Llanos de Libar
Our time in the Ronda area was drawing to a close but we did want to visit one part in particular as we had read so much about it.
The village of Montejaque is about 11 miles (17 klms) from Ronda. The best route to take passes the Cueva del Hundidero, a natural rock feature where the river Gaduares disappears underground to reappear several kilometres away at the Cueva del Gato. This is a caver’s utopia with 10 klms of galleries being mapped and it’s one of the biggest cave systems in Spain.
The entrance to the cave is a spectacular 60 meters high but it’s a knee crunching descent on a rough track to get down to it so my dodgy knee wouldn’t let me get anywhere near. However, the twisty, narrow road from here to the town was a wonderful drive.
Montejaque is one of the Pueblos Blancos, white villages, but it isn’t on the normal tourist itinerary. Which, of course, made it all the more appealing to us. Unfortunately, it has the same narrow streets as all of these hill towns and at one point I became hopelessly stuck as I tried to manoeuvre the car out of a street I should never have entered in the first place. Our hire car now sports an impressive series of scratches on the front wing!
When we eventually found tourist information the very helpful girl gave us a map and detailed instructions on how to drive to Llanos de Libar. All I can say in my defence is that it isn’t very well signposted, which is why I got stuck. And I thereby rest my case, M’Lud.
Libar is an 11 mile track which can be readily walked, if you are fit and healthy. Or it can be driven, at least part of the way, if you are nursing a painful knee/hamstring injury.
It starts with a climb up through towering karst formations, with Gryphon Vultures circling in the skies above your head. They’ve presumably seen the odd car wreck or two!
A few kilometres along and you think you are never going to stop twisting and climbing until you reach a crest and there is a wide, flat valley laid out for you, complete with a couple of farms, cattle and sheep, tractors ploughing and a bucolic pastoral scene.
Just beyond the farm is a belt of trees and, since the land was relatively flat, we were able to get out of the car and walk, looking out for birds, including Bonelli’s Eagle which is said to appear regularly here. Unfortunately, not for us.
Once the road started ascending again we turned back to the car. Although I have no trouble going uphill the descents can be murder and you always know that for every uphill section there is certain to be a downhill.
But going further on we again travelled through impressive mountain scenery until we reached a second, wide valley and the Refugio Libar. Sadly, the Refugio is no longer in use, which is a shame because it is in a very beautiful, peaceful spot. So we dawdled here, and walked about on the level getting good views of a Great Grey Shrike but still no Eagles.
The refuge is about half way along the Libar track but from here it is not really drivable in a hired Renault Captur, especially one you have already managed to scrape on some village householder’s wall. So we returned the way we had come. But I always think that the views are different on the way back so it was no big deal to drive the same route again. And this time I managed to negotiate the village streets with several feet to spare!