Guide to Paths in the Axarquia. Axarquia Costa del Sol Tourist Guide
Rambling is a non-competitive sport that takes place along sign-posted routes and is officially approved by the competent body in each individual country. Its aim is to bring people closer to nature and to an understanding of the area’s heritage, ethnography and culture. It makes use of traditional means of communications such as highroads, local tracks and paths. It represents a symbiosis between sport, culture and the environment.
It is a relaxing activity which can be confused with others such as hiking, mountaineering or trekking or can form part of them due to their similarity. According to literature on mountain sports, hiking is the most similar to and also the precursor of rambling. The main difference with the latter is that it takes place along tracks and paths that have not been sign-posted and that are therefore not as safe as officially approved paths.
THE AXARQUÍA DISTRICT
The province of Malaga, situated in the Penibêtica region, has numerous mountain ranges which run parallel or obliquely to the coast and which create valleys, river basins and some plains. These mountains divide the province into four districts (Antequera, Axarquîa, Guadalhorce and Ronda), which have unique characteristics with regard to landscape and ecology.
The Axarquîa district covers an area of 901 km2 to the East of the province; to the East and Northeast it borders with Sierra de Alhama and Sierra de la Almijara, both in the province of Granada. These are a series of small mountain ranges which are interrupted by the rivers Vêlez, Guaro, Algarrobo-Salayonga and Torrox. Altitude increases from the coast (area of Vêlez-Málaga) towards the interior and reaches 1,486 m. at the top of Sierra de Cómpeta and almost 2,000 in Sierra de Tejeda; most of the district is between 300 and 600 m above sea level.
The town of Vêlez-Málaga is reached from the South along the N 340 and from the North along the MA 335, which links with the district of Alhama in the province of Granada.
Due to the boom that hiking is becoming, the Development Plan to Promote Tourism in Axarquia decided to finance a publication under the name of "Guide to Paths in the Axarquia" with 20 trails in this region, with different levels of difficulty, duration and distance. In fact, each path is approved by the Andalusian Federation of Mountaineering following the so-called "Ramblers Information Method (MEAS)". Each of these paths includes:
- Estimated lengh of time
- Drop on the way up and down
- Length of the route
- Type of trail
- Points of departure and arrival
- Estimated time in opposite direction
- Type of terrain where the trail runs
- Water points available
- Recommended time of year to practice
- Maximum height above sea level.
WHO ARE THEY FOR?
GR and PR paths are aimed at those who like walking, enjoy nature, looking at the countryside and getting to know what walking has to offer. It can complement other hobbies such as photography, drawing and discovering about flora and fauna.
Rambling can be enjoyed by anyone, irrespective of physical fitness or age; membership of a club is not essential although it is recommended. As paths are sign-posted, it is difficult to get lost so it can be enjoyed by the whole family.
A path can be covered in either direction and one can take as long as one likes. At times there are detours that allow people to visit monuments or places of interest.
On a GR, every so many km, the rambler will come to towns where he can eat or stay the night; this means that walkers do not need to carry heavy loads during the journey.
Unlike the GR, the PR paths are designed for short walks or trips that last half a day, a whole day or a weekend.
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