Sunday, 10 November 2013


The fab route up Montana de Guajara (2718m) Tenerife's 3rd highest peak
A bit exposed in places
Looking over to El Teide from Montana de Guajara .
It's only a walk!
Sunset on Montana de Guajara.

 Mention Tenerife and for most folk they would probably have an image of  crowded beaches packed with sun worshipers lined with hotels and bars. Head inland form the costas and there lies a landscape of  raw volcanic beauty with many wonderful walking areas including El Teide, Spains highest summit at 3715m. We had a weeks trip and started off with a nice ramble through the forested foothills above Vilaflor before heading up above the tree line and into the Teide National Park We kicked off with the third highest peak on the island, Montana de Guajara (2718m). The best ascent is via the north side from The Parador were we were based for a couple of days. From this side it looks a bit formidable with tiers of huge, steep rock walls but once on the hill a good path weaves its way up to wide ledges with superb views over to El Tiede.


The weather was set fine for the whole week, even at higher altitudes it was T-shirt temperatures. So the obvious next objectives were the 2nd and highest peaks on Tenerife. Pico Viejo (3135m) lies just to the west of El Teide and the two mountains can be easily combined in a long day with only a 100m or so drop between the two peaks. The paths on the mountains are reasonable underfoot considering the volcanic terrain, there are some signposts but you need to keep your eyes open as the trails do become a bit vague in places. We saw hardly anyone up to Pico Viejo, for us this summit was much better than Teide, the highest point is on the eastern rim of the huge crater rim with fine views. There are some big boulders to negotiate between the hills but it's only two hours from peak to peak.Well, having said that we unfortunately had left it too late to organise a summit permit so we couldn't get to the actual summit of Teide, only 180m below. The park authority limit the people to 200 per day as the summit area is so fragile. Maybe if the gondola that can whisk you up to over 3500m didn't exist then it wouldn't be a problem? Anyway we weren't that bothered, the day was fantastic and another wonderful sunset.


Right outside The Parador Hotel are some amazing rock spires and buttresses, very touristy but if you get off the manicured path that skirts round them and start scrambling amongst the many weird and wonderful rock features there are some great opportunities for stunning photos. A nice way to end our time in the El Teide area. We then headed to the NW of the island and our last wee jaunt.


 Our last walking day and we headed to one of the best gorge walks on the island, The Barranco de Masca. The lovely wee village of Masca at 612m is the start point and the gorge runs all the way down to sea level. The ever changing rock scenery is immense, towering vertical cliffs and pinnacles mixed with exotic vegetation and bird life. It takes only 2-3 hours down depending on how long you want to admire and take photos. Most folk seemed to be meeting boats down at the coast but it's such an amazing walk we went back up! A nice cold beer at the many bars and restaurants in Masca. Fab.

So I think the summer wear will definitely need to be packed away. Back home and cold, snowy conditions across The Highlands. Winter is most definitely here.

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