A rather bleary eyed friend, John, opened his door last week – “we’ve just arrived back from Tenerife at 4am this morning!”
“Oh – so you won’t want to go walking in Gran Canaria starting this weekend? We might have to bivvy a few nights but the weather should be good”
“I’ll have a think about it”
We ‘outdoor types’ seem to live from one expedition to the next, there is never enough time for all the potential trips. I’d come across the GR131 on La Gomera last December and realised it’s potential for winter walking. Cicerone, as ever, do guides. The trail links all the seven Canary Islands and I thoroughly enjoyed the Lanzarote section at the beginning of this year. My plan was to try and complete the other Islands this winter. Gran Canaria would easily fit into the week I had free.
A day later – “Yes I’ll come, what do we need?”
So I booked the flights, getting and paying for more than I expected from Thomas Cook. Taking trekking poles [a security risk] always means having to book expensive hold luggage, but somehow I bought unnecessary reserved seats and meals as well.
Planning went into overdrive and within a couple of days we had booked accommodation for every night to reduce the amount of gear needed. This did involve however the use of taxis for complicated transfer link-ups, and I wasn’t confident of my some of my telephone conversations in Spanish.
The Map Shop at Upton-on-Severn sent me a map by the next day, one of the superb Discovery Tour and Trail series. I’d got my rucksack weight down to 6kg, John’s was only a couple of Kilograms heavier, but he was much fitter than I having just completed the Cape Wrath Trail with camping gear. We were ready to go.
You seem to have a natural ability for organising complicated logistics. I did once book three or four nights in a row on the Kennet and Avon Canal. When you have got the first one in place it is nerve racking finding out if the others are possible to complete the chain. I dreaded having to ring back and cancel or rearrange the whole schedule.
Conrad. Needs must, its dark at 6pm every night here, not much fun bivvying out for 12 hours at 1500m. Hence the complicated logistics. So much better to be in a cosy hostale with food and drink, we are not getting any younger I’m sure you would agree. I accept it can take some of the spontaneity out of long distance walking and put some pressure on you to keep to the schedule but at this time of year it’s a small price. Lets hope it works out.