10 Feb

Photo montage by Karl Smallman

In April 2021 nine foreign residents of the Serrania de Ronda featured in a documentary on local station Charry TV

Journalist María José García asked these immigrants from Canada, France, Norway and the UK about what attracted them to this area and why they decided to live here full time, some for many, many years. 

They also talked about the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on their lives and were asked for their ideas on how to kickstart tourism in the area, once things with Coronavirus start to settle down.

3 years later - February 2024

All nine residents are/were either involved in tourism in some way and/or are writers, or Spanish teachers

Two of them also offer services to other foreigners who need help with translation, interpreting, gestoría, the law and officialdom in general. 

Applying for residency, getting a TIE, enrolling on the padrón, finding a doctor, opening a bank account, getting kids into schools, importing a foreign vehicle, interpreting at the hospital

You name it, there are people who can help you either free of charge, for payment in kind or for a small fee.

All nine who were interviewed in 2021 still live in the area. The aim of this article is to feature what Carolyn, Charlotte, Delphine, Heather, Julie, Karethe,Paul B, Paul W and Wayne are up to now, and to provide readers with links to their websites and contact details.


Several of our interviewees let property to visitors to the area through the Vivienda Rural system. Each property is registered with the Junta de Andalucía and is issued with a licence number. Rental properties are strictly controlled to ensure standards of accommodation and, in this Covid-19 afterlife, standards of hygiene are maintained. 

When the original interviews took place Carolyn Emmett, who lives in Montejaque with husband Kevin, had a second property in the village which they let to tourists. 

Since then they have been compelled to re-organise their lives owing to ailing health. “The last two years have been pretty challenging. I spend most of my time in a wheelchair because of a bungled operation,” said this Canadian citizen, originally from Stratford-upon-Avon, who has lived in the village since 2012. “We sold our two properties, our home and our rental house, and bought the old pharmacy in the heart of the village, which is more easily accessible."

Carolyn, together with Spanish friend Victoria, produced a guide to Montejaque in 2012, containing information in both Spanish and English about the area and with local, national and international recipes.

Copies are still available to buy at the Town Hall in Montejaque, priced at 10€.


Paul Bowles has lived in Ronda full-time for the last seven years and built a second house in the Barrio Padre Jesús in 2017. 

This former fruit distributor from London and his Human Resources Manager partner, Louise, decided to give up the rat race and plunge all their energy into their life and work in Ronda.

“We’re both learning the language as fast as we can and we feel we are making good progress,” said 58-year-old Paul

“I was happy to do my TV interview in Spanish to show that we are determined to integrate with the local people.”***

For details of Casa Clavero, a modern house in one of the oldest parts of town, click here


Paul Whitelock and his German wife Rita currently have two rental properties in Montejaque: Casa Rita, her former home, and Casa Real, a renovation project for Paul.

At the time of the TV interview,.Rita said: “Our last booking at Casa Rita was in February 2020, just before the first lockdown. All our subsequent bookings had to be cancelled or postponed indefinitely. We hope these unfortunate people will be able to come later in the year.”

Well, they were able to, and booking levels are back to normal as we enter the 2024 season.

For further details of Casa Real and Casa Rita, click here.


Also involved in tourism are husband and wife Heather and Wayne Pickering, who own and run Hike and Bike the Sierras, based in Ronda

They emigrated from the UK to start their business from scratch in 2012. The business developed well and expanded until the pandemic hit and wiped out all their bookings.

Along with the others above, Wayne is adamant that the future for them is in national tourism, ie Spanish people, who are a large market, already here and desperate to get away, and also in foreign residents of the country. 

Rural tourism in general, away from crowds and out and about in the fresh air, is one of the safest options at a time like the present.


Also focused on rural tourism, back in 2021, was Frenchwoman Delphine Duboys. She has lived in Spain for 29 years. She moved to the outskirts of Ronda from Madrid in 2020 after the Covid-19 pandemic left her and partner Fernando out of work.

“We already had a small place here near Ronda, which was to be our retirement home,” Delphine told me. “But because of the circumstances in Madrid we decided to bring our move to Andalucía forward.”

They started Paddock Paradise Ronda, based in La Algaba just outside the town.

Unfortunately, the business didn't survive the lockdowns, but Delphine and Fernando are still here, but working at other things.

Spanish language courses

Charlotte Wilmot and her Spanish husband Jaime López, a local boy from Benaoján 15 kilometres from Ronda, provide Spanish and English tuition through their company RondaLingua.

Jaime has been a Spanish teacher for more than 20 years and that is how the pair met – he was Charlotte’s  Spanish teacher!

Back in 2002, at the age of 27, Charlotte was going through a small existential crisis as Head of Human Resources at a hotel in central London, and when friends invited her to spend part of her summer vacation in Andalucía she agreed straightaway. 

The group passed through Ronda by chance, but an incident with the car they were travelling in forced them to stay in the City of Dreams (named so by the Czech/German poet Rilke who lived and wrote poetry in Ronda for several years in the 20th Century).

What began for her as a two-month adventure has been extended by 22 years after she married her Spanish teacher Jaime.

For details of Spanish courses at RondaLingua, click here or phone 951 35 08 17


Several of the interviewees are writers, journalists and bloggers.

Karethe Linaae, Norwegian-born, but a long-time resident of Vancouver Canada, came to Ronda in 2012 with her Mexican husband Jaime on a short visit and they are still here, fully-fledged residents of the Barrio San Francisco in Ronda.

“We simply fell in love with Ronda, the Barrio and the surrounding nature,” says Karethe. “It’s so different to North American urban life. However, in order to feel at home you need to integrate into society, make an effort to meet people, learn the language… This was probably the hardest part for me in the beginning.”

Karethe is the Editor-in-Chief of Det Norske Magasinet (the Norwegian Magazine) and a regular contributor to Essential Magazine (English), Society Magazine (English), En Sueco (Swedish) and La Danesa (Danish) magazines. 

Her book Casita 26 – Searching for a Slice of Andalusian Paradise is available in paperback and as an e-book on Amazon. The Spanish version of the book was published a couple of years ago, by Editorial Serranía.

For more information, please go to www.snobb.net  

(Email: karethe@snobb.net )


Paul Whitelock also writes. He is an accredited member of the Costa Press Club and when he first came to Ronda to live in 2008, he worked for a time at The Olive Press

He has also contributed articles to The Observer, Sur in English and the Euro Weekly News over the years. 

Paul has also written articles for the websites, www.secretserranía.com and www.theolivepress.es .  

Nowadays he focuses his efforts on www.eyeonspain.com and his own website, www.help-me-ronda.com.

He has a couple of books in preparation, one each on Ronda and Montejaque, both of which he hopes to publish in both Spanish and English.


Carolyn Emmett and Heather Cooper were also bloggers on the Secret Serranía websiteThey are now occasional contributors to www.help-me-ronda.com. Carolyn mainly contributes recipes, while Heather writes about cycling and hiking.

Julie Wilkinson has contributed to Secret Serranía, and latterly to www.help-me-ronda.com.

Translation and other services

Julie Wilkinson offers a range of translation and support services for foreign residents. This former university academic with a background in banking, computing and languages moved to Cañada del Real Tesoro (Estación de Cortes de la Frontera) in 2018, although she has owned a house there for 17 years.

Julie was attracted to the area by its history: “I was studying at Complutense University and wanted to know more about the history of the Moors, of the occupation. I also really like the interior, because I do not want to be in a touristy area, I wanted to get to know the authentic Andalucía and especially Ronda as a historic centre”.

Although the beginning of the pandemic was difficult for Julie, as she lived alone, she took advantage of the confinement to run errands for her neighbours and friends, and thus managed to feel useful and maintain her social life.

This led to the idea of offering her Spanish skills as a way of topping up her income. She offers a range of translation and support services for foreign residents.

Julie is also a translator for the weekly newspaper SUR in English.

Contact Julie for information on 744 606 503.

Paul Whitelock offers translation and interpreting services. He has also worked as a project manager for house renovations.

He is happy to help out friends, who either pay in kind or not at all! 

Please see Working for free? Why? Er… why not? Part 2. (eyeonspain.com) 

Paul can be contacted at paulwhitelock@hotmail.com or via WhatsApp: 636 52 75 16


Note: The whole Charry TV documentary, La Serranía de Ronda: un rincón con encanto para quedarse can still be viewed on YouTube.

Click here: Foreign residents in the Serranía de Ronda on the box - a follow up - Secret Serrania de Ronda 

* The email will not be published on the website.