Stage 1.18: Motril – Castillo de Baños, Spain

In which I take a coastal road with stunning views, luncheon like King Arthur, and ask drivers to remember runners are squishy.



I leave Motril behind on another sunny day. I don’t mind leaving; I don’t like really like Motril. Admittedly I’ve mostly seen it only on New Year’s Day, when most things are closed, but still, it’s not really my place.

Looking North, the ever-present mountains frame the horizon, the sun highlighting the fields. It’s not too hard to find shade along here; in other places, the strong sunlight is extreme and tiring.
I begin to follow a most magnificent coastal road. The sea appears through breaks in the rocks, or sometimes is visible for kilometres on end.
Now and then I round a corner, and see a bay curve around, the sea washing up on the beach. Most beaches have just a few people; I can’t speak for summer, but in this season, it’s certainly easy to find a quiet spot to yourself if you want one.
I begin to encounter more farms, which continues for this whole section of coastline.
Another tunnel. I’m coming to expect these along this section; it seems every run has some. At the entrance to each tunnel, there’s a sign with headlights on, and at the exit, there’s a sign with a big question-mark after them.
More farms. Road-running is so much more tiring than running a reasonable-width path; the heat radiates off the surface so you’re cooked from above and below, and the surface is unforgiving.
I peel off to the beach, briefly. This one’s bigger, and more busy than the others—but not exactly crowded.
Much like King Arthur, I eat breakfast overlooking the Mediterranean. Resting my feet, my socks make a bid for freedom in the wind, and head towards the sea. But they lose confidence a little closer to the edge, and are coaxed back easily.
Continuing along the road, with kilometre after kilometre of sea washing up against the rocks. The road might be hot, but I wouldn’t miss it; this route is absolutely amazing. It would be perfect for cyclists; it’s like something straight out of a film (or real-life…).
The motorway runs mostly parallel, high above and to the north. I am glad that this road is the one nearer to the cliffs; it would be a shame to miss the views. Clearly, I’m on the better path (not that there’s much choice).
A light at the end of the tunnel. And all that.
Oh look! More sea. I doubt I could sort many of the photos from the various coastal stages; it looks much the same. But I’m not tired of it.
The road begins a gentle descent, and this is fun to run. Heading along such a coastal road downhill is a wonderful experience.
Life spreads out mountain-wards, the colours picked out in the strong light.
More green, for a change. The beach is back, but I keep to the road. The beach is too tiring for such heat, and there’s not much point, as I’d only have to rejoin the road again at the next bend or so.
I’ve have some company for a while; another runner. Going uphill, we’re about matched; I wonder to myself about some mechanics, considering how much extra effort the backpack is causing me to make on the gradient. On the level, it’s easier to speed up. Downhill, I easily outrun them, but I keep stopping to take photos.
Such as of the local animals, through the fence. I’m collecting a menagerie of roadside animalistic experiences, now.
Down to sea-level. I keep having to switch sides, because of visibility around the bends of the road. Even if the side is slightly wider to the right, I usually prefer to run on the left, so I can see what’s about to hit me. But most drivers pass safely, some leaving lots of room. Now and then, however, a car speeds so quickly and narrowly I am forced to step to the side. But thankfully such idiots are rare. Please be careful around runners. Driving quickly past them is scarier and more dangerous than you might imagine; remember they’re squishier than you, and might slip on some loose gravel or trip over a stone…
I arrive at Castillo de Baños, which is basically a tiny village in the middle of nowhere. It appears to have one shop, and maybe a couple of restaurants. That’s pretty much it. Checkpoint. 31.1 km (stage) / 512.1 km (total)