Walk in front of the old buildings and up onto a wide track. Follow this as it zigzags upwards for some way to join the dirt road at the top.
Now the easy part. At the road turn right and follow the road as it sweeps around East and then South and then West. This road goes underneath one of the huge firebreaks built to safeguard the natural park. You can walk up this (not now though) and get to the ridge that takes you up to the summit of Maroma. Not recommended though as it is a very hard and long climb up to the ridge.
As the road bears South you get colossal views towards Canillas and Cómpeta and the sea beyond. Keep following the road until it starts to go down and round. There a track to the right which carries straight on and is marked with our white arrow. Follow this track downwards through the woods and valley until you come back to the bridge.
If you need a beer or coffee go back up into the village but bear right and along the main road down to El Bar Theo. A very jolly owner will welcome you. You can even pick up an ancient western on an ancient TV if you are lucky.