Martin in Gatineau Park

Martin in Gatineau Park

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

'Mine's a Coffee, Obrigado'

Despite the allure of a taxi for the day for €60 between the four of us, we chose a more traditional start to our week.

The 'town lavada' - Levada dos Piornais, has been bringing water to Funchal for 400 years. It runs about 100 metres above our hotel, so provides an interesting first day without the hassle of having to organise any transport.

Thus we spent most of the day on the increasingly narrow walkways that run beside and on top of the Piornais levada and the Levada Nova do Curral, both of which run deep into the Socorridos valley, high above its industrial floor.

I've never made it to the end of the Piornais path, and today was no exception. I baled out near a vertiginous bridge. Gayle got a bit further, and Mick and Sue made it a further 1km to a gate, beyond which the path is officially 'dangerous'.

The Curral levada narrows in a similar way, on the same hillside about 100 metres above Piornais. I bottled out on the Vereda de Santa Quiteria, but the others continued. Mick and Gayle, dressed in plimsolls, took to walking along the channel of the levada rather than risk falling off the edge.

They all turned back after a boulder detached itself from the rock face above, narrowly missing them and a German who had attached himself to the confident trio. Meanwhile, I lazed in the comfort of a wide section of path under vine trellises.

The rest of the walk passed relatively uneventfully, and with the assistance of Gayle's GPS we arrived back in daylight after a very satisfying 21km in 7 hours.

Alan, we may not make it up to Pico Ruivo as it's usually engulfed in cloud at this time of year - I did get up it on 11/11/07, if that's of any interest - the report will be one of my early postings.

Louise, time will be tight this week, and I've previously blogged about most of the places we'll visit, so please don't expect too much!

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