When I first learned about the remnants of local mining and ore exporting industry on the edge of Garrucha. I promised myself to make the journey inland to Bedar, whose mines were linked by rail to the descagador on the shore outside Garrucha. Finally, this afternoon I got around to making the trip. From Los Galliardos, at the edge of the coastal plain near the A7 autovia, the road winds steadily up a green valley into the Sierra de Bedar. The village stands at over 400m with immense views of the entire plain, and Mojacar Pueblo perched a mere 150m up in the Sierra Cabrera above the sea.
I carried on driving up the road beyond the village, that goes to the even higher village of Lubrin over the other side of a mountain pass. It's a breathtaking switchback of a climb. I'd hate to have to drive it in really wintry weather. But, on this bright, warm and breezy autumn afternoon conditions were well nigh perfect for getting photos of the plain beyond Bedar from above.
Bedar isn't easy to spot from the plain below. It was established in a relatively secluded position, and seems to not to have had defensive fortifications. The streets are winding, steep and narrow, and the 17th century Parish Church of Nuestra Señora de la Cabeza and San Gregorio Nanzianzen nestles among streets in the higher reaches of the village. It was shut, as ever in siesta time.
I read an article earlier in the week about two French geology students who were researching local mining history here last year, and had re-discovered tunnels thought to be an underground section of the cable drawn tram railroad carrying ore to the coast, as an improvement on the overhead cable and bucket system commonly used. The latter I remember well, as it was used for building mountains of useless mined coal shale from deep underground and ruining the landscape when I was growing up in the Valleys. As spoil tips grew and changed shape, pylons could be abandoned or moved to deliver spoil to ruin new sites, a cheap and mobile option. The railroad to the coast was point to point, worth investing more in developing. It's amazing that new mining technologies can extract marketable minerals in situ and leave the spoil underground where it belongs. My Dad and Grandpa would be amazed, and very glad to see this.
As I'd set out rather late after lunch, my visit was not a lengthy one, as I wanted to pick up some more cerveza sin alcohol on my way and be back before dark. There's a good deal I didn't see in Bedar, and as it's not very far away, I think I'll make another visit before I leave.