Two short there and back walks, the first easy, about 3 kilometres, takes you through the pleasant wooded valley of the upper Gor River. Your destination, a lonesome pine tree with its own fascinating history. The second starts at the same place, it is only 2 kilometres in length but takes you up a steep hill from which you have panoramic views.
Refer to the map below. Leave the village of Gor on an unnamed road, travelling south into the Sierra de Baza. After about 6 kilometres you pass through the hamlet of Los Corrales. Just over 1 kilometre further, before you reach the hamlet of Las Juntas, you will see a cortijo on the right-hand side of the road and a rough track that leads off the road to the right to an impromptu parking area.
Walk towards the Gor river, heading south, and cross the river on a rough plank bridge. The path follows the river on the other side. In less than 1 kilometre, on your right, a few metres up the valley side, you will see a ruined cortijo. It is worth diverting off the path here to take a look. The cortijo had its own threshing circle, a common feature of fincas and cortijos in this area. This particular cortijo also had a 19th century threshing machine, now sad and rusty.
Continue along the path. Ahead you should see a 30 metre tall, in winter bare, very vertical tree rearing above the rest of the vegetation. In summer it has a tuft of dark green needles at the top.
This is the last specimen remaining of Pinus nigra subsp. Salzmannii, the black pine. The name nigra comes from the contrast between the dark green needles and the silvery white of the bark. It is also known as the larico or salgareño pine.
It is usually found between 800 and 1500 metres above sea level, mixed with the wild pine (Pinus Sylvestris) and the Carrasco pine (Pinus halepensis). The black pine has adapted to resist drought and cold. It is considered the best of the Spanish pines for its hard wearing qualities and ease of working. It is used in the construction industry and for building boats.
Saying goodbye to the pine, return to your car.
The second walk starts on the opposite side of the road. There is no clearly defined path but, if you look up you will see a ridge leading to a rock outcrop at the top of the hill. The outcrop is distinguished by a large hole through the rock and a cave. Scramble up the hill for spectacular views and what was probably once a Neolithic cave shelter.
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Nick has lived and worked in Andalucia for over 20 years. He and his partner, Julie Evans, have travelled extensively and dug deep into the history and culture, producing authoritative articles on all aspects of the region. Nick has written four books about Andalucia and writes articles for other websites and blogs.
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