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The Rosemary Walk                                                                                                 When the rosemary is in flower all you can hear is the buzzing of bees and the hillsides are carpeted in powder

                                                                                                                             blue interspersed with the yellow gorse.
                                                                                                                             The walk starts at the Refugio de Juanar that you reach
                                                                                                                                                                                 Return to the ‘junction’ and turn right. The path follows
                                                                                                                             by driving up the Coin road from Marbella, the La
                                                                                                                             Canada turnoff if you are on the A7. Drive past Ojen and   the contour lines around the spurs of a ridge in a large
                                                                                                                                                                                 loop and as it does so different vistas are seen between
                                                                                                                             keep your eyes open after 1 kilometre for a sign on the   the mountain peaks ahead and on the left and right. The
                                                                                                                             left indicating the turn off to the refugio. Follow the   obviously pale mountain seen on the horizon here is
                                                                                                                             narrow road about 7 kilometres, the refugio is on the   Torrecilla, the highest peak in the Sierra Bermeja range.
                                                                                                                             right over a stone bridge. Parking is available a few   This is followed by a view of the top end of the Istan
                                                                                                                             metres further up the road.                         valley followed by views towards Los Reales above
                                                                                                                             From your car walk back down the road you drove up   Estepona and La Concha above Puerto Banus.
                                                                                                                             for 700 metres. On your left you will see a gap in the   After about 3 kilometres the path enters a section of
                                                                                                                             wall and rough steps leading down to the stream bed.   water worn mudstone and sand that looks very like a
                                                                                                                             Follow this path as it crosses the stream bed and then   beach. In fact, it was a beach hundreds of thousands of
                                                                                                                             climbs the ridge on the far side. Short steep sections are   years ago. Notice the rock strata is almost vertical. The
                                                                                                                             interspersed with gentle traverses so that you reach the   whole lot has been pushed 1000 metres up from sea
                                                                                                                             ridge line about 1 kilometre further down the valley. The   level to its present elevation by the force of the African
                                                                                                                             views north east towards the Sierra Nevadas are     continental plate pushing against the European
                                                                                                                             spectacular on a clear day. Look out for orchids and   continental plate. This process continues today, and
                                                                                                                             bulbs on this section.                              these rocks are still rising.
                                                                                                                             At the top of the ridge the path doubles back on itself   The raised beach section takes the path across another
                                                                                                                             around the ridge, ahead and up, the shoulder over which  small shoulder to the side of a ridge where you will find
                                                                                                                             you will travel opens to view. The path follows the   yourself winding through thorny bushes. Long trousers
                                                                                                                             course of a normally dry stream bed through gorse,   are useful here.
                                                                                                                             broom, cistus and rosemary. Take a moment to stop on   You will soon reach a path junction marked with a post
                                                   Distance: 9 Km                                                            this section and just listen. You will hear the sound of   with yellow and white bands. To the right is a similar post
                                                 Time: Allow 3 hours                                                         thousands of bees on the herbs.                     with a yellow and white cross on it. Do not go this way.
                                                 Essential Equipment:                                                        At the top of the shoulder, the highest point of the walk   Walk straight on and a very obvious track starts to
                                Walking shoes or boots, water or flask, a simple first aid kit,                              at 1012 metres, you will see two paths, one ahead and   descend towards an area of woods surrounding the
                               sun block cream, waterproof and windproof jacket. The walk is                                 one climbing the ridge to the right. Take this one for   refugio far down in the valley. The track hairpins down as
                                 at a high elevation and can be subject to rapid changes in                                  about 50 metres to a grassy clearing ideal for a picnic   you lose all that height gained earlier. You enter the
                                          weather. The high point is 3,300 feet.                                             stop. The views in both directions are superb.      woods and emerge opposite the Refugio de Juanar.

   20                   March 2019                                                                       March 2019                                                21
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