El Caminito del Rey (The King's Little Path) is a walkway pinned along the steep walls of a narrow gorge in El Chorro, near Ardales in the province of Málaga, Spain. Its name derives from the original name of Camino del Rey (King's Pathway), abbreviated locally to el caminito.[1] The walkway was constructed in the early 20th century, but by the early 21st century, it had fallen into disrepair and was partially closed for over a decade. After four years of extensive repairs and renovations, it re-opened in 2015. It has been described as the "world's most dangerous walkway" following five deaths in 1999 and 2000.[2]

El Caminito del Rey
Ground-level view
Length3 km.
LocationArdales, Málaga, Andalusia, Spain

History Edit

The walkway was built to provide workers at the hydroelectric power plants at Chorro Falls and Gaitanejo Falls with a means to cross between them, to provide for transport of materials, and to help facilitate inspection and maintenance of the channel. The construction began in 1901 and was finished in 1905. King Alfonso XIII crossed the walkway in 1921 for the inauguration of the dam Conde del Guadalhorce, and it became known by its present name.[3] The walkway is 1 metre (3 ft) in width and rises over 100 metres (330 ft) above the river below.

Traversing a collapsed section in 2006

The original path was constructed of concrete and rested on steel rails supported by stanchions built at approximately 45 degrees into the rock face. It deteriorated over the years, and there were numerous sections where part or all of the concrete top had collapsed. The result was large open-air gaps bridged only by narrow steel beams or other supports. Few of the original handrails remained, although a safety wire ran the length of the path. Several people died on the walkway and, after two fatal accidents in 1999 and 2000, the local government closed both entrances. Even so, in the four years leading up to 2013, four people died attempting to climb the gorge.[4]

Current state of El Caminito del Rey, with the original pathway below and new pathway above

The regional government of Andalusia and the local government of Málaga agreed in June 2011 to share costs of restoration (including car parking and a museum) of €9 million. The project took approximately three years to complete.[5] Many of the original features remained in place.[6]

In March 2014, the cornerstone of the rehabilitation project was laid by specialized alpinists.[7] The walkway reopened on 29 March 2015, and Lonely Planet listed it in the best new attractions for 2015. The new pathway offers a walk of 2.9 km along the side of the gorge.[8]

In film Edit

In the film Scent of Mystery released in 1960, also known as Holiday in Spain there is a chase scene towards the end of the film that takes place on the Caminito del Rey where the hero (Denholm Elliott) and his cohort (Peter Lorre) are chased by the antagonist (Paul Lucas). At the end of the chase Paul Lucas is run down by a train in a tunnel that is also part of the Park complex.[9]

Some of the final scenes of the 1965 film Von Ryan's Express were shot at the confluence of the gateway and the railway.[10][11] In the film, they stand for the Italian-Swiss border. Some of the area's deterioration is directly attributable to the crashing of planes into the cliffs during the filming.[citation needed]

The Horsemen (1971) was shot on location in Caminito del Rey.[citation needed]

An extended sequence in the 2012 Spanish thriller The End was filmed on the Caminito.[citation needed]

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ The Rough Guide to Andalucia, 1995
  2. ^ Kim, Soo (3 April 2015). "Are you feeling brave enough? World's most dangerous footpath has reopened". Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 13 April 2015. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
  3. ^ Bryant, Sue (2007). Costa Del Sol. New Holland Publishers. p. 38. ISBN 978-1-84537-636-9. Archived from the original on 3 January 2014. Retrieved 7 October 2010.
  4. ^ "El Chorro Death walk cash plea". Euroweekly News. 24 January 2013. Archived from the original on 9 April 2016. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  5. ^ "La Junta pagará la mitad de la rehabilitación del Caminito del Rey". Diario Sur (in Spanish). 17 June 2011. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 30 June 2011.
  6. ^ "El Caminito del Rey recuperará su aspecto original tras las obras de rehabilitación". Diario Sur (in Spanish). 15 December 2010. Archived from the original on 1 October 2011. Retrieved 30 June 2011.
  7. ^ The Caminito del Rey will open Easter (29 March) 2015 Archived 2015-08-01 at the Wayback Machine 13 March 2014 (in English)
  8. ^ "Caminito del Rey (The King's Little Path) • SIDSNET (now (Nov 2018) a website comparing cordless drills)". SIDSNET. 19 April 2016. Archived from the original on 22 August 2016.
  9. ^ El Caminito del Rey en 1959, retrieved 16 September 2022
  10. ^ Mobilereference (2007). Travel Andalusia, Spain. ISBN 9781605010601.
  11. ^ "Historia del Caminito del Rey". YouTube. Archived from the original on 24 October 2021. Retrieved 26 May 2017.

External links Edit

36°54′57″N 4°46′22″W / 36.91583°N 4.77278°W / 36.91583; -4.77278