Photo Essay: Man vs Nature on the Caminito del Rey

Malaga province’s Caminito del Rey achieved fame and infamy for  being one of the most dangerous walking tracks in the world. Closed down for years after two rock-climbers fell to their deaths, the Caminito has now been restored and reopened to public access, allowing visitors to safely stroll through the canyons and valleys through which the track winds.

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As you take in the landscapes, spot the mountain goats and vultures, look down from dizzying heights, you also appreciate the immense human effort which went into creating the now defunct service track, once built to construct an early hydro-electric power station which functioned by carrying water horizontally through an aqueduct before plunging it down a hundred meters or more into a turbine.

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The track is now an immense museum showcase of labour in the twentieth century, a testament to human ingenuity, to the eternal battle between the forces of man and  the forces of nature. Through the canyons runs an early railway line still servicing Malaga, its bridges and tunnels occasionally perforating the immense rock formations.

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When the hydroelectric project was first conceived, electricity was a luxury product. So valued was this new commodity that thousands of men were moved, enormous sums of money spent, and this mad project was completed. The search for, the harnessing of, and the distribution and storage of electricity, of energy, remains the central challenge of the modern economy, still moving millions of men and billions of dollars.

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