After two days investigating the levadas of Madeira, today we were due to head up into the mountains of Madeira to walk from Boca Corrida to Encumeada. We we very lucky on two counts. First, this walk had been closed for about two years following heavy rains and now it was re-opened. Secondly, the weather was absolutely stunning and perfect for walking in the mountains.
Messrs Ford, Mercedes and Benz once again drove us up to the start point. This time, though, we actually had to walk up from there before heading down the other side. There’s something a little disturbing when the first thing you notice at the beginning of a mountain track is a chapel – it makes me wonder what they know that I don’t. I say mountain track but for a chunk of the way it was effectively paved. This differs wildly from our experiences in Spain where the footpaths we’ve seen have been really quite rugged. The Portuguese, at least those on Madeira, don’t seem to want walkers damaging themselves.
We began with our uphill climb, something that we weren’t really used to on this trip but the exercise made it seem pretty comfortable. One of the “sights” to be seen here was the Curral das Freiras, the Nuns’ Refuge. Nuns from the Santa Clara convent fled to this secluded valley when the island was attacked by those aforementioned parrots pirates. We love mountains when the weather is right and this time the weather was right. The levadas were pleasant and interesting but this was nature in the raw and quite stunning. We were in our element.
From our picnic high point on this walk we began descending and were soon tromping through woodland, a very different landscape compared to the start point. We’d crossed the Exodus group walking in the opposite direction before plunging into the trees, followed by which we had to cross a rickety bridge.
After some more serious exercise than we’d had hitherto, Messrs Ford, Mercedes and Benz were waiting as usual at our finishing point to take us to a well deserved and very welcome Coral beer. We felt extremely lucky, this was a newly re-instated 8 mls/13 kms walk through some very refreshing scenery. Brilliant!
[Here’s a link to a Google Earth plot of this walk. You’ll need to save it to your computer before double-clicking it to up in Google Earth.]