Search This Blog

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Hikes Madeira 46 & 45 Rabacal Madeira 31 October 2011

At 0845hrs Monday 31 October we took a taxi from Calheta up into the mountains above

By 0905hrs we had reached the start of our hike at around 600 meters above sea level, hike 46 in Rothers Walking Guide
The area we planned to hike was called Rabacal which is situated in a deep valley the other side of a ridge

There are two accesses possible to this area - either by car to the top of the ridge then walk or take a shuttle bus down 1.8 kms of private road to Casa Rabacal, or do what we planned, access it from the south side of the ridge via an 800 meter long tunnel 

Most official hikes have a useful information
board at the start

 From the taxi drop-off point the a trail took us 1.5 km to the tunnel entrance

The ridge behind which is the Rabacal valley

and more Meninas para a Escola (Belladonna Amarylis)

 The tunnel entrance

 Many tunnels are driven through the central mountains in order to carry water from the north of the island where rain is more frequent, to the more arid south side - thus allowing crops to grow there.
Luckily we had read the guide and prepared ourselves with head torches and rain coats for the drips from the tunnel roof
This tunnel not only carried the irrigation water in a Levada, but also had a steel pipe carrying water to hydroelectric power stations lower down the hill side
 The light at the end of the tunnel
 A band of red rock in the otherwise black Basalt
 After about 15 minutes we reach the northern end of the tunnel

 Looking back at the tunnel exit
 to one side of which were these small shrines in niches in the rock
The hike proper starts - to the 25 springs - all the way along the Levada

 through a fairytale wood
 with steep drops to the valley below

 wonderful views
a waterfall in the distance

 Here the Levada has to cross a narrow gorge - the water is channeled down a pipe which drops to a bridge below then rises to the Levada on the opposite side  at the same level as on this side - ie. the pipe acts as a U-tube
The bridge inside which is the water pipe
 with the stream below
back up to steps to rejoin the Levada at the same height as before 

 All along the route, water is feeding into the Levada from springs in the rock above
 Our first destination - the rock basin surrounded by the 25 springs

Bridge below the rock basin
Many friendly almost tame chaffinches delighted us along the way
 After the 25 Springs, we retraced our steps for a few kilometers before joining another Levada on a higher level which brought us to another wonderful place - the Risco Waterfall

 more springs feeding the Levada
and more
and more
and more
 Our very useful Rothers Walking Guide - drying out after its second accidental fall into water - the first in the Levada Nova, the second in the 25 Springs - maybe appropriate for a Levada guide! Amazingly the book is still readable - must be very good paper

Approaching the Risco Waterfall 

The Levada goes through a tunnel behind the waterfall and continues on the other side of the valley
 The gate at the entrance to the tunnel is unfortunately locked

The Levada can be seen on the other side of the valley
 Arriving at the Casa Rabacal, we had intended taking the shuttle bus to the car park at the top of the ridge. However, the shuttle bus was full so we decided to walk the 1.8 km
The access road
 Looking down into the Rabacal valley
One very happy Jeannette.
From here we took a taxi back to the Marina in Calheta - taxi arrived at 1400hrs - by 1420 we were back on the Dutch Link. (Taxi costs - 12 euro up, 20 euros down)

A thoroughly enjoyable hike

No comments: