a hike to san pedro – or – the day I nearly killed the black dog

The abandoned village of San Pedro lies just an hour or so walk from either Las Negras or Cala Plomo. Reachable only on foot or boat and surrounded on all sides by steep, rugged cliffs, the village was abandoned by it’s original residents not so long ago and has since been appropriated by hippies.

We took the cliff path out from Cala Plomo with the black dog in tow – ironically on what turned out to be the hottest and stillest day yet. Sensibly enough we stocked up with water and lunch – following the guide book’s advice that there were no supplies to be found enroute. It was however hot, really quite hot (about 30° we’d find out later), and we’d barely passed the half way mark before the black dog had lapped his way through almost his entire water supply. I did start to wonder if we’d made a horrible mistake.

The steep descent down into the village was made in amongst the crevasses of bright white limestone rock. And the view opened out to a sheltered aqua marine cove, a small, lush slice of valley, shanty little buildings scattered back from the beach and an old crumbling castle perched on the western flank.

As we walked down through the village towards the beach we struggled to keep the black dog under control, who having spotted the sea fancied his chances of drinking the whole damn thing – and we all know what happens when a black dog drinks salty water don’t we? If you don’t, count yourself lucky you’ve never had to deal with this particular situation.

Luckily there was a tap just before the sand. And judging by the lush little gardens and veggie plots there was plenty of fresh water in supply (Rough Guide take note).

In fact despite being a hippie domain the place has been really well organised. Long drop toilets have been dug, with little red flags on reed poles to identify them. The idea being that a tree will be planted in each when a new hole is dug. Plus it keeps the place clean and tidy – and requests to take litter home with you were dotted about. There was even an area marked out for visitor camping, and a couple of shack style bars – we saw the beer supplies being brought in by boat to the beach.

The village itself is a warren of little walk ways, snaking under fig trees and around established and more makeshift casas.

Climbing upwards, towards the castle we stumbled across a shady little spot where a fresh water spring gushed out into a large basin carved into the rock. We poked around the castle a bit, which had amazing views west along the coast and sheltered in the shade by the water, dousing the black dog down – waiting for the temperature to drop before heading back to Cala Plomo.

When we did it was about 4 o’clock and whilst it seemed a bit cooler, and we replenished our water supplies before setting out, the steep ascent up the cliff away from the village was in full sun, with the heat bouncing off the rock on all sides. To say I was a little warm is an understatement, so I can only imagine what it must have felt like being a 77 year old, with a bit of a limp, wearing a fur coat onesie. And the black dog was definitely showing some signs of lagging.

As soon as we’d scaled the worst of the climb and found a little palm to provide some shade we all crouched under it and necked lots of water. After having a serious drink the black dog just crashed out. Right there on the little path. And for a few moments I wondered if I might have just finished him off, the poor chap.

The good news is he was just taking a well deserved and intense 40 winks – a sort of shut down to cool his system and replenish his energy. He did get up, and taking a very relaxed pace we all made it back to Plomo alive. Thank goodness!

And the lesson I’ve learnt from the whole experience? That we all live up to our stereotypes from time to time – mad dogs and Englishmen.






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