Martin in Gatineau Park

Martin in Gatineau Park

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Paul do Mar

A great day out on Walk 49 in our 3rd edition Rother guide.

The descent from Prazeres to the fishing village of Paul do Mar was 500 metres down a lovingly restored classic cobbled path in a vertiginous valley.

Whiffs of rain occasionally splattered us from cloud clinging to the centre of the island, but we remained in sunshine. 

A grey wagtail led us to easier ground, past a naked gentlemen leering towards the Americas, and to welcome refreshments from the Bar dos Pescadores. Then a walk between houses that reminded us of Staithes led to a blustery seafront where the spray from crashing waves mixed with the rain coming seemingly from an empty sky. Expert windsurfers demonstrated their skills.

It was a 640 metre climb up to the Levada Nova, which isn't all that new as it dates from before 1953. It's lined with concrete rather than the more familiar stone, so it does actually look new.

Another lovely paved path took us up to the levada, half way up which we paused for lunch at a viewpoint where an old wheel remains from a conveyor belt system for moving goods. Prickly pears provided the foreground for photos back to Paul do Mar, which is pictured above from near the start of the walk at Hotel Jardim Atlantico, which also sports fine views towards the Statue of Liberty. 

We met a few folk today, including a couple of large guided tours on the levada. Also in evidence were some very chatty charms of golfinches. Kestrels and buzzards were in attendance. Swifts, lizards and dragonflies made guest appearances - the lizards in particular were waiting for the first chance to hoover up our lunch crumbs. 

The 8 km or so of levada walking was an absolute delight. The Levada Nova enjoys an open aspect with good sea views. The only downside was that I arrived back at Whitey rather battered with a grazed knee and no shoes. Never mind, the soles of my Merrell shoes had after all parted company with the uppers. My claim to have been mugged was treated with the derision it deserved. 

Luckily, we returned to Funchal after this 19 km stroll (in a little over six hours) to find our fridges full of beer. It being our last night, that situation had to be remedied.

Next stop - Timperley. 

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