Today Liana, Roly and I took ourselves for a trip into the Canillas de Albaida valley, down to the river where we can usually find a bit of grass for Liana, although it is rather sparse at the moment. It is a fairly short excursion that we all enjoy. Roly loves playing in the water (the muddier the better) and I love sitting in the peaceful surroundings whilst the animals make the most of the shade of the oleander trees.
The valley is full of these beautiful trees that are at their most colourful right now. They are completely poisonous and it is amazing that animals seem to know this instinctively. Liana is a very greedy horse, food is her number one priority and she will make a lunge for anything that looks even remotely edible, but she has never once turned her attention to the oleander.
David phoned me as I was returning from my ride and suggested we meet in Ramon’s bar for a drink, which rounded off the morning very nicely.
All this was in great contrast to walk Roly and I took yesterday, in the opposite direction, up into the natural park to take a look at the damage from the fire.
The first photo shows the fire raging up the ridge with our house in the foreground below. Luckily for us, the wind took the fire away from us towards Cómpeta. I discovered yesterday, as you can see from the second photo that absolutely everything on the other side of this ridge was ravaged by the fire whereas on our side the vegetation was totally untouched. A very narrow track divides these two areas, no more than 1.5 metres wide – incredible.
This ridge rises directly from the Cómpeta to Canillas section of the goat track at the bend where there is often a mule kept. It rises to what I call ‘beehive corner’ as there are many hives close to the point where the second photo was taken, although I saw no sign of them – I hope the bees made a timely evacuation.
Looking from here in the direction of the fire hut above Casa de la Mina everything is destroyed – a vast area of charcoal coloured devastation.
I even came across two places where the fire was still smouldering and sending up plumes of smoke, four days after the fire (Thursday).
Below is a forward / backward duo at one of the gullies. My friend Paco explained that the gullies act like chimneys, drawing the fire upward.
This part of the new GR249 walk through Malaga province villages and countryside will be a reminder for walkers of the dangers of carelessness.
I started my descent through the olive groves at the back of Las Colmenillas, where many trees had been completely decimated, but some will probably live to produce olives in the future.
And finally a photo of a house in las Colmenillas with the fire coming to within a few feet of the property. We all have a great deal to thank our firefighters for.