GR130 - Franceses to El Tablado then LP 9.1 to Roque Faro

Ah - our old friend the GR130 and more specifically, the part of the GR130 that we look at, day in day out, right from our finca.  I remember when I once found a guest looking at the path as it zig-zags between El Tablado and the ravine of Los Hombres below it.  He turned to me and simply said, 'Know your enemy.'  Indeed.  But I do like to think of the GR130 as a friend rather than foe, even though it can undoubtedly be testing at times.
Looking over the GR130 and El Tablado from the finca
Perhaps that is where the love affair with it started, this hypnotic path carved into the landscape that has carried people on its back for centuries. It almost speaks for itself about the harshness of life for those who used this gruelling track which not only punished but also rewarded with a vital link to the old port of La Fajana.
Of course, it's easy to romanticize about it as we didn't have to walk it with a load on our shoulders such as a sack of grain and then make several more trips, one after the other.  Just ask Rosa at the shop in El Tablado.  Some days this witty and enigmatic lady in her 70's can hardly straighten her back and walks with such a stoop, she has to turn her head to see you.
Anyway, enough of that!  Our mission this week was to walk from home in Franceses which is 500m above sea level down to La Fajana using the new path, or rather old path now restored, that has become the GR130, rather nicely moving us to within 50 metres of the route.  The official GR130 posts are not in place yet, but the blazes are there and so are quite easily to follow.  Then from almost sea level at La Fajana up to El Tablado and then Roque Faro at 1000m Yikes!  
Not only is it great that the route passes just by us but it also cuts out around 1km of walking on the road - and there is a spectacular view right from the edge of the barranco. (It is in the blog 30 Sept, 2010 - An old path gets a new look.)
After a short section on the road, we join the zig-zag track as it descends down the side of the barranco. 
It now joins the road again, but only for 20 metres before you absail off the side onto another new section of the GR130.  This completely cuts out the long almost level track to the immediate west of La Fajana.  This is not marked at all yet and is fine coming up but tricky going down.

Zig zag path between Franceses and La Fajana
Now we have arrived on the track which runs alongside the barranco.  It is easy to go wrong here thinking that we must cross the barranco straight away and there are no signs to help, but we know from past experience that we must keep on the track to the left and only cross the barranco when this track runs out. 
Heading up the path to El Tablado is a bit of a plod but also a pleasure - no running!  And when you are just over half-way up, there are these great caves to look into. 
Wierdest caves ever, check these out. 
After a couple more bends, we come to the mirador which is a good place to rest or just read the information board.  We stop and wave to our house!  And just after this we explore the caves which are located just to left of the mirador.   A 'proper' photographer or geologist would get very stuck here! 

Two hours from leaving home, we arrive in El Tablado.  It is a wondeful village, full of fascinating history, a story in itself.

Arriving in El Tablado
But today, we don't plan to linger as we have a lot of ascending still to do and we leave the GR130 route here.
We  leave the GR130 route and head up towards Roque Faro on the LP 9.1
We head up the old path by the side of the church and the restaurant El Moral.  Looking back, we get a dizzying view over El Tablado.
Great view of El Tablado from above
The path crosses the road in several places and then takes us into the woods - with just a few flat sections - to Roque Faro. 
 A couple of light showers have us reaching into the backpack for rain jackets.  And because it has been so wet, the steep hard-packed path is extremely slippery and we cannot imagine how you could walk down.  
The whole walk takes four and a half hours and we reward ourselves with a snack at the bar Los Reyes in Roque Faro.  And, as luck would have it, a bus is just about due to that goes almost by our door - just 20 minutes ride away.  
Back home again - the maiden statue in our garden overlooking El Tablado

No comments:

Post a Comment