Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Cala San Pedro.. The Spanish Scoraig? | Almeria, España 2019

Situated in a secluded cove on the remote coast of Spain’s Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park, can be found the village of San Pedro.. 

Populated by a mix of hippies, seasonal travellers, and a small number of full-time off-grid residents, it can be accessed either by walking in several kilometres on the cliff path, or by boat from the nearest village, Las Negras. Sound familiar? Having spent a couple of summers in the remote community at Scoraig on Scotland’s rugged highland coast, and being in the area I just had to go and check it out..

The location of San Pedro in Almeria.. the red pin shows where I was staying in the van.
No, I don't think Uber can get you there!

This is as far as it's possible to get by car.. beyond here the path is mostly narrow with some sheer drops, 
not unlike the route in to Scoraig. You might be able to go part way by mountain bike.. 
We walked from our viewpoint camp above Las Negras village.

Good rest spot above Cala San Pedro, the beach and castle clearly visible behind us..

The first place you come to as you descend the path to the cove is the 16th century castle..
In this breathtaking location, it was built to defend the bay from North African pirates 
who frequently raided this coast line. Already I could see a few alternative dwellings nestled
around its crumbling but exceedingly thick walls.

This signpost welcomes the traveller to the village and lays down a few simple courtesies..

I stand by the first of the natural springs.. 
Guests and residents use this area for drinking water, and bathing in the open bath.
There is another spring by the community centre building.

I pass the first substantial dwelling on the way down the track..
Obviously there is plenty of sun here all year around for solar power, and wind too, 
though the cove provides shelter from the stronger winds on this coast.

Entering the main valley.. there is a very peaceful feeling, reminiscent of Aldous Huxley's 
utopian novel 'Island'.. 
Children practice martial arts in a clearing..

Looking down to the idyllic beach, we've found a piece of paradise.. again!
Even though it's a Spanish holiday weekend, it's not very busy.. 

People enjoying the beach at San Pedro..
clothes are very optional here..

The castle as seen from down on the beach..

Playful sparrows on the beach, so tame they ate from my friend's hand..

The 'bin lorry' departs for Las Negras..
I found the cove to be extremely clean, and well kept.
Although part of Parque Natural Cabo de Gata-Níjar, 
the hippies and temporary residents are accepted by the local authorities.. 

A rudimentary 'Buddha' meditates on a rockface as I eat lunch in the afternoon sun, after a swim..

A few photos of the dwellings and shelters to be found around the area of the cove..
 In this climate all you need is a tarp and some driftwood to create a temporary abode.
It rarely rains here..

The region of Almeria is one of the hottest and driest parts of Spain, and is part desert, and to cultivate any edible vegetables or raise livestock requires a great irrigation infrastructure as is seen around the tomato plantations, inland near Campohermoso. Here however, I saw little evidence of anything more than a few salad vegetables and fruits growing, as the springs could not irrigate anything more. Fishing however, is possible and there are many small fishing craft off these shore every morning. Scoraig however has a much larger settled community of crofters who cultivate many vegetables and also raise cattle and sheep as is traditional in the highlands of Scotland.

Some beautiful flowers edge the path as we leave the settlement..
bear in mind that this was February..

Looking south, back from the castle in the direction of Las Negras..

Climbing out of the cove, the path passes below some spectacular cliffs..
I'd not like to walk this way in the heat of summer, today it was 24°c..

The path winds its way back to 'civilisation'..

Relaxing back at the vans at our vantage point camp
on Ruta San Pedro..
Las Negras is visible behind us to the south..

My diary entry from that day..
Note the February temperatures, and sunrise/sunset times..

How do the residents make a living here? Unlike on Scoraig there is no internet available, and there is also no mobile signal for connection to the outside world. It would therefore not be easy to operate any kind of computer based business from San Pedro. Those who live here are those of independent means, or making a living selling handicrafts of leather and shells to the day trippers and other visitors. Also, mostly in summer stalls selling food and drinks are set up to take advantage of the tourist trade. Throughout the day, many small craft can be seen ferrying visitors and residents back and forth to Las Negras, and also most larger items and supplies are brought in by boat in the is way, much like on Scoraig. 

So there are many similarities, but also differences between the two places; in my opinion Scoraig is much more advanced even though both places have existed in an 'alternative' format for a similar amount of time.. since the 1960's. For example there is no school here. Obviously the climate is hugely different here and the near desert conditions make San Pedro a more difficult place to develop. The climate, particularly the summer heat also leads to less activity and an even more laid back approach to life. San Pedro is actually less remote than Scoraig as its not such a long way from the city of Almeria, or the resort of Mojácar to the north. There is a small supermarket/shop in Las Negras where most food items can be purchased, and I daily 
saw people bringing stuff back and forth in their backpacks. No one has caught on to the wheelbarrow as a form of transport that I could see!

For comparison you might like to read my original article on kayaking to Scoraig in 2013, 
just click here:

Take care, and see you soon!

No comments:

Post a comment