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Sunday 4 December 2016

Are you feeling brave enough? World's most-dangerous footpath has reopened

Tourists walk along the 'El Caminito del Rey' (King's Little Path) footpath on April 1, 2015 in Malaga, Spain. 'El Caminito del Rey', which was built in 1905 and winds through the Gaitanes Gorge, reopened last weekend after a safer footpath was installed above the original. The path, known as the most dangerous footpath in the world, was closed after two fatal accidents in 1999 and 2000. The restoration started in 2011 and reportedly cost €5.5 million
Tourists walk along the 'El Caminito del Rey' (King's Little Path) footpath on April 1, 2015 in Malaga, Spain. 'El Caminito del Rey', which was built in 1905 and winds through the Gaitanes Gorge, reopened last weekend after a safer footpath was installed above the original. The path, known as the most dangerous footpath in the world, was closed after two fatal accidents in 1999 and 2000. The restoration started in 2011 and reportedly cost €5.5 million
Tourists walk along the 'El Caminito del Rey' (King's Little Path) footpath on April 1, 2015 in Malaga, Spain. 'El Caminito del Rey', which was built in 1905 and winds through the Gaitanes Gorge, reopened last weekend after a safer footpath was installed above the original. The path, known as the most dangerous footpath in the world, was closed after two fatal accidents in 1999 and 2000. The restoration started in 2011 and reportedly cost €5.5 million
Tourists walk along the 'El Caminito del Rey' (King's Little Path) footpath on April 1, 2015 in Malaga, Spain. 'El Caminito del Rey', which was built in 1905 and winds through the Gaitanes Gorge, reopened last weekend after a safer footpath was installed above the original. The path, known as the most dangerous footpath in the world, was closed after two fatal accidents in 1999 and 2000. The restoration started in 2011 and reportedly cost €5.5 million
Tourists enjoy the view from the 'El Caminito del Rey' (King's Little Path) footpath on April 1, 2015 in Malaga, Spain. 'El Caminito del Rey', which was built in 1905 and winds through the Gaitanes Gorge, reopened last weekend after a safer footpath was installed above the original. The path, known as the most dangerous footpath in the world, was closed after two fatal accidents in 1999 and 2000. The restoration started in 2011 and reportedly cost €5.5 million
Tourists walk along the 'El Caminito del Rey' (King's Little Path) footpath on April 1, 2015 in Malaga, Spain. 'El Caminito del Rey', which was built in 1905 and winds through the Gaitanes Gorge, reopened last weekend after a safer footpath was installed above the original. The path, known as the most dangerous footpath in the world, was closed after two fatal accidents in 1999 and 2000. The restoration started in 2011 and reportedly cost €5.5 million

The world's most dangerous walkway has reopened to the public for the first time in 14 years.

Southern Spain's 3km cliffside path, built 100 metres above the Desfiladero de los Gaitanes gorge, was closed in 2001 following five deaths in 1999 and 2000.

Daredevil tourists continued to try their luck along it, prompting local officials to launch a €3m scheme 10 years ago to renovate it.

Now that a glass floor has been installed and the final planks laid, the walk was reopened this week.

John Kramer, a local who walked the path in April 2013, remembers it being "completely insane".

DIZZYING

"One of the most worrying things on the day of my previous walk was the safety cable had snapped a month previously - an Italian climber fell over 80m and miraculously, not only survived, but walked away unscathed. Needless to say, it didn't inspire much confidence."

He is so sure that the new path is safer that he intends to take his family along with him to try it.

"The opening is exciting," he said. "It's now time to visit with my children. I just hope its popularity with day-trippers won't ruin the area too much."

The 110-year-old walkway, just outside the village of El Chorro north west of Malaga, has been fixed with a new wooden pathway and equipped with safety lines and steel bolts for visitors, who will have to wear helmets to walk across it.

The dizzying path, set above the Guadalhorce River, will be open from Tuesday to Sunday in the summer and winter.

Entry will be free during the first six months, with nearly 30,000 tourists already booked to brave the new pathway, according to local media. Public transport between the start and end of the walkway is being improved too.

The Caminito del Rey (the King's walkway) was completed in 1905 and was used by construction workers carrying goods to the Guadalhorce dam.

Its royal association came when it was inaugurated by King Alfonso XIII in 1921.

hnews@herald.ie

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