11 March 2015

Gran Canaria walk 15th Feb 2015 Artenara to San Nicolas de Aldea

The final walk of my week long trip was planned to coincide with staying in Las Palmas near San Telmo guagua station so that I could catch the 220 "Sunday bus" which leaves at 8.15 am and goes right through to Artenara without changing buses (but with a handy 20 minutes coffee break at Teror).
Quite a long walk through the mountains to the west side of the island today ,with the need to keep going in order to catch the 17.30 bus back from Aldea via Galdar along the north coast.Otherwise it would mean waiting for one at 19.45 via Puerto de Mogan on the south coast with a late evening return to Las Palmas.

I arrived at Artenara at around 10.20 and had time for a coffee and cake before setting off on the path to Degollada del Sargento.Most guidebooks treat this as the start after a taxi ride from the village but I was quite happy to walk for the extra hour and then chip away at the timings on the rest of the route.
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Looking west over Vega de Acusa

First of many views over to Tenerife

Roques Nublo and Bentaiga

The path follows the ridge across Risco Alto to a route junction  before Altavista where the old camino to Aldea then sidles above a ravine on the north side of the mountain and after following a lower ridge becomes less obvious on the ground with the way being marked by occasional cairns.

Altavista from the north

A rude shelter

The path then crosses moorland before passing through some strange mineralised areas on the final descent to Aldea.The town is surrounded by vast numbers of  rather ugly looking "greenhouses" which presumably help to grow our winter salads.

Aldea from Degollada del Morro de las Tocinas

San Nicolas de Aldea

 I'd made quick work of the day's walk and arrived with masses of time to catch the bus.San Nicolas had very much a one horse town feel about it with only one bar open,so after locating the bus stop I settled down for a couple of beers and watched most of the Barcelona match on the TV. The 101 bus to Galdar is only large minibus size to cope with the narrow winding roads on the side of the steep northwestern coastal cliffs.Once it reached Puerto de las Nieves I was back on familiar ground and on arrival at Galdar shortly after seven only had a short wait for the connecting bus for the half hour journey back to Las Palmas.
A pretty good day altogether with the weather and timings working perfectly.

Gran Canaria walk 14 Feb 2015 San Bartolome to Ayagaures

I always try to pack light so that I can combine walking and bus journeys when moving from one area to another during my trips.As this usually amounts to hand baggage only it also means cheaper flight costs,fewer delays when leaving the airport ,and less packing and repacking.
Today's plan was to take the old path from my hotel above the town, across the Degollada de la Manzanilla pass and then down to the village of Ayagaures inland from the Maspalomas/Playa del Ingles resorts before catching the bus back to Las Palmas for the last two nights of my holiday.
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Looking back across La Caldera de Tirajana

Nearing the pass
Looking back down the path

View south from the pass

My original plan had then been to follow the lower path via Las Tederas but pre trip research had suggested that this route might be closed due to landslips,which proved to be correct, so I took the newly signposted higher route which is more direct and well worth doing in it's own right.

Forest fires ravaged this area in 2007 and the vegetation is still recovering

Casas de Tagmastal

Ayagaures Alto and the reservoirs

View down the valley from Ayagaures

In the past the guidebook route took you to Los Palmitos zoo park but the approach path is now closed off.So it now means either a taxi from the village or a further walk down the valley to the bus stop. Caught the 45 bus to Parque Tropical bus station in Playa del Ingles and had a couple of well earned beers with a view of the playa before getting the 30 bus back to Las Palmas to stay at the Parque Hotel again.

Playa del Ingles

7 March 2015

Gran Canaria walk 13 Feb 2015 Cruz Grande,Embalse de Chira,cavehouses,La Candelilla

Caught the same bus from San Bartolome as yesterday but this time just up to Cruz Grande and then followed the paths and tracks west which take you round the head of  the Barranco de la Data and along a level track above the Chira reservoir and down to the village of Cercados de Arana.A much more arid landscape than the greener north or around the higher mountains villages where the almond trees thrive.
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casa forestal below Cruz Grande

Looking south to tomorrow's walk
Lavender on the hillside

Chira dam

In some ways the combination of arid rock and reservoirs is reminiscent of the Spanish Pyrenees.
I felt a bit arid too but unfortunately the local bar in Cercados has been closed since 2009 so I had some of my picnic and water before setting off up between the sugarloaf peaks to the north to reach a hidden ravine where there are a number of cave houses.

I had plenty of time before the 5.15 bus from the main road about an hours walk away so read the book that I'd bought with me and had a snooze in the warm sunshine.During my rest some friendly partridge were pecking around nearby.

The variety of vegetation increased further up the ravine and got into the almond tree belt.Rather than wait around for the bus at the main road junction I walked for another quarter of an hour along the road to La Candelilla bar where I'd had coffee yesterday.But today it was coke ,beers and a york jamon and queso bocadillo which I ordered from the friendly bar owner in my best Spanglish.