I Marcha de Senderismo

SAL Desbanda OnLYou may have heard of the Desbandá but if you haven’t it was the flood of refugees in 1937 streaming along the N-340 to escape fascist forces.

Obviously, during Franco’s time nobody talked about this sad chapter of the Civil War, much less about how many died and how they were killed, but with Democracy came a movement to commemorate the massacre.

When Franco’s forces broke through in Málaga, they pushed before them hundreds of retreating Republican soldiers and militia together with literally thousands of civilians who preferred abandoning everything than staying and facing reprisals.

They were pursued by armoured and motorised forces, dive bombed and straffed from the air, as well as shelled from the sea by a rebel cruiser – it was a prelude to the scenes on the roads of France and Belgium in 1940: frightened parents and bewildered children diving into roadside ditches at the sound of approaching planes.

For this reason, the Delegate for the Provincial Council and the Chairman of the Federación Andaluza de Montañismo have announced the I Marcha Senderista La Desbandá to be held at the beginning of February.

The commemorative march will leave Málaga on the 7th of February and should reach Almería on the 17th. These 260 kilometres will be divided into 11 stages. There will be three ceremonies along the way; one in each province along the route.

The first ceremony will be on the first day and will be in homage to Henry Norman Bethune, who was a Canadian doctor, who worked tirelessly to attend to the refugees along the way, using a mobile blood-transfusion unit.

Closer to home, on the 11th, there will be a ceremony in Salobreña next to the new Río Guadalfeo bridge, where a commemorative plaque stands, and will be in honour of the survivors.

It is a tragic spot because the panicking refugees were trying to cross the river when flood water came down and swept many out to sea.

The last ceremony will be held in Almería when the march reaches this finishing point.

The Chairman of the mountaineering federation has promised that members from all their clubs will take part, but the march is open to all, so if you do want to participate – you needn’t walk a whole stage – you can put your name down at www.fedamon.com

Finally, it is well worth reading the Wikipedia page on the Desbandá for further details

(News: Salobrena, Costa Tropical, Granada, Andalucia)

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