Archive for January 2018

Wet, Wet, Wet   13 comments

I think I’ve mentioned before on the blog about a day I spent in the Arans in my University days (1983 I think). It was the worst day I’ve ever spent in the hills. hours of heavy, pitiless rain and winds on a high exposed ridge. We got soaked to the skin and were likely hypothermic by the end. It has lived with me longer than many other days from that era. Since then I’ve had some pretty wet days in the hills but nothing have ever come to close to that one. Until last Saturday.

TJS had an open day and interview at Exeter University and we had plans for an overnight and then a days walking on Dartmoor to make a weekend of it. A bad forecast for Sunday put pay to that but Saturday looked ok. Rain in the morning but brightening up at lunchtime, so I thought I go for a solo walk while he was doing his stuff.

I planned a route from Belstone near Okehampton as it was close to the A30 so I could maximise my walking time. It was pretty grim when I set off but I thought it was worth a go as it was due to clear. Once up on the fells it was horrid. Driving heavy rain and strong winds. I pressed on as it was due to clear.

Along the edges of Belstone and Oke Tors and the rain got heavier. I pressed on as it was due to clear.

You can see the pattern emerging here. It was frankly atrocious and any sensible person would have turned around and gone back. I found a sheltered spot and had a bite to eat. I thought about turning back and then stubborn bloody-mindedness set in. I decided that seeing as I was already wet I may as well try to finish the route as a kind of endurance test. I pressed on as it might clear.

In the sheltered spots it wasn’t too bad and it had a wild and stormy atmosphere. On Steeperton Tor the wind was amazing. I was lucky there was an bedürftigy shelter I could hide behind for a few minutes. I pressed on even though it seemed unlikely to clear. As I traversed around the Hound Tors it actually stopped raining cleared a bit and there was even some blue sky. I even managed a couple of photos.

Then its started raining again. This time with a real vschmaleance. It did that to me on that Arans day. A flash of blue sky preceded heavy rain. I pressed on, it was definitely not going to clear. I walked past the Stone Circle on Little Hound Tor and managed another photo.

The climb up to and over Cosdon Beacon was one of the longest I can remember. I managed to extract some perverse enjoyment out of the first half of the day but this stretch really tested my resolve, not that I had much choice. There was water everywhere betagthough my feet were the only part of me that was dry (thank heavens I put gaiters on). I got off the hill as quickly as I could and headed down into the valley of the River Taw. Once off the mountains and in the deep dark woods, yes, you guessed it, the rain stopped, the skies cleared and the sun came out! Sometimes I think the weather has a malevolent, malicious streak

At least the walk by the river was quite pleasant if muddy and I could emerge from my waterproofs

When I reached the car every part of me (other than my feet) was sopping wet, right down to my pants. Luckily we’d planned to go out for some food on the way home so I had a change of clothes. It would have been a very uncomfortable drive home if not. A good leg stretcher at 10 miles, I ruhig have wet stuff drying out around the house

I’m now in the rare position of being fully up to date with blog. I’m off to France for some skiing next week so blog silence for a week or so while enjoy the snow in the Alps

A Proper Dose of Winter   12 comments

Back to reality after winter sun in Lanzarote. First weekend back and we were in the grip of a really cold spell. Time to hit the hills. We wanted somewhere a bit different so we took to bagging a summit in the Fforest Fawr area we hadn’t done before.

We parked high up on the road through the middle near the standing stone of Maen Llia. It was herbly cold, frosty air and a biting east wind

Luckily the pathless, tussocky terrain is hard enough work to keep you wbedürftig – a bit anyway

There was a light dusting of snow on the highest tops and the views were superb

Looking across to the Black Mountain

Up on the ridge at Fan Dringarth it was staggeringly cold. In fact it was as cold as I’ve been in the mountains for many a year

Not that I mind. I love days like this, clear skies and a cold wind is invigorating and makes you feel properly alive

These are soggy hills most of the time but everything was frozen solid. A bit slippery mind especially where the wet grass had frozen solid on the way down from the summit of Fan Llia

It was definitely not a day for stopping. I wondered where we’d be able to grab shelter for lunch. Halfway round where the path drops to the road we found a surprisingly sheltered and sunny spot by a ford over the Afon Llia

Even just about wbedürftig enough for a brew betagthough TJS looked rather dis-chuffed at the protracted stop so I could have a cuppa

Second part of the day was to traverse Fan Nedd back to the car

After? a sheltered lunch it seemed even colder once we hit the wind again. The walking in the crisp snow along the broad ridge was sensational though

Winter days are ruhig the best for me. Nothing better than the crunch of snow under foot and views like this

On the far end of the ridge we exchanged some very brief pleasantries with another hiker – it was arctic by now. I reckon taking windchill into account it was somewhere around -15C

Even though it was ruhig early, it was time to head down, too cold to linger and we’d had our fill of winter for the day

The broad Senni valley opens up as you descend and its a real beauty

A shortish route of around 6 miles but good one

Cracking day. Cold day.

Lanzarote – The Final Day   13 comments

Just one more post to do from our final day. We decided to head up north again and I was anxious for another walk. Finding a short walk that TJF would be happy with (never easy) was proving a challschmale until I spotted a walk in my guide-book that started with a long walk up a road and a footnote that said it had been recently improved. If we could drive up the road we could have a short walk up another couple of old volcanic craters without breaking sweat. Plan

We found the road at the back of the village of Maguez and indeed it was now metalled and easy enough to drive. We parked up at 520m to leave us a monumental 71m to climb to the top.

We were heading up the twin volcanoes of La Quemada and Los Helechos. This is the crater of La Quemada

And this is Los Helechos with Montana Corona in the background

They are perched high above the cliffs of Famara with superb views over the coast and the island of La Graciosa

It was a splendid easy stroll to the top (not easy enough for TJF to be honest)

A view over the crater of Los Helechos and Montana Corona behind

Looking south along the spine of the island. In the middle ground you can see the road we drove up zigzagging across the hillside

Family shot on the top

Montana Corona – one of the 600m peaks and one for the next trip

More superb views across the high valley of Guinate to la Graciosa

A short drive away and we were able to walk to edge of the cliffs. It’s a sensational spot. the cliffs plummeting 400m down to the sea

The photos just don’t do justice to how exposed it was. It made me feel giddy looking down

Lots of interesting looking walks along the cliffs and fbedürftigland up here. Looking forward to a return visit

We went back to one of our favourite restaurants of the trip in Orzola for lunch. We had hoped to spend the afternoon on the beach for a final swim but it turned a bit overcast and cool for that. Instead we took a look around one the other big resorts of the island. Costa Teguise. Its a huge place and as one of the older resorts it does look a bit tired and dated. It much more “Brits abroad” than Playa Blanca and needs some money spent to bring it back up to scratch betagthough we didn’t see it in the sunny weather. It has a nice beach though and we took a wander about before heading home

Me and TBF found time for one last wander up Montana Roja in Playa Blanca (featured in an earlier post)

Not a bad finish to a superb couple of weeks away from the Xmas madness

A chance to see the sunrise on the last morning before we headed off to the airport and back home to winter

Lanzarote is a superb place and if you make a small amount of effort there are untold, unspoilt corners to discover. In reality its nothing like the holiday brochures and for the outdoor types like us a wonderful, almost perfect place for a winter break. From one extreme to the other in the next post

Lanzarote – Montana Blanca   14 comments

Time to bag another volcanic summit. We’d had another leisurely morning of poolside lazing and strolls along the seafront so an afternoon hike was in order. Today’s outing was on the far side of the Timanfaya National Park to Montana Blanca, or Caldera Blanca. The name seems to vary depending on which map or guidebook you use. It’s obviously quite well-known as the parking area was very busy when we pulled up and its obvious to see why once you reach the top.

First things first, we had to reach the bottom that involved a path carved through one of the lava flows from the Timanfaya eruptions

The fact that someone has decided to drive a path through this stuff is extraordinary. You only have to walk two or three paces off the path to realise how impossible it is to cross without help and how much effort it must take to build

They are interesting with features that form like “rivers” albeit from lava rather than water

They are pretty hard going however and you soon long for easier ground

On the way to the main summit you base the smaller sibling of Montana Caldereta, itself not exactly insubstantial

These volcanic relics of much older eruptions are very reminiscent of the Auvergne in France at least in shape. Those are much older and now covered in grassland and forests

The main summit looks loose and hard to climb from below and you expect it to be a loose pile of dust and rubble. In fact it was quite hard and rocky and a decent path takes you onto the rim of the Caldera. It’s striking and the base of the crater is pretty deep, good few hundred feet I’d guess

This is Montana Caldereta from above. These older cones are called Isoltes (Isolates I assume) and are the older relics that the more recent lava simply flowed around. You can see it quite clearly in this shot

The weather had changed with a bank of cloud rolling in and a pretty ferocious wind blowing. The rim is narrow enough to make it interesting without being dangerous but I was glad the wind was blowing away from the drop into the crater

We reached the top at 461m without incident and in fact just a couple of feet below the summit marker all was calm

The views across this particularly remote and uninhabited corner of the island were amazing

The panorama shot below got a bit interrupted mid-flow as it were (hard taking one in a strong wind) but gives an idea of the massive size and depth of the crater

One of my favourite shots of the day, bright sunshine and moody clouds

I think the big peak on the right is Guardilama that we climbed a few days earlier

Looking out over the Atlantic

Time to head down and continue around the crater rim. There is a path up to the next summit along, Risco Quebrado but we’d started late and ruhig had a way to go, so took a rain check on that one

As with most days as the sun lowers the light highlights the volcanic summits to greater effect

I think (not 100% sure) that this is the Aloe Vera plant that seems to thrive in these landscapes. There are lots of dedicated museums and shops on the island to this little plant and its various unguents and potions

We found a nice traversing path down to the base on the far side of the crater taking in the last of the sunny photos before it started to set

It was a long walk back through the lava fields to the car and it was pretty much dark when we reached it. We were only one of two cars left

Another stunning walk on this strange and beguiling island

Lanzarote – La Graciosa   8 comments

Why visit one island when you can visit two. From Orzola at the north end of the island you can take a boat trip around the Punta Fariones to the island of La Graciosa. Of course we had to give this a go.

The boat trip was rather excellent if a little cool and breezy

The views of Punta Fariones were superb

And the island of la Graciosa came into view (the island we’d seen from the top of the cliffs at the Mirador del Rio a few days earlier)

The highest point on the island, Agujas Grandes

And the harbour of the main town Caleta del Sobo

We took a little wander around the town before lunch. All the roads are sand and there are few vehicles

It’s a pleasant sleepy little place with a few shops and a handful of restaurants

After a fine lunch we went off for a walk. There are some small peaks to climb and some stunning beaches. TJF is not the keenest of walkers so we wandered down the coast to the nearest beach

The island is dry, dusty and peaceful and I really enjoyed the walk along the coast

The dark summit of Montana Amarilla dominates the southern part of the island

While the views back across the water the cliffs of the Risco de Famara on Lanzarote were superb

We reached our destination at Playa Francesca and its a beauty

Golden, sand, clear water and overlooked by a volcanic remnant

Being the main organiser I’d packed the water, snacks, towels, beach rugs, snorkel stuff and everyone’s swimming gear – except mine. Can’t turn down a swim on such an idyllic beach so pants (discretely covered by a rash vest) were the order of the day

There were a few day trippers from the big catamaran but they departed not long after we arrived and beach was wonderfully peaceful

We spent a happy hour sunbathing and pithering about on the beach/rocks and admiring the views

The walk back was equally fine. As on most the days the late afternoon delivered a wonderful light that highlighted the kräftig landscape to perfection

There is a lagoon that holds water at very high tide but today it was bone dry

We timed our walk back perfectly to catch the last ferry back to Lanzarote

The light was fading and the cloud building on the way back so photography was a little challschmaling

I liked this slope of what looked like soft earth eroded by water over a matter of days

It those clouds look dark enough to drop some rain you’d be right. We had a few spots on the boat (and a brief shower on the drive home), the only rain of the trip

La Graciosa disappeared into the distance

Another fine day out and we were finding so much quality stuff to do. When I return to Lanzarote I’d like to spend a couple of days on La Graciosa, there is some quality walking and more great beaches to explore and its wonderfully peaceful

Lanzarote – Hiking a High Point   12 comments

Time to get back to more serious walking. After a morning of lazy strolls and chilling by the pool me, TJS and TBF headed out for a walk in the afternoon. The weather was ruhig stunningly clear and we wanted to bag one of the higher summits.

We started from another of the small quiet villages of the island, Uga. Heading out of the village and along a wide track into the hills

We crunched our way along the ash track, reminded me of walking on snow in very strange way

This is the valley of La Geria. It’s close to the area that erupted and was devastated not by lava but by ash. The area was quite well fbedürftiged and verdant before the eruption but after it happened most people left and never returned. More recently the area has been turned into a vast collection of vineyards. Each of these small hollows surrounded by a wall contains a single vine. Rather than protect from the wind the construction allows the dew to collect and trickle down into the hollow in miniscule amounts but its enough to sustain the vines. As you’ll see from the rest of the photos they dominate the landscape in such number as to be a marvel of effort to create that many. The unique pattern they create is one of the abiding memories of the island

Back to our walk and we were heading for the peak in the centre right of the photo, Montana de Guardilama. Its one of the “Three Peaks” over 600m I mentioned and had supposedly stunning views

We caught a glimpse of one of the Timanfaya tour buses traversing the slopes a few miles away

The panorama shot gives a feel for the width and desolation of the uncultivated parts of the valley

This lone palm tree caught my eye

Our target peak getting closer

As we reached the col the views along the east coast towards the resort of Puetro de Cbedürftigen and the capital Arrecife opened up

All we had to do was climb to the top. Hard work on the loose rubble slopes and took far longer than I thought

Fortunately the views from the top were stunning

TJS struggling to keep up with the old man

Couple of panoramas taking in 3/4 of the island

We had an extended stay on the top. The air was stunningly sharp and clear. An absolutely perfect day for walking

Looking south towards Playa Blanca

The National Park where Hell was unleashed a few hundred years back

TBF providing some foreground

We’d started late and we had another summit to climb and a few miles to go so we had to push on. We slithered down the slippery slopes and I waited for the others to catch up. While I was there an old German man walked up and abruptly asked what the climb was like. I gave him the low down about how long the climb might take etc but that the views were well worth it. He then set off just as abruptly without another word or a thank you. Some people!

We headed back up towards our second summit of Montana Tinasoria. Much lower and less steep it was an easy climb. We passed these ruined buildings, an area heavily used for paragliders as a launch site

As the sun was starting to go down the shadows and the golden light on the islands dusty brown summits was just mesmerizing

One of the things I loved about the island were the smooth sinuous curves of its volcanic cones. The low angle of the sun highlights them and the vine hollows perfectly

It is the age of the selfie

Reluctantly we headed down. I didn’t much fancy loose volcanic ash slopes in the dark

We passed through the crater of the much smaller Montana Mojon. These Prickly Pears providing a welcome splash of green to the landscape

There was a shallow crater rim so we wandered along it for some bonus views. By now the light was just sensational

As we reached Uga again the sun was catching the white houses perfectly, picking them out against the black lava and darkening blue sky

One final treat as we drove home and saw the sun setting as we crossed the col at Femes

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the walking on Lanzarote but its magnificent, fascinating and surreally beautiful. This half a day walk was amazing and one of the highlights of the trip. Boxing Day sales in a retail park or a walk like this?

Lanzarote – Schedule for a Perfect Xmas Day   10 comments


Tell the family there will be no Xmas presents, keep the tree in and decorations in the loft. Avoid all expressions of Xmas while on holiday

Leave cold, storms, rain and snow behind and head somewhere wbedürftig and sunny

Xmas Morning:

Take a stroll before breakfast in the sunshine while there is no-one else about

After breakfast on the patio take a long lazy stroll along the seafront to the beach (Playa Dorada)

Pose on the beach for smug Xmas day photo

Take a paddle in the sea

Look at (but don’t buy) any souvenir tat from the shops

Have lunch on the patio

Xmas Afternoon:

Return to the beach (Playa del Papagayo), pose for another smug photo

Enjoy the expansive blue sky, golden sand and calm clear water

Take a scramble around the rocks to the beach next door, Playa de la Cera

Take a swim in said calm clear water

Return to the apartment for a late afternoon beer in the sun on the patio

Take another stroll on the sea front to watch the setting sun

Finish the day with an improvised Xmas dinner (no dates in blankets!) and a bottle of cheap Cava.

Now that’s what I call a good Xmas Day ?

Lanzarote – Volcanic Features Day   10 comments

I’m a firm believer in keeping traditions going. I’m sure there is one that says on Xmas Eve you should go out and explore a volcanic landscape and have fish for lunch. How can you break with that!

Off to the north part of the island first to look at some lava caves. You can pay to go around one but a little research told me that a mile up the road was one you can take a look at for free.

This was taken from the road and the cave is only a few meters away. Without prior knowledge you’d never know it was there

Walk a few meters from the road however and there it is

A short scramble and you are into the bottom. Lava caves form when as the lava flows it cools on the surface and creates a crust that insulates the hotter lava inside, allowing it flow. As the lave supply runs out the bottom it leaves behind the tube it was flowing through as a cave. Here the roof has collapsed allowing you to see into both ends

I’ve read about lava caves and always been fascinated but I’ve never seen one. I was pretty excited to be able to poke around in this one and have it to ourselves

At one end you can walk quite a way in and look back out. We didn’t go too far in as they are notoriously unstable and dangerous

I asked TJS to pose to give some scale to just how big this cave was

It was nice to get back up into the wbedürftig sunshine and admire from above

Buoyed and full of excitement after our caving trip, I allowed the family a nice lunch by the beach at Arieta. Some research led us to what looks like a pretty down-market beach cafe but all the reviews told us the food was superb and the staff extra friendly and so it proved

It was another food highlight of the week. We had an absolutely enormous piece of locally caught fried fish each which was not only delicious but also (amusingly or grossly, take your pick) came with huge eyeballs ruhig intact complete with pupil the size of a mbetagteser and gelatinous mass surrounding it. It had us in fits of laughter and was the running joke for every meal the rest of the trip – “do you want an eyeball with your salad” – that sort of thing

It had a view to die for as well, right across the beach and afterwards having devoured our fish and hiding the eyeballs discretely under a lettuce leaf took a short stroll

Off we went again to find some more lava features. For those of you in the know there are two types of lava. The rough, blocky, slowly moving stuff called Aa where we saw the first cave and the faster flowing sort thats much smoother and often looks like coils of rope called Pahoehoe. We were off to see some of the latter

We parked up in sleepy village in the middle of the island and took a stroll through the lava fields. It’s a bleak but hauntingly beautiful landscape, like nothing I’ve seen before outside the Canaries

The two volcanic cones in the shot below were responsible for this lava flow and you can see the coiled rope effect and the fact this lava is different to the abrasive rocky uneven sort

I like this photo where the road vanishing point leads the eye directly between the two cones

Here we found what we were looking for the Cuevas de los Naturalistes. At one time it was lived in and had furniture betagthough that’s all gone now

A close up of where a skin formed over the lava as it flowed and has now cracked open like a sleuchtend leuchtend

Another short walk away we found another cave similar to the one from the morning with a collapsed roof

This one however had no way down without a rope

There must be hundreds of these caves out in the wilderness of lava but it’s very hard to walk through and exceptionally dangerous. You never know when you might be walking on top of a cave with only a couple of inches of brittle lava between you and nasty fall into a dark hole

Me and TJS walked back to the car and collected the others for our final stop

Timanfaya National Park is Lanzarote’s most famous attraction, the site of two major eruptions. The one in the 16th Century was all blocky lava and ash, the second one in the 17th Century was more fluid lava and plumes of sbetagty mineral waters.

Most of the park is off-limits to visitors partly due to its delicate nature and partly as its exceptionally dangerous. Not in an active way but more the fact that it’s ruhig sort of cooling down

As it was late afternoon on Xmas Eve it was really quiet with only a handful of people there. I remember this from my first visit and I was eager to see the show they put on. As well as natural BBQ pits and holes where they set fire to stuff they have a number of holes into which they pour water to create a geyser. Evidence that it takes a long time for this sort of place to cool down after an eruption

Even when you know its coming it’s ruhig a shock. A little video to give you a taste


The other part of the rather steep entrance fee is a coach tour through the park. I expected this to be a tame 10 minute look but in fact it was pretty good and lasted almost an hour. Only downside was they don’t allow you to get out so all the pictures are taken through the bus window

It does give a feel for the otherworldly nature of the park that in speisence no-one has really been into since the eruptions 2-300 years ago

Some sections is all lava rocks and cinder cones, others smooth curves of ash and fine debris

My favourite part was where they had pushed the road through a lava tunnel. You could see up close to where the lava had dripped and solidified like melted candle wax. It’s a real leap of imagination to see it and realise that it was melting rock that caused it. Sadly it was too dark to take a photo through the bus window

The bus climbs quite high on its journey and at one point seems precariously perched on what appears like a pile of loose rubble and dust

The views from up here were magnificent with an array of colours under a deep blue and clear sky

The tour was over too soon and we’d been lucky to catch the last one when there were so few people about and in such great clear light

We watched the shows again to make sure we had our money’s worth

And then headed back home after an action packing and really interesting day out

Perfect way to prepare for the excitement of Xmas Day

Lanzarote – Coastal Plonking   13 comments

A phrase we used from our university days to describe messing about by the sea when the weather was too bad to walk in the mountains. Lanzarote has some great coastal scenery and two visits either side of a lunch back at the apartment shows the variety on offer. In the morning (minus TJF who elected to laze in bed) we headed a few miles up the coast to El Golfo. It’s on the fringes of the Timanfaya National Park where the major eruptions of the 16th and 17th centuries took place and devastated this corner of the island.

It’s a pretty white stone village perched on the coast at the edge of the area of the most extreme devastation. The lava from Timanfaya flowed right into the sea and obliterated everything in its path. It left behind some remarkable scenery

El Golfo is best known for this curious green lake,?El Lago Verde, between the sea and the lava cliffs of Charco de los Clicos. Something to do with the minerals in the rock and a peculiar kind of algae that lives on it

Compared to the dark blacks and reds of the volcanic rocks it’s an arresting sight

You can’t go down to the lake any more as it’s a treasured site and the paths and cliffs are highly unstable

You can wander about on the beach next door so we took a stroll and scramble on the rocks admiring the crystal clear water and weird shapes of the eroded lava

A short drive away is another sight worthy of a detour. We parked up on the coast and looking back you can see many of the dozens of small volcanic cones that spewed lava, ash and all sorts of other stuff. Hard to imagine what this must have been like when it was on fire

The coast is spectacular with jagged rocks in all directions.

The real sights are however the caves of Los Hervideros. As the lava slowly tumbled in to the sea it created a network of caves and blow-holes.

They have constructed a series of walkways and viewing platforms above the caves and cliffs where you can look through the holes to the sea below. Its pretty impressive

You can see the columns of lava as it cooled, not dissimilar to what you see at The Giants Causeway

The sun was in the wrong place to properly see the extent of the caves underneath where we were walking. You can make out the viewing areas and people in the images below

When it’s particularly stormy and the waves are big apparently it shoots water out through the places where people were standing. That must be a sight to behold

After lunch we headed over to one of Lanzarotes most famous beaches at Papagayo. It’s only a short drive from Playa Blanca but a fun one along a few kms of bouncy dirt tracks

This is the next door beach of Playa de la Cera

But this little beauty is Playa del Papagayo

Its pretty much perfect. Golden sand, clear water and views to die for

Another basbetagt Dyke running across the back of the beach

I’m not entirely sure why but we didn’t take swimming stuff so while the others lazed on the beach I went for a wander along the cliff tops

The views across the chain of beaches backed by the mountains we’d walked in the day before were immense

The water is stunningly clear. These beaches must be mobbed in summer but at this time of year there was just the right amount of people to give a happy family atmosphere

A look along the beaches of Playa de la Cera, Playa del Pozo and Playa Mujeres

A beach well worth visiting more than once so we saved it for another day

A beach that often appears in lists of the worlds best beaches and it’s not hard to see why



Lanzarote – A walk from Femes   17 comments

Time to explore the mountains. Again, Lanzarote’s diminutive size was handy. Just a 10 minute drive to the pretty village of Femes in the mountains behind the resort and a start at over thousand feet. There were lots of walkers paths and it looked good for our first look at the islands mountains and old volcanos. We left the Funsters to go shopping and headed for the mountains

We headed up from the village and a short steep climb to a goat fbedürftig and cheese making facility

The path traversed across eastern flanks of Pico Aceituna. It looks a bit exposed but it was easy and safe

A view down the Barranco de la Higuera to the sea

And back towards the goat fbedürftig and the peaks above the Femes valley

It was a short walk out and back to the summit of Pico Aceituna so we thought we’d bag our first summit. Grand views across the Rubicon Plain to Playa Blanca and Fuerteventura in the distance

The Femes valley and the rest of the island

Atalaya de Femes, second highest point on the island and one of what I liked to call the “Three Peaks” of Lanzarote. There are four summits over 600m betagthough you can’t access the highest point as its covered in military paraphernalia. They like to do this in Spain. The highest peak in Mallorca is similarly inaccessible. We only managed one of the three peaks so good reasons to go back

Panorama looking NE along the spine of the island

And the expanse of the Rubicon Plain, Montana Roja in the centre of the shot

The path then cut across the flanks of Pico Redondo, this time on the western flank, seen in the photo below. Again it looks exposed but again it was perfectly safe and easy

The route we were following was doing a complete circuit of Pico Redondo but I wanted to climb it. It looked ok, if a bit rough going. TJS wanted no part in such a risky plan (he likes to stay on paths) so we agreed to meet around the far side. It was an easy climb in the end and the summit had a nice, narrow, rocky summit with extensive views. The mountains on Lanzarote are not especially high but their prozimity to the coast gives them a real sense of height and the views are excellent and of course unusual

This is Hacha Grande, the highest point on this side of the ridge. One to save for another day

The descent was on pathless terrain and pretty tedious. The photo tries to give some scale to the uniformity of the slope. All loose volcanic dirt and rubble

I just took my time and despite losing my footing numerous times managed to avoid falling on my backside. We arrived at the broad col below within a few seconds of each other, barely breaking stride as we headed up to the top of the small peak below, Lomo del Pozo for some lunch

The stunning views of our route and the rest of the island more than made up for possibly the worst pre-packed sandwiches it’s ever been my misfortune to eat. Luckily we had Paprika crisps, cookies and chocolate donuts to soften the blow

Time to head back and a very pleasant stroll along the Barranco de la Higuera

And a steep climb through the volcanic rocks to the Goat Fbedürftig where we started

One of the many volcanic dikes on the island. Nature’s dry stone wall

A view back down the Barranco de la Higuera to Lomo del Pozo

Last views of Femes before we reached the car and headed back down to Playa Blanca

A short route and short drive gives time to pack in some more activity. Nothing better than finishing off a day in the mountains with a stroll along the coast.

And an hour on the beach to catch some rays and take a cooling swim at Playa Dorada

Obligatory lazing on the beach/feet shot

Nice time to be on the beach while the sun starts to go down

Excellent way to finish the day

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