Walking on the Caminito Del Rey

A while back a friend of mine tagged me in a post about this walk, and at the time we though it was not for us and maybe a little tame. However we decided it would be a good option when the weather was not so good. We tried to do the walk a couple of days ago, however as soon as we parked the heavens opened and it has been that way for a couple of days. We returned a couple of evenings later and parked near the path that leads to the entrance. The next morning we awoke to rain hitting the roof and thought this would be another dud, although eventually it subsided and we set off.

We did not pre purchase a ticket as the weather is a little all over the place and hoped that we could get one on the door. As it turned out we got tickets and were first in line to go through! I’m sure that in peak season this would be impossible, however with it being out of season and bad weather to boot, I think we lucked out!

The walk itself is better described by the pictures, but I will try and shine a light on my experience a little. The net you are given at the start to put on your head is very flattering and a little fiddly to get open in the first place. Once helmeted up, we had a brief from a guide, most of which was safety, and then we were let loose to walk by ourselves. The exposure is evident from the first part of the path in the Gorge, and it was cool to look over the edge into the abyss below. I’m a massive fan of water features and it was great to see the water forcing it way down the Gorge, slowly chiselling curves and shapes in to the rock around it.

Occasionally there was mechanical structures and it would have been great to see some information boards that were dedicated to this, and how it all worked, however most on the route were dedicated to the rock and life that lived in, on and around the area. On the subject of wildlife, we saw a small herd of Spanish Ibex on the opposite cliff, running up terrain most humans would either climb or crawl up, the other prominent wildlife were the eagles that were soaring overhead. As for the path itself, it was great to be stood on such solid ground in such a precarious place, for those afraid of exposure and heights I’m sure this will tickle your fear a little!

I could see some scattered Via Ferrata that was obviously used to gain access to some routes and both me and jess commented on how great it would be if there was a fully equipped Via Ferrata that traversed and climbed throughout the Gorge, you could even bridge it from side to side. The atmosphere would be amazing and it would be another revenue stream for the local area.

As a climber I feel that although this experience was great, I have missed out on walking in on the old path to get to some of the routes we could still see bolted in the Gorge. That said, in places the old path looked in terrible condition and would have given my vertigo a run for its money! Although I’ve not walked every path in the world I’m sure the old path would have been one of the most dangerous in the world. It was weird to feel giddy from heights after such a long time without the feeling, maybe it was that I was only walking and not concentrating on climbing and the skills that go with it to keep you alive, although to be honest I still think about it now and then. On the last climb we did, I built a belay that allowed me to sit with my legs dangling over the edge, giving me full exposure, and the only thing apart from the small ledge for my bum holding me on was the gear, and yet I felt happy to sit there and think about the fall that would occur if all gear failed and felt no giddiness at all!

Back to the walk, I can see why it is so popular, the views are amazing. As for climbing, it seems a shame that a lot of the Gorge is now off limits, however this most definitely puts more money into the area than climbers, so I can understand why they have rebuilt it. I’d recommend it to anyone in the area, it was a great way to spend a day, especially for climbers on a bad weather day.

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