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near Acebuchal, Andalucía (España)
The majority of this long walk is on established tracks and paths and therefore presents few difficulties with regards to navigation. However the summit plateau can be a problem if mist descends, and care should be taken. A map, compass and GPS are essential items. Water is available at some points along this walk, although it is necessary to carry sufficient fluid for a long day.
Car parking is available in Acebuchal near the Capilla.
Leave the car park and walk through the hamlet and turn left into the barranco and follow the arroyo de Acebuchal . A marker post indicates where to turn (right) and leave the barranco to scramble up stony slopes towards a track. Turn left and follow the track (now signed as the GR 249 Gran Senda de Malaga) passing the ruins of Venta Cebollero and ascend towards Puerto Paez Blanca where the track levels out giving splendid views across the Barranco de Moreno towards Puerto de Colado, Casa de la Mina, Cerro Verde and Cerro Atalaya. After passing the ruins of Cortijo del Daire a path bears right where several signs indicate different destinations. Take this path, still following the GR 249 and start the steady ascent up the initial stony track. At a man-hole cover take left and begin the climb through mixed scrub up to the Collado de los Hornillos. The path continues, now amongst pine trees and eventually parts company with the GR 249. (note. This is the path for the return route.) It goes left, continue straight ahead and meet up with a path which joins on the left having come up from Puerto Blanquillo. This takes you up to Puerto de Competa where views of the distant Sierra Nevada are straight ahead. Leave the path bearing left and climb up the broad fire break and reach a track where you turn left and follow this heading roughly west for several kilometres as it twists and gains height. Distant views of your objective and extensive southerly aspects can be seen. Malas Camas stands sentinel on the right.
Pass the broad grassy expanse of Collado de los Carneros and enter pine tree cover; continue and ignore the track which bears off right - leading to Cerro de Alcubaz and Malas Camas. Pass the trackside Fuente del Buitre and after another kilometre reach Puerto del Santiago. Here the track swings to the south of Cerro de Santiago, but a path will be seen heading up the grassy slopes towards the horizon. Take this path and on reaching the ridge swing slightly left whilst savouring the views of Maroma ahead. The path leads around the north side of Cerro de Santiago with sparse thorn trees and animal droppings. A summer grazing ground for domestic animals. Keep heading for the open ground ahead across the delightfully short grass and meet up with the track and fence (the boundary between Malaga and Granada Provinces). Note the stone circle and follow the track to its terminal point.
An information sign is situated here - although at the time of my visit it was lying on the ground and slightly faded. This indicates the path towards Tacita de Plata. This can be seen zig-zaging across the face of the slope. (You can take this path as an alternative.) Pick your way up the ridge and a path will be found marked with occasional stone cairns. Pass over the Collado Cuesta Pardillo and the Tacita de Plata path will be seen below on the right. These meet a little further along and soon the Fuente Tacita de Plata is reached. This is signed. Continue following the path which joins with the 'Robledal' path at Las Loberas. The path steadily gains height amongst some yew trees and more cairns are now evident.
Gradually the soil reduces and bare rock predominates giving less indication of a path. Pick your best route through the open limestone fissures and occasional indications of route will be found.
Finally, the columnar trig point will be seen and use this as a bearing and marker cairns appear and lead you to the summit, where numerous wind break/shelters have been built.
Return by the outward route keeping to the track around Cerro de Santiago. At the Collado de los Carneros take the track which bears off to the right. This twists downwards passing Cortijo de Nevazo; you can cut out some of the acute bends by taking the fire break. At the track junction bear left and head towards Puerto Blanquillo passing by the newly renovated Fuente de Teja (potable).
At Puerto Blanquillo take the broad path (GR 249) which leads off left at the prominent right curve (car parking area) and follow this downwards until another path meets it on the left with a marker post. Take this path which leads slightly uphill for a short distance and joins with the outward path near the Collado de los Hornillos. Now retrace your steps to Acebuchal for a well earned rest!
Turn left here and follow the GR 249.
An old weather worn sign gives information about the history of Venta Cebollero, also known as Venta Jara.
The water that flows down from the high mountains is potable. I have taken drinks from this source on numerous occasions with no ill effects.
The Gran Senda de Malaga.