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El Chorro 'Via Ferrata' Set To Be Revamped

A view across to one of the train tunnels climber often use to return.  © Michael Porter
A view across to one of the train tunnels climber often use to return.
© Michael Porter
El Caminito del Rey (commonly known as the Camino del Rey or King's Walkway) is a dilapidated concrete walkway that runs around the side of the El Chorro gorge. El Chorro is a popular limestone climbing area in the south of Spain.

As part of rural development plans announced at the beginning of January, the Andalusian Government has set aside €8.2million to restore the El Caminito del Rey via ferrata to it's former glory over the next four years.

Although it's illegal to use the walk due to a number of fatal accidents in the early noughties, it's extremely popular with tourists, many of whom also come to climb the numerous sports routes in the area.

The walkway was built in 1905 to allow dam workers to transport materials across the gorge. It was then named after King Alfonso XIII after he used it when the dam was inaugurated in 1921. Originally covered with wooden boards, climbers now navigate the route (graded F2) using a wire bolted into the rock above part-collapsed concrete platforms and metal beams.

The route can seem intimidating at times but can be well protected.   © Michael Porter
The route can seem intimidating at times but can be well protected.
© Michael Porter
Restoration of the Camino was first considered in 2006 when the government put aside €7 million but work was never carried out. These original plans aimed to restore the unique features while making the walkway sound. LED lights were also to be placed around the structure to allow night-visitors.

Just one part of a €289.7 million project for rural development, it's hoped that the investment in Camino del Rey will lead to an increase in tourists visiting the El Chorro area and add a much needed boost to the local economy.

However, with the Euro in jeopardy and Spanish government cutting billions in spending, it wouldn't be surprising if the work were put off once again.

  • More info (in Spanish) on SUR.es

The water pipe used as a bridge to cross the gorge.   © Michael Porter
The water pipe used as a bridge to cross the gorge.
© Michael Porter
The gorge seen from the El Chorro side.   © Michael Porter
The gorge seen from the El Chorro side.
© Michael Porter

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9 Jan, 2012
That's such a shame! It didn't seem "that" dangerous if you use some common sense.
9 Jan, 2012
You gotta watch out for trains full of machine gun toting Nazi troops catching you up before you get to the otherside though.
9 Jan, 2012
I don't see it as a shame, it is over 100 years old and looks like it has deteriorated significantly in the past 10 years - without some work it will just keep on collapsing. Chris PS I doubt it was ever covered in 'wooden boards' - the concrete would have been more than adequate for the workies.
9 Jan, 2012
It's restoration will no doubvt be good for the local economy, but I think it is pretty much guaranteed that the atmosphere of the place will be completely lost, that access via the walkway will be expensive and restrictive (belaying off the walkway amongst the tourists?) and that access via the tunnels will be impossible.
9 Jan, 2012
Yep, we're all doomed, life stinks and the most likely outcome in any given scenario is the worst for all concerned. Jim
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