Martin in Gatineau Park

Martin in Gatineau Park

Saturday, 8 November 2014

The 25 Springs

Today we drove along the coast to Calheta and then up a hill to Rabaçal.

Meanwhile, Pat went on a short walk from the hotel to loosen up for another bout of authoring.

A light mizzle up at 1200 metres was at first ignored by us, but when Dave produced a brolly the mizzle turned to rain. We were in a cloud. It was probably clear and sunny up at 1800 metres.

After walking down to the big forestry house in the middle of nowhere at Rabaçal, we headed down to the Levada do Risco and onwards along the easy path to the Risco waterfall, a long thread that wends its way down a cliff face.

Retracing our steps, we soon descended to the popular Levada das 25 Fontes. The gang is pictured here, with Dave sporting his brolly that most of the time looks like a satellite dish. The path was busy. The levada was full of trout. Chaffinches could be fed by hand. Heather trees were everywhere, as were many varieties of lichen. Coachloads of folk seemed to be coming back from the 25 Springs, which turned out to be an amphitheatre of small waterfalls. Photos were taken in the rain. My phone had camera shake and my wet weather camera was on the sunset setting. Boo hoo. 

A continuation of this levada was thankfully quiet, as most people are guided directly back to Rabaçal. So we found a sheltered, albeit drippy, spot for lunch.

Returning along the busy path, we soon found a steep zigzag route down to the next levada - there are at least four levels hereabouts - the Levada da Rocha Vermelha. This was a superb levada, and we didn't see anyone else on it. We walked along it for some way, passing a long tunnel, the Seixal tunnel, whose exit several kilometres away was just a pinprick of light. 

Vertigo got the better of Carol, but the rest of us continued a good halfway towards Adeneiro. Returning along the same beautiful path, we admired succulents on the levada walls and rejoined Carol near the cave that marks the way back up to 25 Springs. 

We chose to continue on this lower level before taking a steep ascent path near a tunnel. After that a right turn along the 25 Springs levada soon brought us to a huge tunnel, the exploration of which will have to wait.

Then a final steep haul up to the forestry house found us indulging in €3 fares for a minibus ride back to the car.

Our walk had covered about 15 km, with around 400 metres of ascent. 

Coffees etc at a good café next to the  Jungle Rain Café (closed for refurbishment) on the plateau warmed us up, as did the steep 1000 metre descent in Whitey back to the coast road. For a change, we were back at Savoy Gardens before dark, and for the first time, there was room for Whitey in the car park.

Keith and Carol even found time to walk into Funchal. 

Later - the Madeiran buffet was excellent - full of local delicacies like Scabbardfish.

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