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Gran Canaria 19/12/11 to 22/12/1 1

Gran Canaria 19/12/11 to 22/12/1 1


Postby litljortindan » Sat Apr 27, 2013 5:57 pm

Date walked: 19/12/2011

Time taken: 12

Distance: 16 km

Ascent: 1500m

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Some ten years ago a friend had recommended Gran Canaria as a walking destination and last December I at last mustered the enthusiasm to take a short trip over there.

I drove down to Glasgow for the four hour flight and arrived mid afternoon. My hotel was in the south west and, after waiting about two hours to collect my hire car, I was resigned to there being little scope for walking on the first day.

After a further hour and a half on the motorway though curiosity got the better of me so instead of going directly to the hotel I set off north for the hills on the west coast, just for a quick look.

The road north became quite narrow and wend its way through a few villages before climbing up to about 400m. Thereafter there were great views west of a couple of fine looking narrow ridges running out to the sea. Farther on I stopped and got out for what looked to me like a shortish walk that I could do before it got dark. This turned out to be a bit longer than anticipated as the going was pretty rough on volcanic gravel and rocks but I was very pleased to get to the top of my first small hill on Gran Canaria. Got a fright on the way back to the car though as I followed a vehicle track on the way back that had a steep drop on one side. Well, can you possibly guess what nearly happened? Yes, full of admiration for its surroundings, my brain had switched off temporarily , allowing me to wander off the edge of said track. I was in fact really lucky not to take a real tumble. I had put one foot over the precipice and had to desperately scramble back to safety. My heart was racing and I suddenly felt very alone and very stupid.

I drove to the hotel in the dark and pretty quickly realised that my map for finding the hotel was going to be useless -the place look enormous from the esplanade with seemingly hundreds of hotels lining the hills above.
Undaunted, I ask the local taxi drivers for their views on how to get to my destination and they gave me good advice and even identified my building for me, though it still looked quite far off.

I got to reception and had to wait for an inebriated Irishman to be dealt with before I could get checked in. I phoned my wife then went to my room via a cable car lift on the outside of the hotel. My room was at ground floor level, the reception on the tenth floor but also at street level. Outside there was a large pool and palm trees and a bar across the other side of the pool. I spent an hour planning my next day and then got some sleep.

The plan was to rise early and try to catch the sunrise from a high point on the island. As it turns out, this was a hopelessly optimistic plan as driving high into the central mountains from the west is enormously time consuming. I had to settle for a view over the west coast from what was still a very good viewpoint. I waited there for sunrise then descended and headed north again to visit the same area of hills as the previous evening.

I hadn't been able to obtain much solid information about walking routes on the west coast but had sketched a few routes out based on google earth and google maps. I drove down to Tasartico looking for the one definite path I'd identified but couldn't find it so drove back up to the high point of the road and made up my own route onto the nearby Pico de Tetas. I didn't quite reach the summit as that looked a pretty horrendous scramble on what turned out to be quite friable rock. I settled for a good view and considered whether it was wise to continue north to the next obvious peak. Given that it hadn't been too easy to get to where I was and that there was no sign that people normally walked there I decided instead to descend. I had noticed another easy looking walk nearby and climbed up there in an hour and a half. That was quit easy going and there was a path of sorts but I was still left with enough time for another walk so set off to have another look for the Tasartico to Gui Gui path.
CIMG1414.JPG
on the road to the west coast mountains

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view south from near the summit of Pico de Tetas

CIMG1445.JPG
me near the summit of Pico de Tetas with the west coast in the background


After speaking to a local I learned that the path I sought was a couple of kilometres past Taasartico. I found a wooden sign indicating the route and the path looked well used so I felt relatively relaxed about finishing the day with at least the 500m ascent to the path's high point.

I even ran into a few people on the way but all in all it was still quite a quiet place. The high point gives fine views of the west coast and of the Tasartico valley to the south. Climbing up east or west onto the adjoining ridges looks difficult though so I followed the path west for a mile or so to see if there was a branch back out onto the main ridge. No such luck. I am sure it is fairly easy to scramble onto the high point at the end of the ridge but I just didn't have enough energy for that to seem like a worthwhile option.
CIMG1459.JPG
the high point of the path to Gui Gui beach from Tasartico

CIMG1461.JPG
looking over Gui Gui and the west coast of Gran Canaria

Got back to the hotel after getting lost in the town but was quite satisfied with the day's walking. I went to the poolside and looked up at the unfamiliar night sky and imagined my wife looking at the same moon.

I planned for more walking the next day and decided on trying to get to the island's high point (Pico de las Nieves) again for the sunrise and to follow this with an easier walk to the popular Roque Nublo.

I managed to get to the high point in time. In fact there were about seven others up there waiting for the same.
The sunrise colours came and went fairly quickly but it was worth seeing. I planned then to head north, detouring to Roque Nublo and Mount Tamadaba before turning south through the west coast hills and back to the hotel.
CIMG1477.JPG
Pico de Nieves sunrise looking south
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Pico de Nieves sunrise looking south
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looking north from Pico de Nieves towards Roque Nublo, Tenerife on the horizon
CIMG1521.JPG
sun up, Pico des Nieves


The walk to Roque Nublo de was on a well worn path and there are fine views north over the island from the plateau surrounding the obelisk.
CIMG1539.JPG
Roque Nublo
CIMG1541.JPG
view north from Roque Nublo
CIMG1542.JPG
on the road below Roque Nublo
CIMG1545.JPG
on the road below Roque Nublo


I then headed for Mount Tamabada. Well I got to the general area but was confused about how to get to the viewpoint I'd identified on google earth. In retrospect I should have opted for the most obvious, well used path that actually heads downwards from the road. Instead, I started off heading up hill into dense forest. Realising that this couldn't be right, I drove right around the summit, which took half an hour, and then realised that the summit and the viewpoint I was thinking about were two different places, albeit part of the same mountain. I wanted to head out onto a ridge that overlooks the sea; that's what I'd identified from the web. I did find such a ridge and I followed it as best I could but the path I took got narrower and narrower and eventually became hopelessly overgrown. There was a clearer path that branched off and downwards but I just didn't make the connection that the viewpoint I wanted to get too was in fact so far below road level and so far off the road. I was getting hot and bothered so took my fleece, containing all my money, passport, air ticket etc., off and stuffed it onto the top of my rucksack, held in by tightening the ruckstrap straps. The sleeves still hung out of the sides and I made a mental note to stop and make some adjustment on my way back to the car. I was thinking ahead though of my four hour route back to the hotel. I had in mind a stop at a rocky peninsula in the north west. I'd looked at this on google and thought it might make a good short wallk.
CIMG1553.JPG
view north from Mount Tamadaba towards Tenerife, the ridge where I lost my fleece on the right

CIMG1552.JPG
view north from Mount Tamadaba towards Tenerife

In fact it is a very dramatic area, the main road sometimes clinging to the cliff edge and often giving great views north and west. I stopped at a parking spot and took some photographs and some video. The hills either side looked steep and uninviting and I didn't think they would yield better views than where I was.
CIMG1558.JPG
sunset in the north west
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sunset in the north west
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sunset in the north west

I was now in relax mode, thinking of returning home the next day and how I would have a relaxing drive back to the airport and perhaps stop off at one of the south coast resorts for a walk along an artificial beach. Wrong!
To my horror and disbelief, when I got to the hotel and reached for my fleece with the hotel room key there was no fleece to be found. My mind raced back through the day to identify when and where I might have left my fleece. After thinking this through carefully I realised that I must have dropped the fleece on Mount Tamadaba.
I discussed my plight with the hotel admin staff who kindly let me use their mobile phone to make calls to my wife and my bank and to the tour operator. I found that I had to get to the British embassy the following morning in order to get an emergency passport but that I would have to get money wired through to pay for this but in order to collect wired money I would need photographic ID!

I was issued with the spare room key and aimed to return to Tamadaba for sunrise. I got there for an anxious and unenjoyable wait as it became light enough for me to retrace my steps along the overgrown path I'd followed the day before.

Words cannot describe my joy and relief at finding my fleece lying undisturbed on the path. I quickly checked that my valuables were still there and was then able to enjoy being there. Crisis over!

Some time later I was watching a programme on tv about the plight of holidaymakers stuck in the Canaries because they'd lost their passports. Some had been there for weeks, sleeping rough because they hadn't been able to arrange finance for purchase of their emergency passports. Scary...
CIMG1564.JPG
the return to Tamadaba
Last edited by litljortindan on Mon Nov 11, 2013 8:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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litljortindan
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Re: Gran Canaria 19/12/11 to 22/12/1 2

Postby dooterbang » Wed May 01, 2013 2:33 pm

A highly entertaining read and what luck to have found your fleece with noothing missing, i bet the relief was mammoth!

Cracking wee adventure and Gran Canaria does indeed look great for walking.

Cheers.
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dooterbang
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Location: Isle of Skye from Feb 2019 (Originally Glasgow)

Re: Gran Canaria 19/12/11 to 22/12/1 2

Postby litljortindan » Wed May 01, 2013 9:39 pm

dooterbang wrote:A highly entertaining read and what luck to have found your fleece with noothing missing, i bet the relief was mammoth!

Cracking wee adventure and Gran Canaria does indeed look great for walking.

Cheers.


Thanks dooterbang. Certainly was a relief to find my fleece intact and to get home without all the hassle there could have been.

Gran Canaria is worth visiting and I'd go back to walk the route between Aldea in the north west and Tasartico:


The only downside about Gran Canaria I found is that they, the Grand Canarians, could do with cleaning up some of the lay-bys at the starts of walks. These are often just used as public toliets so pretty disgusting. I guess that is something to do with the absence of...public toilets. I thought maybe they could do something along the lines of the basic facilities that line the E6 in Norway i.e. huts with big holes in the ground that presumably allow natural degradation of waste.
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litljortindan
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Posts: 1957
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Joined: Dec 11, 2011

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