Montejaque - Nearby

Cueva de Hundidero & Embalse de Montejaque

Approaching the village from the Montecorto junction, the first point of note is the medieval bridge of Canada del Cupil. This once served an old cattle way that ran from Ronda to Seville. A Moorish lookout tower once stood on the hill above, but little of the tower remains.

The road leads to a steep curve left and below is an impressive site, of a large dam without a reservoir. Though some water collects in the winter, the engineer in charge did not realised the implications of trying to build a reservoir in limestone country. In theory it seemed a good idea, as the Rio Guaduares collected a lot of mountain water during the winter months. The river disappears at this point into a cave and a dam was built to stop it disappearing underground. After its completion, authorities waited for the reservoir to fill, only to discover that the water escaped via another underground outlet into the cave system. A pathway leads down from the road to this grand folly of engineering and makes an interesting short walk. Nearby is the signpost to the entrance to the Cueva de Hundidero, which eventually connects to Cueva del Gato near Benaoján. Permits are required to enter the system, which sometimes involves swimming underwater. The system exits the mountain down by the railway line at El Gato (visible from the train and road). A number of hapless explorers have drowned in this system, due to unpredictable water levels, and it is not recommended to the novice.

One of the mysteries of the area is the location of the dolmen El Gigante. Often pictured as a fine example of a Neolithic burial chamber, its location has remained a secret to the passing tourist. It sits on the north side of the reservoir and perhaps had it not been for the geological miscalculation, it might now be under water. Why this is not signposted remains a mystery, as the other 14 dolmens in the Ronda area are accessible one way or another.

The next 1km stretch of road to the pueblo clings to a cliff. As you curve steeply down with a drop on the right, a curious red lamp appears. This lamp is the site of and shrine to a horrific accident, when a coach went over the side killing a teacher and a number of school children. A memorial now marks the spot flowers are often laid on the anniversary of the accident. This is not a good spot to stop, but having found a place to park look across to what is a moonscape and an out of place concrete dam supporting a failed reservoir.

The Valley of the Republicans (Hacho)

The Hacho, at 1,075m above sea level, is the mountain peak that overshadows the pueblo with its white limestone slopes. To reach this area for a glimpse of the valley of the republicans, look for the Bar La Cabana and take the track up past the cemetery into the olive groves. Further effort will take you to the outcrop where a number of griffon vultures live during the summer. A climb up on the ridge offers a taste of bandit country and the Grazalema Naural Park. The walks can be taken around the peak or, for the adventurous, along a trail south to Jimera de Libar and Cortes de la Frontera.

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