Weather forecast looked good and legs had recovered from Pico Peak hike so caught the 0900hrs ferry from Horta to Madalena on Pico. Ferry arrived well in time in time to catch the 1000hrs southern circuit bus from the ferry terminal to the start of Hike PR5PIC on the West coast of Pico. This hike gives one a tour of the Criacao Velha Vineyards. Pico has many vineyards around the island and the resulting wines are prized among the Azores islands - we particularly like their Atlantis Curral wine
At 1020hrs the bus dropped us off at the turnoff to Porto do Calhau, 1.2 kms down a tarmacced road
Porto do Calhau, the official start of our hike
The usual Information Board at the start of the 8km hike
Porto do Calhau used to be used to ship grapes to Faial
Faial in the background
By 1100hrs we were at Pocinho, a small bathing beach
We had seen some vineyards right from the start of the walk - here there were also Fig trees in between the vines
The vineyards are composed of low stone walls enclosing areas of around 4 meters square. The idea of these ancient walls is to protect the vines from wind and sea salt. Also, as the ground is naturally covered in stones and boulders, they are the result of clearing the ground for cultivation
This field was a bit unusual, instead of stone walls, the vines were trained on suspended wires.
Although the majority of the produce grown is vines, there was quite some maize grown
Bathing rock pool
the coast here is formed of lava
In places there is evidence of tracks worn in the lava by the wheels of ox drawn wagons used to transport the grapes
At intervals, ramps have been cut into the rock to launch small boats to transport grapes to Faial
Perfect spot for lunch and a Kindle break, Faial in the background
a detour into an area of intense vine cultivation
one of the many stone huts dotted among the vineyards which are used for general storage
the trail took us past an old windmill
views from the windmill
The trail ends within easy walking distance of Madalena.
Caught the 1600hrs ferry back to Horta after a very pleasant relaxed walk through the vinyards.