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Friday, October 12, 2012

Hike Madeira to Porto da Cruz via Boca do Risco 11 Oct 2012

Rother Walking Guide hike Nr 14 from the Canical Tunnel to Porto do Cruz via the Boca do Risco
11 October caught the 0830hrs nr 113 bus from just outside the marina direction Canical in the east of Madeira in order to do the hike Nr 14 in the Rother Walking Guide from the Canical Tunnel to Porto do Cruz via the Boca do Risco
 At 0930hrs we got off the bus at the Pico do Facho bus stop at the western end ....
....... of the road tunnel

Map from Rother Walking Guide hike nr 14

Crossed the road and joined the Levada do Canical
 the first part of the Levada walk was between some houses
 with views back over the coastal town of Machico

 The Levada then headed up the Ribeira Seca Valley with small cultivated terraces on the side
 past an old style farm hut

 Shortly before the Levada turned back on itself on the other side of the valley, our trail turned right
 up the Vereda da Boca da Risco
 leaving the Levada behind as it contours around the other side of the valley
 The Boca da Risco (literally 'the Dangerous Gap') on the skyline
 at 10.55 hrs reached the Boca da Risco - 360 meters above sea level
 From which one has superb views of the northern coastal cliffs
 admiring the view ........
 ....... with some trepidation as from here one can just make out the trail we have to follow - the trail is quite narrow and clings to the almost vertical cliff with a 300 meter drop to the sea

 the exciting coastal trail begins with a gentle section between the Tree Heather
 with from time to time sections cut out of the cliff
 back into a more protected section
 the vegetation gets less

 in parts one wonders how someone thought they could make a path here

 the path is starting to fit the description in the guide "adventurous coastal path over the 'dangerous gap'
 the maintainers of the trail have been very thoughtful and provided safety wires bolted into the cliff side to hold onto on the very exposed or damaged parts of the trail

 taking a breather

 another wire to calm the nerves

 the hike along the very exposed section lasted about 30 minutes.
Here the trail re-enters a section with more vegetation, and consequently , less exposure.
 and a forested section
 with views through the trees of Porto da Cruz, our destination

 along the whole coastal trail our eyes have been rewarded with our old favorites the "Meninas para a escola" literally translated as "Girls back to school" or Amaryllis Belladona

 Had lunch here by the lift which provides access to .....
.... this small cultivated Faja below the cliff
 getting close to Porto da Cruz with the imposing Eagle Rock behind it to the west.

 Finally made it to Porto da Cruz just before 1400 hrs after walking for 4 1/2 hours
Here we were in luck. We had just arrived at the bus stop by the church when the 1400hrs bus to Machico arrived. This connected with the Express bus to Funchal at the Machico bus station  - so we were back on Dutch Link by 1515 hrs after a most exhilarating hike.

This trail was for centuries the shortest link route between Machico on the south coast and Porto da Cruz on the north coast. Among other things it used to be used to transport young wine in goatskins.

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