Just thought I would share some photos that Me and Denzul took when we walked the Camino Del Rey in Spain last week.
It's a bit pic heavy as the views and the walkway itself are just amazing - more photos on my photobucket site at:
Photobucket - camino del rey
First a bit of history of Camino Del Rey(shortened from Caminito Del Rey):
In the late 19th century it was decided that the current method of transporting goods and people up to the hydroelectric plant in the mountains at Chorro Falls was unsatisfactory.
A pathway was planned which would go around the cliff face and create a more direct, and even, route to the plant. The pathway was began in 1901 and took four years to complete.
It is an amazing feat of engineering for the period, and culture, and although now fallen into disrepair is still a breath-taking sight, even when seen from the other side of the gorge.
In 1921 King Alfonso the XIII used the path for the inauguration of the Conde del Guadalhorce dam and it became known under it's present name which means "King's little pathway".
The walkway varies considerably but on average is 1 metre (3 foot 3 inches) wide and in places is over 350 feet above the river bed.
Several people have lost their lives on the walkway and after two fatal accidents in 1999(one death) and 2000(three deaths) the Spanish government closed the walkway to the public and demolished sections at both the start and the end of the path.
However El Chorro is a mecca for climbers from all over the world and many of them have made routes to and from the walkway with the use of Via Ferrata lines. MOST of the rest of the walkway is also rigged with Via Ferrata lines and if you visit I would recommend using them but NOT completely trusting them, as these are also not maintained.
As the pathway is no longer maintained parts of it have started to degrade.
The pathway was constructed with metal supports and metal rails, like train track, on the edges. The middle was filled in with bricks and mortar, like a wall on it's back, and/or concrete. Handrails were added at a later date but most of them are now missing.
There are now sections on the path where there are large holes in the concrete and even sections where the path has completely collapsed or where just the other rails are still there (which were only even held in place by the concrete and some lightweight wire which has since corroded away.
The rails are stood on edge and you have to shuffle along them - there isn't really anything stopping them from moving or falling over.....
As the start of the path has been demolished you have to start your ascent under the original path. Half way down the cliff face there is a set of old brackets - what they were for have no idea - that are around 4-5 foot apart. This also has a line to clip into but it is around a 50 foot drop even here and it is a very daunting way to start.
I actually chickened out at this point and we found another way onto the pathway, but on the way back I forced myself to do it as I don't like to be beaten. My knees were still knocking like maracas but I managed to get across without wetting myself.