19 June 2012

Walking in the Footsteps of Troops - Ruta 1212 La Senda Ballestera

La Senda Ballestera is a new tourist route following the footsteps of the Christian troops before, during and after the Batalla de los Navas de Tolosa Navas Tolosa battle. At the moment there are two stages open with the intention of the path eventually marked up to Navarra.

The route was named after the Cofradía de los Ballesteros de la Vera Cruz de Vilches who was part of the taking of the castles of Baños de la Encina and Vilches. After the Christians gained control the local churches would walk to Navas de Tolosa and Santa Elena every year to celebrate the victory of the cross.

Baños de la Encina Castle


This year the pilgrimage was reinstated to coincide with the 800th anniversary of the battle. The path will be marked, just as the Camino de Santiago is signed with shells, to guide walkers to their destination.

The path and first sign goes from Viso del Marqués in Ciudad Real to Santa Elena in Jaén via the Despeñaperros Natural Park with many signs along the way depicting the local flora and fauna. The second leads to Vilcheño Castle, both stages can be done on foot or by 4x4 vehicles.

The path will be well walked on 16th July to mark the day in 1212 when Christian troops from Castilla, Aragón and Navarra joined forces to defeat the Caliphate Almohade Al-Nasir in battle.