A walk around El Tocal

Whilst we were travelling towards El Chorro, I placed a thread on the UKC forum asking wether there was any descent places to go walking or scrambling near El Chorro, as I fancied the option if there was a chance between climbs. As luck would have it I chose an Aire in a town called antequera, where when I checked the internet, it had been recommended to me on the forum to have a walk around El Tocal, which just happened to be a few miles down the road, so everything seemed aligned!

Our first day in town we sorted out a lot of our admin that had been left undone for various reasons, like shopping, filling up with fuel and auto gas. This as ever took longer than planned and before soon it was lunch. Finally after lunch we set out and in twenty minutes arrived at the visitor centre. On the way we passed a few rock faces that I was sure would have some climbs on them, which I will research at a later date.

As soon as you drive in, you are already greeted with what is about to come in abundance. There are rock formations all around where it looks as though the rocks have been stacked atop of another, some large and linear, others looked like large oval rock slabs in the form of towers. From the centre there was an obvious path that lead into the rocks. There was different options for walking around, and we chose a longer route of two hours, this wound it’s way in a circle out and back to the centre.

For every time you are enclosed by rock, it soon opens up and you are gifted another scenic view of the other worldly rock formations, at times you could have believed you were on a different planet. The path was well worn, and half way round I took a slight detour, at the furthest end of the loop, that opened up the scenery to the ridges and green lands that made up the surrounding countryside.

One of the obominations of this place was the path guidance. It seems that although this is a Unesco protected site it’s ok to spray paint the rocks with large ugly arrows, and words, as well as the usual white and yellow paint flashes that are found on a lot of European walks. I’m surprised that as this is a unesco site that this has not been done with a lot less mess as it would make the whole walk a lot nicer.

We saw some pegs and bolts on some of the rock faces and I’m sure climbing is no longer allowed, but the potential of this area for climbing is amazing! We also managed to see some wildlife, goats, sheep and some birds who were intent on mugging me off, and making sure every time I had one in focus it would fly off to the next tree at Mach ten!

I’m sure that there are many more walks to be done here, over the basic tourist path that we took and if we stay in the area again, I might go up and have a look around some of the other areas and see what I can find! Although I’m sure there is no climbing allowed in the Unesco section, hopefully there is some climbing in the local area and we can make a real purpose to our next visit to the area!


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