Today was the longest walk so far and didn’t actually start until late as we decided to shift base. By the time we had the caravan installed on a site in Jimena de la Frontera and I’d driven Tom and Chica back to Castillar it was 2pm. Chica was obviously refreshed after her day off and keen to go. Castillar again looked amazing and it was great to know the start is downhill on a tarmac path through more lovely woodland.
As it levelled out, the tarmac gave way to a gravel track through scrub and grazing land occupied mainly by local brown retinto beef cattle. A huge old farmhouse had seen better days and seemed unoccupied, at least by humans. The scenery changed again as they entered the first cultivated area they had come across since the start. No idea what the crop is though.
The route met up with the railway track and would stay with it all the way to Jimena. There was a pony grazing here. Despite having a rug and being quite friendly, the white hairs on its nose indicate it has been put in a seraton – a noseband with spikes that dig into the soft flesh of the muzzle. These are still used a lot in Spain. Nearby there was a donkey that was hobbled – which is now illegal. Equines get a rough deal here sometimes.
There were a few dwellings as they approached Jimena – one with a very impressive gate. The shell motif is associated with St James and is a common one on caminos (pilgrim trails) although more usually found on the famous Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain.
The light was fading fast and the last hour or so was done in virtual darkness with Jimena castle luminations acting as beacon to the weary traveller.