LA GOMERA – Los Roques, up and over again.

Our last day’s walking and we were blessed with clear and sunny weather. A lift up to Pastrana saved us 5k of road walking and we were straight into another barranco with all the usual  variety, getting blasé now. This was no ordinary valley however as at its head nearly a 1000m above us was the Roque de Agando.

A became a little lost in the abandoned hamlet of Benchijigua. we found a well signed track not on the map heading straight up, It still took us nearly 3 hours of sweating to to pop out onto a road level with the gigantic rock. There are obvious routes up this monolith but apparently there is no official climbing on the island. Views back down the barranco to the sea and now views northwards across forested ridges to more rocks and Tenerife. A good spot for lunch. There was an iron sculpture featuring the names of people who lost their lives in a large fire in 1984.

A path sloped off dramatically down a ridge below the Roques Zarcita and Ojila. Again this path has recently been resigned and upgraded recognising the importance of walking tourism to the island. Down and down through trees and heathers crossing many small steams to arrive in the next valley with La Laja now a steep climb back up on village tracks. This village clings to the hillside like somewhere from Nepal, the track winds through the houses, many having recently been restored. Productive garden plots hang everywhere in the ravine. Several cross ravine wires support swinging baskets for ease of transfer of produce to the road, a sign of recent past agricultural activity. Once up onto the road it was a relaxing walk down the valley passing reservoirs in stunning scenery to Chejelipes. Houses we passed all seemed to have German or Dutch owners. There was time for a refreshing Dorada beer in the basic Atajo bar whilst waiting for our lift down to San Sebastion. What a good 8 hour’s tramp today.

It was good to be back in the capital which I thought was an endearing port and would make a good base for a holiday with its buses to the rest of the island. We visited the ferry office to change our ferry booking to a more sensible time for the morning. There was a good little cafe opposite the hotel for our final catch of the day – fried PULPO.

But never mind the fish I particularly enjoyed the simple ‘papas arrugadas’ [wrinkled salt potatoes] served most nights with red and green mojo sauces.

Back to the cold in England tomorrow.

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