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Friday, October 5, 2012

Hike Madeira Levadas Moinhe & Nova 4 October 2012

 Rother Walking Guide Hike 7 Levadas Moinhe & Nova, in reverse order to the guide. Also described in Raimondo Quintal's Levadas and Footpaths of Madeira guide book
Took a taxi at around 1245hrs 4th October from Calhete arriving at the  Chapel of Lombada above the seaside resort of Ponta do Sol at 1310hrs (cost 20 Euros).

The Chapel of Lombada was the start of our hike along the Levada do Moinho.
 Up the steps by the church
 to reach the Levada

Below is the map of the hike from the Rother Walking Guide Hike 7
Below is the hike map from Raimondo Quintal's Levadas and Footpaths of Madeira guide book

 Looking back towards Ponta do Sol

 Looking up the steep sided valley towards our destination - the source of the Levada
 Clinging to the steep hillside
a narrow section
 This plant caught our eye
A sluice in the Levada to irrigate the small terraced fields below

 A Levada on the opposite side of the valley comes into view
 At this point the Levada goes through a tunnel - the cavelike holes give light to the Levada in the tunnel behind

 crossing a ravine
 in some places the Levada is in need of repair as errosion takes its toll
 The dam which forces the mountain stream into the Levada - the source of the Levada Moinho
 Looking back at the Levada
 We now joined the rough track up the valley floor to the source of the Levada Nova by which we would return.
Levada Nova is located on the same side of the valley as Levada Moinho but about 80 meters higher up.
 The dam across the mountain stream which forces the water into the Levada Nova
Looking further up the valley at the rock strewn stream bed
walking across the low dam
The stream entering the Levada Nova
The Levada Nova was actually more or less dry - the water being diverted into the stream leading into the Levada Moinho so that maintenance could be carried out on the concrete channel
close-up of the diversion

Our hiking guide indicated that this hike would be quite exposed in parts with almost vertical drops with no railing. However we found that many railings had now been constructed on the most exposed sections giving one a much more secure feeling
one can just see the Levada Moinho clinging to the slope below us
in order to construct the Levada, sections of rock had had to be excavated in places
The Levada here is carved out of the rock contouring around a ravine
with spectacular effect

around the bend the Levada enters a 100 meter or so long tunnel - head torches were very useful

light at the end of the tunnel

Encountered the first of the workmen repairing the Levada

The frames for reshaping the channel

The Levada becomes smaller as an extra layer of concrete is laid inside the existing channel

another glimpse of the Levada Moinho below us
More workmen were busy concreting the channel. They told us they expected the maintenance work on the Levada to take 2 years. They also complained about their low wages - only 700 euros per month.
The materials required were lowered down the hill using this suspended wire
to the upper left of the photo one can see the wire connecting the work area with the hill top where there is presumably a road

a rather exposed section - we were happy with the new railing

not too far now to where we started / leave the Levada
the Levada continues, covered , between the village houses

we join the roads via these steps
eventually arriving at the church where we started the Levada Moinho hike

opposite the church is the 16th century Esmeraldo Manor House, constructed by Joao Esmeraldo who made his fortune from sugar cane production. The building is now used as the local school.
All  the way down the hill we were surrounded by very healthy looking Banana plantations - every space between the houses seemed to be used for growing Bananas.

Good view of the unfortunate new Marina do Lugar de Baixo. The local people advised against its construction as its location is one which is subject to big swells caused by the shallow water - it was also one of the favourite surfing areas of the island. The marina was severely damaged in storms during construction and has never opened. A lot of money is required to be invested to make it secure if this is at all possible.
zooming in to the unfinished marina
Ponta do Sol
The holiday resort village of Ponta do Sol is connected to the rest of the island by several tunnels
view towards the protected swimming area of Ponta do Sol

the swimming area - not as easy to get into as the sandy one in Calhete as this has a shingle pebbly beach

picturesque waterfront

Took a taxi back to Calhete after a most enjoyable afternnoon's hike (taxi coast 16 Euro).
Arrived back at the boat at 1830 - just in time to have a relaxing swim before the sunset.

1 comment:

gerschok said...

Dank voor het geweldige verslag en de heel erg interessante foto's. Wat een geweldige prestatie om deze watergangen aan te leggen en te onderhouden en om er langs te lopen.Zijn de tunnels met de hand uitgehakt, dat moet bijna wel maar is de rots niet zo erg hard?Grtjs LNG