Elías Bendodo emphasizes institutional co-operation on a historic day for the reconstruction of the path El Caminito del Rey
The County Council President praises ‘the recovery of one of a kind beauty spot for citizens’ during an event at the gorge – El Desfiladero de los Gaitanes.
The building company Sando from Málaga is in charge of the works with the budget of 2,244,000 euros. They aim to open the boardwalk at the beginning of 2015.
County Council President Elîas Bendodo emphasized the co-operation between institutions as a key to rebuilding the path – El Caminito del Rey. The works on at the gorge – Desfiladero de los Gaitanes started after decades of failed attempts.
The building company Sando from Málaga is executing works with the budget of 2,244,000 euros, provided by the County Council. They aim to open the boardwalk at the beginning of 2015
Mr Bendodo attended the first stone foundation at the beauty spot with the Mayors of Ardales, Álora and Antequera – Juan Calderón, Josê Sánchez and Manuel Barón, as well as with the Government Subdelegate in Málaga and other civil and military authorities from the area of the Guadalhorce Valley and the Province of Málaga.
The mountaineers who are going to work on the boardwalk were responsible for placing the first stone. This is the same hanging boardwalk which was crossed by King Alfonso XIII in May 1921 when he opened the Count of Guadalhorce’s Reservoir. From that moment, a service way for the workers of the Hydroelectric Company El Chorro, built between 1901 and 1905, got a name it kept until today – Caminito del Rey (the King’s Little Pathway).
‘This is a historic day. It is necessary to conquer this new space for all who would like to enjoy it because the Province of Málaga cannot forget this unique spot. This is a heritage that has to be used and to be alive’, said the County Council President about El Caminito del Rey, which was closed for decades because it was damaged and dangerous.
Two Decades of Attempts
The president has reminded that the first attempt of reconstruction of this hanging trail was in 1992. After that, the County Council of Málaga has been the head of this initiative, which had many administrative obstacles.
For the last ten years, there have been attempts to improve the collaboration between the government, the Andalusian Regional Government (Junta de Andalucîa) and the County Council. According to Mr Bendodo, the project went through tourist development plans, reconstruction projects, surveys and reports requested from the company Egmasa, and a long-term plan which was approved in 2009, ‘but there were always some obstacles until now’.
‘What is important is that today is an historic day because we achieved to fulfil our political duty, and kept the promise given to this province and its citizens’, he added. The County Council President talked about the manifest, signed by all he institutions which participate in the project, which should support the development and promotion of El Caminito del Rey and the surroundings ‘as a financial resource of the present and the future of the Guadalhorce Valley and the province’.
The Mayor of Ardales thanked the County Council for their role in getting the project move and said that the existence of a common aim between these governmental bodies is ‘very important’. The Mayor of Álora has pointed out that El Caminito del Rey will be an ‘economic engine’ and thought it was essential to involve the private finance initiative. Finally, the Mayor of Antequera said that the boardwalk ‘will be an important part of a great nature tourism offer of the zone’.
Mountaineers at the Gorge and Helicopters
The reconstruction technique that will be used in the case of El Caminito del Rey will be the same as the one used between 1901 and 1905 by the employees of the Hydroelectric Power Company El Chorro to build the boardwalk. Following this method, workers hang on the wall of the gorge in order to install the parts of wood and fix them onto the wall. ‘What is different is that pulleys and rudiments are changed into modern security measures, and the use of helicopters for carrying materials.’ Mr Bendodo explained.
The hanging trail is 1.2 km long, although El Caminito del Rey is 4 km long, and it will be made of wooden parts and moorings which are going to be fixed onto the rock after it is drilled. Some sections will have glass floor so the visitors could see the gorge. Moreover, control cabins are going to be built as access points at the both ends of the path in the municipalities of Ardales and Álora to improve security measures.
The project is to be executed in 2014 and 2015. The County Council of Málaga approved the budget for both parts of the project on 21st February during an extraordinary general meeting in Ardales. This year’s budget is 1,652,332 euros, and 591,769 euros are to be used next year. This means that total investment is 2,244,101 euros.
‘This is an historic day that we will always remember because finally political decisions and joint work of institutions allow us to progress towards our goal, which is important for the Province of Málaga and its citizens’, Mr Bendodo had concluded before the first stone was placed at the gorge by the specialized mountaineers.