Continuing my saga of walking the GR131 through the Canary Islands the next venue was to be the volcanic island of La Palma…
For a start flights from Manchester only go on Thursdays so a week would have to suffice. The route is some 65k long and climbs to 2425m with no real opportunities for restocking or accommodation. I’m not sure I want to carry 4 to 5 days food, plus the necessary water up to those heights. So JD and I came up with a simple plan, have a taxi to take us up to the top, Roque de los Muchachos, and walk down in three and a half days via Refuge de la Roques, El Pilar, Fuencaliente to the Faro [lighthouse]. Then taxi back to the top and walk down to Puerto de Tazacorte on the west coast. Even that idea involved bivouac gear and a substantial weight of food and water.
The first day would end at an unmanned refuge, Roques, at 2000m with no suitable water. The second day at El Pilar, 1500m, with water but no accommodation. We would have a pension on the third night in a village, Fuencaliente 780m. A bus would transport us from the lighthouse back to the east coast ready for the next trip to the summit ready for the shorter second leg. Is that cheating?
Amazingly this is basically the route of an annual 73.3K Transvulcania mountain race with the present record of 6.52.39!
We were booked out of Manchester Airport just as reports of fresh volcanic activity under the Island were being reported, rather dramatically by some of the red tops – panic on La Palma. It last erupted in 1971.