La Palma Holiday - January 2019
Another winter sun walking holiday, returning to La Palma, an island where the first of such holidays took place 6 years ago. This time the group had the good luck to have 4 members flying out early which enabled them not only to enjoy extra time there but also to reconnoitre the walks. A further 9 people then flew out to join them for the above dates. In addition, we were joined by Keith and Fiona who are longstanding Footprints members but who now live in Luxembourg and who had by chance booked a holiday in La Palma which coincided with the Club trip.
Day one – we walked as one group to the visitor centre for Volcan de San Antonio where we saw a film and exhibitions before walking around the west rim of the volcano. On leaving the centre we completed a walk to the coast, a walk of approximately 5.5 miles that was marked by the picon (black volcanic ash) underfoot and an almost lunar landscape. Along the way we made a detour to climb uphill and along a ridge to enjoy excellent views inland as well as of the coast. On reaching the coast we were able to explore a lighthouse, the salt baths and stop for refreshments before taking the local bus back to the start/cars.
Day two – Debbie, Jackie and Hamida completed an A+ linear walk of 11 miles – the Ruta de los Volcanes (The Route of the Volcanos). The A party completed a circular walk via El Pillar of approx. 7.7 miles along a misty forest track but on reaching the top had great views of Pico Nambroque as well of El Teide on Tenerife. The B party did a lower out and back walk which was cut short by mist and lack of views.
Day three - the group travelled by our hire cars and then by heavy duty taxis to the start of the Los Tilos Levados – most of the group then completed a linear, downhill walk of 8.5 miles through a subtropical Laurel forest which required us to negotiate 13 covered canals or waterways and long periods of boulder scrambling. (For me this was the outstanding walk of the week), whilst a small B party enjoyed a lower, shorter walk in the same area.
Day four – a rest day – a few people spent the time at the hotel or visited the nearby town of Santa Cruz de la Palma, but most drove across the island to Tazacorte, a small village on the west coast, where we enjoyed excellent weather and a 3 hour whale watching boat trip followed by exploration of the local village, enjoying a dip in the sea, paddling or having a drink in a quayside bar.
Day five – the group completed a 4.5 mile walk from the Mirador los Andenes to the Roque los Muchachos – another peak with great views. Some of the party then made the return walk, whilst others got a lift back. The walk passed the many observatories from different nations which take advantage of La Palma’s situation and clear skies.
Day six - on the final day the A party walked up then down Pico Benjenado (a climb of over 3000 feet but amply rewarded with spectacular views). Some people then still had the energy to do a ridge extension led by Greg, before returning to the cars. The B party completed a lower/flatter walk in the same area.
Many thanks to all those who organised the holiday, provided guide books and walk routes and led walks – especially Richard and Colin. Thanks to all those who drove or acted as back up drivers – Richard, Colin, Andy, Debbie. Thanks to Colin for providing evening entertainment. Thanks to Debbie for organising the whale watching trip. And to everyone else - an excellent holiday with great company.