Charco Negro, Loja

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jamesbowker
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Charco Negro, Loja

Postby jamesbowker » Tue May 26, 2020 6:09 pm

Despite enjoying countless walks and trails around Loja I've never made it up to Charco Negro, Sierra de Loja. I'm aware that there is a driveable track accessed near the Guardia Civil's site in Loja but has anyone done the drive to the top. I'm fine with heights but steep inclines less so. Is it a comfortable drive or do you need a calm head? Grateful for any tips.

olive
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Re: Charco Negro, Loja

Postby olive » Tue May 26, 2020 8:01 pm

I have done various trips up the Sierra de Loja. Well worth the effort. Spring flowers are a treat. In some places a little owl on every rock. Blue rock thrushes and lots of choughs. Saw my first Hispanic Cabra up there 15 years ago. They are now so common North of the Genil that I often see them on walks and even 100 metres from our house.

The entrance track is to the 100 metres left of the Guardia Civil if you are standing in front of the hotel being done up. The road is quite driveable in an ordinary saloon but after about 10 km there is a concrete ridge across the road to catch surface water into a tank for livestock. If your car is low slung take care crossing it. Eject your passengers if need be. If you are in a 4x4 then no problem. You pass the entrance to a cave system right next to the road but I think it has been sealed up latterly. The place is riddled with caves being limestone karst.

You aren't supposed to go up the service roads to the wind turbines but worth a detour (on foot of course) . The majesty and swishing is worth the effort. The first ones on the left offer great views towards Granada and the snow capped Sierra Nevadas behind some 40 km away.

The road forks and you can go left right round to Salar but allow a couple of hours for it. We saw a shepherd on a motorbike and one dog herding just over 1,500 sheep up there. They knew the way to the only surface water for miles and were running!

If you take the right fork it leads to a splendid panorama with views towards Rosario. You pass a couple of cottages that may be used for siestas but I don't think they are lived in all year round anymore. Great place for a picnic. Quite often not even other folk. A rareity nowadays. The road gets rougher and rougher beyond that grassy hillside. Looking on the map it does go through but we haven't tackled it even in a 4x4. Just too unpleasant and slow. I think it would have been a drover route or maybe just the shortest route from Loja to another town - maybe Alfarnate.

If you like watching folk leaping off into thin air with a bit of silk on strings, there is a place before the major fork on the right used by parascenders. I think the annual fiesta is in early September. They land near Venta del Rayo.

Hope that helps and good to see you are exploring. Have you visited the Dolmens on Sierra Martilla? If not that is worth a look and there are some great walks with great views towards Iznajar, the Pantano and the remains of a copper age settlement below Fuente de Cesna.

maureenscot
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Re: Charco Negro, Loja

Postby maureenscot » Tue May 26, 2020 10:24 pm

Wow. Great post Olive

BENIDORM
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Re: Charco Negro, Loja

Postby BENIDORM » Wed May 27, 2020 2:24 pm

10/10 Olive for a great description :thumbup:

If anyone needs to know about good walks and scenery in the Loja area ASK OLIVE....

If you want to know about the flat areas and historical facts and where the best bars are ..ASK GORDON,, :D

Regards,
Gordon.
ps. The Sierra de Loja is where the fugitves from the Civil War era,camped and fought some battles, last year some of the sites were cleaned up by the team from Salar..

katy
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Re: Charco Negro, Loja

Postby katy » Wed May 27, 2020 3:11 pm

Excellent stuff Olive :thumbup: Ever thought of going freelance for the Times travel or others. People are always looking for something different.

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jamesbowker
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Re: Charco Negro, Loja

Postby jamesbowker » Wed May 27, 2020 8:35 pm

Thank you all Olive for the extremely detailed and descriptive response, thank you also Benidorm for the historical facts. It really is a beautiful and indeed historical area. You both are wordsmiths and the Tourism team at Loja Ayuntamiento could do worse that "cutting and pasting" your posts on Sierra de Loja for its increasing numbers of English speaking visitors who have discovered that the area is a wildlife and walker's paradise.

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Re: Charco Negro, Loja

Postby maureenscot » Sat May 30, 2020 7:14 am

Gordon. What do you mean by some of the sites were cleaned up by the team from Salar. And do you know of any books, testaments etc about the Civil War fugitives who camped there?

BENIDORM
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Re: Charco Negro, Loja

Postby BENIDORM » Sat May 30, 2020 9:01 am

Good Morning Maureen,
Last year a team of volunteers accompanied by local archeologists traced some of the trenches and dug outs used by the Freedom fighters dating from 1936 to the 1950's.
They took some of the few surviving men all in their 90's to try to trace the areas of interest, sadly not many of the old men left now.
The team removed weeds and rubbish and from the trenches and rock walls ,and they found a few artefacts of the era, just everyday items but important in helping to record the history.
Over the past 15 years I've tried to talk to many of the elderly people in the Granada area who experienced the Civil War Era,but quite difficult to understand because of the dialect.
One of the most memorable conversations was with a lady in her 90's who had fought alongside her husband, she suddenly started singing a song popular with the Freedom fighters, she sang it with passion and the glint in her eyes was as strong as when she was a young woman, very moving for me.
I love history and in particular social history, when I visit old buildings etc I look closely at everything, every mark and hole on the walls and floors tell a story, you just need to know how to read the evidence.
Regards,
Gordon

BENIDORM
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Re: Charco Negro, Loja

Postby BENIDORM » Sat May 30, 2020 9:35 am

Also, I forgot to mention about books, in Salar there are numerous books available in Spanish but with lots of photos, most written by a local historian, a very interesting chap.
Recommended reading..
Historia De Salar Republica y Guerra Civil 1923-1940 by Jose Montero Corpas,
( photos and facts )
Salar Memoria Grafica again by Jose
( full of photos of Salar and the people from days gone by )
Dialogo Con Un Guerrillero by Jose...Sierra de Salar, Loj, Alhama y Huetor Tajar.( this book quite heavy reading but does have some good pictures including some of the sites in the 'hills'.

The books are available sometimes at the Roman Villa exhibition or from the Tabac shop just near the Town Hall.
And of course ask me if you have any difficulty obtaining them...
Saludos,
Gordon

olive
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Re: Charco Negro, Loja

Postby olive » Sat May 30, 2020 10:10 am

That is really interesting Gordon. Fantastic that you are doing your bit for recording social history. The clock really is ticking on these things as folk pass away.

While I have been in exile lockdown it has been difficult to do much. I have been looking at the old Forge Valley line(didn't go through Forge Valley in the end). Ayton is on the doorstep and I found what is left of the old crossing of the Derwent, station (now a council yard)and a few interesting workers cottages. It is amazing talking with people who have lived there for 30 years and had no idea that their garden was on the track bed. Latterly I have been further afield. the magnificent Victorian buildings at Irton Water works - still pumping 6 million gallons of water a day. I took my dad up Sandybed lane to have a look at the huge water tank up there. He used to sail pond yachts on it as a child and catch tadpoles! All under cover now and fenced off. He remembers them building Stepney Road. None of those magnificent trees existed then.

Have you read Jack Binns ( taught me at school) book of all things Scarborough history? Available on Kindle. Fascinating. I have tried and failed to find remnants of the old water courses in the town - a subject that interests me on my travels in Spain. I met Robin Lidster last year - he has done loads of books on the local railways and is helping a friend plot the exact routes of the two temporary narrow gauge lines that ran up from Wykeham and Brompton to bring timber for the 1st world war effort.

On the subject of the civil war, do you know if Salar sympathies were anti Franco? Where did Loja stand? The two villages local to us are Zagra pro PP and Ventorros de San Jose pro PSOE. I often wonder how they "stood" during the civil war. That is a very difficult subject to discuss especially as a foreigner.

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jamesbowker
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Re: Charco Negro, Loja

Postby jamesbowker » Sat May 30, 2020 11:53 am

I understand that Venta del Rayo & Riofrio was very active in the civil war, there is a you tube clip available if you search Venta del Rayo guerra civil. Spanish acquaintances tell me that grandparents of some of the current restaurant owners in the area fought on opposite sides, for example, but now live as friends side by side in asmall, tightly knit communities. Circumstances necessitate I guess but nevertheless I find it a fascinating subject. With the passing of time some of the locals are more open to talk about their experiences and, with my best efforts at tact, I have listened to some fascinating tales of hardships and endurance.

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patricia
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Re: Charco Negro, Loja

Postby patricia » Mon Jun 01, 2020 8:24 am

BENIDORM wrote:
Wed May 27, 2020 2:24 pm
10/10 Olive for a great description :thumbup:

If anyone needs to know about good walks and scenery in the Loja area ASK OLIVE....

If you want to know about the flat areas and historical facts and where the best bars are ..ASK GORDON,, :D

Regards,
Gordon.
ps. The Sierra de Loja is where the fugitves from the Civil War era,camped and fought some battles, last year some of the sites were cleaned up by the team from Salar..
I have not forgotten your offer to guide my History Group. We will be coming soon. :thumbup:
Torrox Costa "El mejor clima de Europa"

BENIDORM
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Re: Charco Negro, Loja

Postby BENIDORM » Mon Jun 01, 2020 5:44 pm

Patricia,
I look forward to meeting up with you and your group... :thumbup:

Regards,
Gordonious


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