The Tattie holidays had arrived and a family holiday abroad was planned with relaxation, poolside beers and easy living the activities I was looking forward too. Arriving in Lanzarote on the Thursday and we were greeted, not by a Sahara like heat wave but by a more familiar pattern of showers and rain! I‘m sure the island was just trying to make us feel welcome!
The weather soon changed and over the next few days the winds swung round to a easterly and the effects of the wind coming straight off the Sahara meant sweltering temperatures as the “Calima “ took old. Midday highs of 34 degrees resulted in the swimming pool being used frequently and air conditioning systems being fired up to enable a good nights sleep. Walking seems to occur more often on holiday for me (not mountain walking but just walking!). No car and an urge to explore see leg work activity increase in general terms. In Puerto there are cracking beaches and the old harbour area is a cracking area to explore, but always on the horizon to the South West are the Ajache Mountains. These provided a grand composition when experiencing the Lanzarote sunsets but also got me thinking about a small excursion. Relaxing and pool dipping was definitely happening but the inner chimp was starting to tell me I needed to get up a hill!
A rekey walk to Puerto Calero saw my mind made up and a few days later I hired a MTB with the aim of exploring these Ajache Mountains. The Calima was still blowing so I set off just before sunrise and reached the harbour and start of the trail just as the sun was rising above the Atlantic, creating a beam of light which picked out the fishing boats which were scurrying to and fro. Puerto Calero was reached in no time and I headed onto Quemada. The path was ok but some pushing was required. The landscape here is barren, little vegetation and desert like. On reaching Puerto Quemada, I felt like I was entering the wild west (hence the tongue in cheek music in the video!). Not a soul was seen and the wind blew a long closed derelict restaurants shutters with a squeak. I didn’t stop long.
A rekey walk to Puerto Calero saw my mind made up and a few days later I hired a MTB with the aim of exploring these Ajache Mountains.
Upon looking for a trail to take me round the coast a little further, I saw a figure coming down the hillside. A tall gentleman with a BIG back pack. A wild camper I thought. As the illusion drew nearer I could make out a long beard and a man dressed in an old suit with sandals to boot. Hanging from the huge, tatty, rucksack was a plastic bag with empty bottles….
The man approached and his appearance, now clear, suggested a hermits life style. A quick hello to the Englishman and he was off, keen to keep moving it seemed. The first person I had me since Calero.
The footpath rises steeply out of Puerto Quemada so much pushing was being done and I eventually reached an impressive valley with a large black beach. The suns heat was now stinging the back of my neck as I looked down on the beach and, more tellingly over to the steep rise out of the valley on the other side! I was caught in two minds – will I head to the beach for a swim, will I carry on to Playa Blanca or will I head inland and see if I can find a summit.
The latter was chosen and I turned my back on a cooling swim and rode the bike into the desert like Ajache! The landscape had changed slightly, as opposed to barren black lava scapes, the Ajache seemed a little lighter in colour, more sandy-however still barren….A peak was spotted and I made my way along a four by four track (much better for cycling!). Eventually I had to leave the bike and continue on foot making my way towards my chosen peak. The climb was enjoyable and with height a breeze had developed which was very welcome. I felt remote, the landscape looked wild and my Chimp was being fed! Of course it is hard to be in the wild on such a small island and that feeling of remoteness soon left as I made a Bealach and below me stood the village of Femes with a major road passing through! This would provide an easier if less pleasing ascent J
Soon I was scrambling up the final ramparts and amazingly there was more vegetation on the summit than anywhere else on the trip! Perhaps the tops catch more rain or morning dew? The views across the island were amazing and back across the other peaks of the Ajache Hills with the Atlantic beyond. Although not high (I reckon about 500m?) these are cracking and deserted hills, a grand way to leave the hot pot of Puerto Del Carmen and get away from it for a few hours.
Some thoughts and reports from my outdoors activties...