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Gran Canaria Holiday - February 2017

Early in February 7 Footprints members flew to Gran Canaria, the third largest of the Canary Isles, to stay at the southern resort of Playa Del Ingles for a week of walking using hired cars to reach the walk starting points. We mainly enjoyed great weather [blue skies, warm temperatures] until the last two days when there was some light rain.

On the first day of the holiday we drove from the resort to The Pico de Bandamas, a view point at 569 metres with spectacular views through 360 degrees. To the East was the coast, to the west the hills. Many photos were taken before we left and drove to our start point lower down – from here we walked around the rim of an extinct volcano - The Bandama Crater [the Caldera]. Much of the walk was through volcanic ash. After lunch and a café stop we descended a trail 285 meters into the volcano to another view point.

The second day saw us again drive into the mountains to the Cruz de Tejeda from where we walked downhill [1900 feet of descent] on well laid paths bordered by wild flowers, blossom, cacti and lemon trees, arriving at the tourist village of Tejeda for lunch and ice creams. After this we had a steep climb to get back to where the cars were parked. Stunning rock formations were a feature of this 4.72 mile walk.

On Tuesday we left the cars and walked from the resort hotels to Maspalomas - a large area of sand dunes and a nature reserve. Along the way we encountered a camel train and also passed a nature reserve with a heronry. After this we walked to the lighthouse on the coast where we stopped for lunch. After eating we walked back along the beach [several people taking off footwear to walk in the sea] to our hotels. Distance 7.93 miles.

The next day we again drove into the mountains to complete an out and back walk from Dellgolada Del Tauro to the top of a mountain [Montana del Tauro and 1190 feet of ascent] along an old Camino Reale. Again we were rewarded with panoramic views. The top was our picnic stop complete with a derelict animal pen and sightings of falcons and vultures, before starting our descent.

On our journey home we stopped at a road side juice shack to take refreshments and to admire the 13 million year old coloured striated rocks [the Azulejos] opposite the shack. Colours of green, orange, purple and red were clearly visible.

Our last full day of walking was on Thursday. We drove to Santa Lucia - a mountain village - to reach the start of our walk. From here we walked through cobbled backstreets and passing the church before following a zigzag path to the Cruz del Siglo [Cross of the Century - erected in 1900], the final part of which required some scrambling – an ascent of 1170 feet in total, distance 3.46 miles.

On Friday we broke our pattern of full day walks and drove to Cuatro Puertas [Four Doors] at Cueva – an archaeological site of manmade and modified caves from the pre Spanish conquest of the island. This again required some scrambling to reach some of the caves. We then drove to the coast, where we had a picnic lunch and explored the tiny coastal village of Tufia before completing a there and back coastal walk.

On Saturday morning the group walked from the hotels two miles along the local promenade to its end at San Augustin before returning and leaving for the airport and our return flights to the UK.

A great holiday with wonderful weather, good walking and interesting sightseeing. Many thanks to those who organized the trip, did the driving and those who planned and led the walks.