La Cruz del Pinto
One of the things I promised myself back in England was that once in Spain I would get properly back into my stride - forgive the pun - so far as walking is concerned. At a very simple level, if going somewhere within the village I always go on foot, never in the car. But I also wanted to take advantage of the fantastic mountain country that we have literally on our doorstep. This first year has demanded so much time with builders and bureaucrats that up to now very little time had been left to do anything about the walking. Today though I finally went off on a walk into the mountains.
It was only a short walk, four miles, and my wife and a friend of ours in the village who was also keen to do more came with me. We went to the top of a hill on the other side of the valley that I have looked at with intent for several years. In local terms it is simply a little hill, but at 2,000 feet above sea level, it impresses this Englishman. You begin by dropping steeply down into the river gorge and then climbing all the way up the other side before setting off along the ridge, skirting round the eastern side of another hill on the way and then climbing steeply up to the summit from where you have magnificent views up into the mountains of the Sierra Nevada, and down to Nerja and all along the coast.
There is a cross cum shrine on the summit, and the name of the hill recalls a sailor of (I think) the sixteenth century whose ship ran into ferocious storms on its way from Motril to Malaga, and the whole ship's company were convinced they were going to die. The captain, whose surname was Pinto, reportedly went down on his knees and prayed for deliverance, promising that if they safely reached land he would climb to the nearest summit and build a cross in thanksgiving. Well the boat ran aground on Burriana beach in Nerja, the whole crew got safely ashore, and true to his word, Captain Pinto built his cross on the hill which now bears the name of La Cruz del Pinto. Down the centuries, the cross has been replaced several times, but I thought that if Pinto took so much trouble, it was not too much to ask for me to venture up to see it one day. It was all well worth the effort.
Oh, and my new boots behaved impeccably so I didn't need to change into the pair of trainers I took with me, "por si las moscas"