Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Short Walk in Arico

Today, I have been walking in Arico, which is one of my favourite hiking areas on the island. The scenery is truly stunning and whenever I've walked in the area I've usually had it to myself as the region does not seem to be on the radar of the majority of hikers visiting the island. 

One of the reasons for this is probably that there aren't really any circular routes from the villages of Villa de Arico or Arico Nuevo without a trek lasting many hours. On this occasion, I drove high into the mountains from Villa de Arico along a potholed, narrow strip of tarmac that winds up into the mountains to the recreation zone of El Contador. This road is not for the faint hearted and is in itself an experience to be remembered. 

The recreation zone at weekends and fiestas fills up with locals who drive up into the mountains to spend the days playing and making use of the barbecue facilities. For my walk, I followed a trail into the mountains from El Contador, which climbs from Villa de Arico into the Las Cañadas National Park but as I was only planning a trip of around three hours, a lot of the hard work was avoided, although there was still a stiff ascent of around 1,300ft. 

As I climbed, the views down to the recreation zone and beyond to the Barranco de Tamadaya were truly breathtaking. In every direction, high forested mountains soared into the deep blue skies while down towards the coast, white puffs of cloud added an attractive feature to the scene. 

After a little over an hours climbing, I reached the Casa Forestal where I stopped for a rest break and to enjoy the breathtaking views. From here, there was a just a short climb before I descended back to the recreation zone after a short three hour walk that certainly wasn't short of spectacular views.

Thanks to contributor SJLW on Wikiloc for the GPS track

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Pennine Way

Jacob's Ladder

My trip to the UK to walk the Pennine Way last month didn't go exactly to plan. I had intended to walk the whole route but a number of problems with my camping equipment, which included a leaking tent caused me to review my plans. I abandoned camping in favour of using guesthouses, which meant that I finished around the halfway point in the tiny village of Keld in Upper Swaledale, as my budget wouldn't extend to using them for the whole route. This, coupled with the difficulty in booking rooms for a single night/person during a bank holiday meant that without the tent, I decided to split the walk into the Pennine Way south and north. I will return to the UK, possibly next year, to complete the northern section. You can find an album of photos taken on the walk HERE

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Tenerife in Bloom

Tajinastes in Vilaflor

Recently, I have been training in the Tenerife hills for my imminent Pennine Way hike in the UK by carrying my rucksack weighing around 13 kilos, which is roughly what I'll be carrying on the walk. During my training I have been impressed by the beautiful floral displays I have seen on my walks, which as most of them have been in the south of the island has only highlighted that despite what many people believe, the south of the island is not a barren wasteland, good only for sunbathing or propping up a bar. The area around Vilaflor has been particularly stunning this year, helped no doubt by the rain in the winter and reinforced by a rather late season day of rain a couple of weeks back, which left Teide with a covering of snow in April! The Vilafor/Ifonche region has been a riot of colour with the dominant bloom being the California Poppy, although there have also been plenty of Corn Poppies as well. In the main plaza in the centre of Vilaflor, there were fine displays of the red Tajinastes just coming into bloom when I paid a visit the other day. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Emptying the Bucket List - Walking the Pennine Way

Much as I love day walks, there is something special about doing a multi-day, long distance trail and having completed a number in the UK in the past, including most recently the Coast to Coast walk, I decided it was time for another challenge. In July 2011, I walked the Coast to Coast with a friend who used to live here in Tenerife and we had a great trip, taking 13 days to cover the 190 miles from the Cumbrian coast to the North Yorkshire coast at Robin Hoods Bay.

High Cup Nick in the Pennines

I have had a 'bucket list' of walks I want to complete for many years and decided towards the end of last year that it was time to cross another off and it was the Pennine Way that I turned my attention to.

This National Trail, as the name suggests, stretches for 269 miles along the Pennine hills that form the 'spine' of England, starting at Edale in the Peak District and finishing just across the England/Scotland border at the village of Kirk Yetholm, after a grand finale that consists of a tough 27 mile crossing of the Cheviot Hills.

Once I had made the decision to do the walk, I contacted my friend Alan, who had accompanied me on the Coast to Coast to see if he was interested in joining me. Initially, Alan agreed to join me but later decided that he wasn't fit enough and because of work commitments, wouldn't have the time to do any training, which means that my trip has now became a solo one.

I have previously walked the Coast to Coast route solo in 1998 so have experience of spending time in the hills alone, so I wasn't too phased by Alan's decision. When walking these trails, they take on a life of their own and for a couple of weeks, you become totally absorbed in the day to day trials that the walk throws at you, including weather and fatigue, among others. For me though, the fascination with walking a trail such as this is the feeling of being totally immersed in the countryside and this feeling is magnified by being alone.

After doing some research, I decided to start the walk in May as statistically, May & June enjoy the best weather in the Pennines, although of course, there are no guarantees. I will be setting off from Edale in the Peak District on May 14th with the intention of camping as often as possible, partly to keep the cost down but also to increase the feeling of being a part of my surroundings. I am aiming to complete the walk in 16 days, plus one rest day, although this is flexible to take into account unforeseen circumstances.

Because of the terrain I will be passing through, I will often be out of range of a mobile or wi-fi signal, but whenever I can, I will be updating my 'Tenerife Rambler' Facebook  page with my progress, for anyone that is interested. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

'Winter' comes to Tenerife

Roque Imoque and the snow capped mountains of Las Cañadas

Here in Tenerife we have, at times, had quite a cool 'winter' with decent amounts of rainfall, which in the higher regions fall as snow. This weekend saw wintery conditions in the mountains and northern parts of the island, although here in the south, the 'bad weather' resulted in no more than a handful of showers in an otherwise sunny day. Today, (Sunday 16th Feb) I have been out walking in the Ifonche region and the weather was quite superb with clear blue skies, although, because of the altitude, it was quite chilly at times. The area looked particularly attractive with a backdrop of snow covered mountains above the pines. Of course, when the weather is bad in the mountains, this can be quite dangerous at altitude and over the weekend a group of walkers had to be rescued while trying to climb to the summit of Teide. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Last Walk of 2013

New Years Eve saw beautiful weather across the island and I took the opportunity to check out some alternative paths above the tiny village of Las Vegas in the south-east. This is a scenically stunning part of the island and it looked particularly good as I set off into the hills, the recent storm having left the countryside looking very green. One surprise on the walk was the sight of almond blossom in bloom in the Barranco de Las Vegas, which is very early as it normally appears sometime during late January. Here are a few photos from the walk.

A stone oven used for drying fruit and baking bread

Friday, November 29, 2013

Walking in Arico

View from the Lomo de Tamadaya

This week, I walked from the beautifully preserved village of Arico Nuevo to El Contador, high in the mountains above Arico. The walk, which was quite strenuous, is around 20 kilometres long, took 7.5 hours and involved around 4,600ft/1,400 mtrs of ascent. After leaving Arico Nuevo, I followed an old camino real to Villa de Arico from where I picked up the PR -TF86 path to El Contador, a recreation zone/barbecue area in the pine forest. From there, I followed another branch of the PR-TF86 back to Arico Nuevo. The scenery, particularly around the Roques de Tamadaya is stunning. Below is a video of photos and video clips taken on the walk. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

A walk around Cabezo del Viento, Anaga, Tenerife

View to Teide from Mirador de Jardines

I started this walk from the stunning Mirador de Jardines viewpoint from where I had breathtaking views across to the peak of Teide as puffs of cotton-wool like cloud threatened to obscure the volcano. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

A Circular walk from Los Cristianos to Montaña Rasca

The coastal walk from Los Cristianos to Punta de Rasca passes through the Malpais de Rasca, a protected volcanic area on the southern tip of the island. After climbing the cliffs from the seafront the early part of the walk follows the Guaza plateau before dropping steeply down to the beach at the resort of Palm-mar. From here, the path through the malpais is followed to the lighthouse at Punta de Rasca, which is a good spot for a break. From here, the path carries on along the coast to the coastal town of Las Galletas but on this occasion I was heading inland to the volcanic cone of Montaña Rasca. The path continues through the malpais passing numerous spurges and prickly pear plants before climbing steeply to the summit marker. From here there is a superb panorama of the coast as well as excellent views inland of the summit of Roque del Conde and Teide itself, the summit of which is just visible peeping over the caldera wall. From Montaña Rasca, a trail is followed back down passing vineyards to the road and the Palm-mar arch. After a short walk along the road, the route strikes off again on a path onto the Guaza plateau for the second time. After crossing  the plateau, a path descends back down into Los Cristianos.

 Los Cristianos as seen on the climb to the Guaza plateau

Friday, July 12, 2013

Chinyero and Montana del Estrecho

Montana Chinyero, with Teide & Pico Viejo in the background

In 1909, to the north-west of Teide, the last ever eruption on the island took place. The cinder cone of Montana Chinyero was formed during this eruption and a circular walking route of 5.7 kilometres was renovated and signposted in 2009 to mark the centenary of the event.