La Torrecilla from Cortijo de los Quejigales
Country - Spain
Region - Malaga Province (Andalucia)
Author - Lou Johnson
Ascent - 675 metres / 2228 feet
Descent - 675 metres / 2228 feet
Time - 5.00 hours
Torrecilla (the small tower) is the highest peak in the Sierra de las Nieves natural park. Rising to 1919 metres it is located in the southern part of the 'mountains of the snows' as this natural park translates. The scenery encountered on this walk is superb and you pass through some rare woodland and traverse a wild rocky landscape. To get to the start at Cortijo de los Quejigales you need to leave the A376 Ronda to San Pedro de Alcantara road near km 13. From the main road a rough track leads into a car park at Cortijo de los Quejigales.
After parking follow the signed path to La Torrecilla, which is located on the right at the end of the car park. This path climbs up through a pine forest which soon becomes predominantly Spanish Fir. Gradually the path gets steeper but is always clear and the route obvious. Gradually the trees diminish in number and you reach the Puerto de los Pilones (with an information board) where the path joins a track coming up from the valley. By the time you have reached here you have already ascended 470 metres.
From this pass you already have a fine view with Torrecilla just over 3km to the southeast. The onward route goes half right along a clear footpath that leaves the track. The path initially descends as you walk slightly downhill amongst an interesting landscape of rock and gnarled oak trees. Soon you reach a reconstruction of a snow storage pit with another information board. At the next path junction bear right following the cairns.
The path descends the side of Cerro del Pilar, passes some caves on the left. At the next junction fork right and start the steep ascent of 230 metres across the side of Torrecilla. The view improves as you climb. Reaching the summit there is a large cairn and a post box! The panorama is superb and you soon realise how mountainous this part of Spain really is. On a good day you can see the coast and the concrete jungle that is called civilisation.
This walk is probably best avoided during high summer as there is very little shade. Also visibility tends to be better in winter. I walked the route on a Sunday and it was quite busy with some noisy crowds of people have a party time on the hill. It certainly wasn't a quiet day in the hills. However returning the following day the car park was empty and a mid week walk might be a better option for those who enjoy some solitude.
- Parque Natural - Sierra de las Nieves - a bilingual pamphlet with map and details of nature - published by the Junta de Andalucía
French IGN mapping is available in digital format by area and 'cut your own' maps. For more information and availabilty go to the Anquet website.
The GR20 Corsica
Guidebook to walking the GR20 through Corsica's high mountains. A challenging trail between Calenzana and Conca that includes hands-on scrambling, the 190km trek can be completed by fit walkers in about two weeks. The guidebook includes high and low-level alternatives, plus extra mountain climbs, and all you need to know for this tough route.
Mont Blanc Walks
Guidebook to 50 day walks in the Mont Blanc region near Chamonix and Courmayeur, plus outlines of 4 multi-day treks around both sides of the Mont Blanc massif. The walks range from 3km to 20km and cover a variety of terrains from easy valley walks to more challenging routes over boulders, scree and on via ferratas.