HE has been compared to travel writing legends Bruce Chatwin and Jan Morris, but all Guy Hunter-Watts wanted to do was walk.
A man, never happier than high in the mountains of Andalucia, passed away over the weekend.
The prolific author of a series of walking books on Andalucia – and a seminal hotel guide – died after he came off his bike and reportedly suffered a head injury on a windy road near Ronda.
Hunter-Watts, a keen naturalist and bird watcher, straddled the high passes of Andalucia like a Griffon vulture.
A regular contributor to the Olive Press, his 10 books marked the very best hikes and walks around the region.
An ‘iconic’ figure, he arrived in Ronda in the 1980s ‘while hitchhiking’ and initially set up home ‘camping in a tower’ overlooking the famous Tajo gorge.
He knew every nook and cranny of the Andalucian uplands and diligently noted each stage and key points along the way.
His most recent book, Trekking the GR7 in Andalucia (published in 2021) took him from Tarifa to Puebla de Don Fabrique where Granada enters Castille.
The international footpath that eventually ends in Athens, spans 1225 kms of Andalucia and by his estimation ‘takes 34-42 days to complete’.
No rural hotel or guest house would be without at least a couple of his tomes.
His celebrated guide, Small Hotels and Inns of Andalucia, first noted the best rural gems of the region two decades ago.
As Vejer hotel owner James Stuart explained: “Guy was an interesting, fun and loveable character with a passion for Andalucia’s wilderness and mountains.
“He always had an interesting anecdote or an observation about flora and fauna and he never stopped promoting the best of Andalucia’s nature.”
The Califa Hotel boss added: “His charm, humour and love of a party will be missed by many.”
Fellow hotel owner Manfred Bodner, of La Donaira, near Ronda, agreed: “He was one of my guiding light figures when I started orienting myself in the backwaters of the Serrania.
“His optimism, generosity and deep knowledge of his beloved Andalucia made him this outstanding guide and ambassador that he truly was.
“I always jokingly labelled him the Bruce Chatwin of Andalucia – and it was not the looks that merited the comparison. Passionate walkers, dedicated writers and after all, deeply English, in the best sense.
“We will miss him dearly, the laughter, the music and the wit he always so generously shared. May his last walk be eternal.”
Guy was killed riding his e-bike home on the high mountain road between Montejaque and Montecorte, where he had a farmhouse, El Tejar, which doubled as a guesthouse.
He was rushed to hospital where he was kept on life support for over 24 hours to allow his family to be informed.
He will be cremated in Ronda this week with a small gathering afterwards in Montecorto village.
If anyone wishes to send regards or get more information contact Pom at Fuente de la Higuera hotel, in Ronda, or email email@example.com.
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