Friday, 9 August 2013

Chill out in the Chillar

The Rio Chillar runs down from the Sierra Almijara range inland of Nerja and is a popular walk especially in the summer when the pools and falls are full of people cooling off. Most head off from the car park in the valley north of Nerja and walk upstream dipping in the numerous pools en route. The most popular area is near a ‘cascada’ created where the river comes over large boulders lodged in the river bed. The walk here is not to be underestimated as it’s at least an hour and a half upstream from the start. A better option which makes more of the area is to include the rio as the return section of a circuit taking in the ridge west of the river. This is accessed by following the concrete track up from the ford near the start. The concrete links a number of cortijos before becoming a rough stone track following the border of the Parque Natural. Once on the ridge itself the route is fairly obvious and leads eventually to a clear path, the Linman trail. The trail is an old packhorse route running east from Frigiliana to the El Pinarillo picnic area. I did the walk in August when the heat on the first half was intense with only an occasional light breeze and little shade to be found on the main trail. Needless to say thoughts of the cool rio kept us going and it was with great relief that we eventually descended steep ground to meet the river. Here after a bite to eat and a change of footwear we headed down stream. The crystal clear water was never more than knee deep in the river itself and was just about cool enough to refresh as we waded through the lush gorge with steep rock sides topped with trees and shrubs. Initially we had the gorge to ourselves however after about thirty minutes we began to meet people walking up and once we got to the ‘cascada’ it was almost like being on one of Nerja’s beaches. The scenery in the gorge is always magnificent but at its best at ‘’la cahorros’’ where it passes through a very narrow section of gorge. Here the rock has been worn smooth by winter floods and you can easily touch both sides at the same time. Unfortunately marred by graffiti, this is a spectacular section of the walk. From the end of la cahorros the gorge begins to widen out before the river finally deposits you back at the car park. This walk should NOT be attempted after heavy rain or if there is a chance of a thunder storm when flood water in the valley would make the route treacherous.