FUERTEVENTURA 9th Jan

There must be some glum faces on the sun worshipers of the Costa today and slim pickings for the lounger rental crew. The cloud was fairly thick and threatening, in fact it was shedding its load somewhere because there was a rainbow ahead of me as I mounted the crest of the mountain above Betancuria to reach Corral de Guize at 588mts. There’s a statue up there of Guise and Ayose,the last Guanche chieftains.

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Pretty rugged looking guys. I’d say the Norman conquistadores had their work cut out.
From there I could see the flat plains I’d be crossing to the north with Montana Bermeja rising solitary from them, where I was planning to spend the night in the last trail shelter I knew of.
A long but gradual descent brought me down and out of the Betancuria Natural Park and onto Tarmac all the way into Valle de Santa Ines where I stopped for breakfast.
I was joined by a large (what’s the collective word for cyclists ?) Lycra of German spokespeople. It’s a very popular sport/ hobby in Spain and I have often been amazed to see them pumping their way to mountain tops. They probably feel the same way when they see me doing it without the benefit of wheels.
Leaving the cafe I passed by more barking, chained dogs. It seems each house in Spain is obliged to have at least three, even if they are the kind of breed that would normally live in a D and G tote bag in Beverly Hills.

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This kind of cable drum kennel is popular canine real estate here with a plank removed from the inner circle offering secluded bedroom accommodation and also allowing for an outside covered porch surrounding the property.
Whilst on the subject, not long after I spent awhile walking past a much needed development of 60’s Americana Flinstone houses on big plots, most of which are, unbelievably, still available.

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Quick going on the flat, but as I moved along I became aware of something slightly amiss with my right heel. You become highly attuned to any nuance when reliant on shoe comfort for getting you there.

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This poor sole hadn’t made it.
When looking back over the distances travelled by foot I always get an amazing sense of power that motorised transport never supplies.
Onwards across the stony flatlands open and isolated again. For some bizzare reason the shallow barrancos have been used as bottle dumps and the occasional floodwaters had carried them twinkling far into the distance. It may be something to do with the last farm I passed whose main crop seemed to rubbish, which covered a few acres. Not the sort of view us Eco walkers want. He also has 3 horses (what do they eat) that have supplied the dung that attracts the flies that are the only downside to my accommodation.

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Facing west away from the wind, with a sea view, what’s not to like? In fact the sun’s come out, they’ll be smiling on the Costa and there’s still time for the lounger crew to earn a few euro.

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6 comments

  1. You’re certainly making the most of those trail shelters. If I remember right, the picnic table in that one has a tiny bit of graffiti on it… something along the lines of… ‘GR131 Los Siete Islas’… (GR131 The Seven Islands).

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    1. Thats right Paddy. Signed Misty Mountain Hopper from jan 2012. Was that you? Discovered from your writing another shelter about 5km north of Oliva so im off there now. Any reason they dont appear on the maps? Will there be any on other islands?

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  2. Fraid I wasn’t ‘Misty Mountain Hopper’, but I was pleased to spot the comment on the bench, as it suggested that people were already walking the GR131. The shelter beyond La Oliva is the last one. I think the reason they don’t appear on maps is because they’re all new. Some of the GR131 signposts point to a shelter, but when you get there, it’s just a track junction. (You’ve already passed that point, so nothing to worry about.) There aren’t any shelters along the trail on the other islands… it’s just something they decided to do on Fuerteventura. With Lanzarote, only the middle of the trail was signposted, but they were hoping to get cracking with signposting from Playa Blanca to Yaiza. You’ll find out soon enough if it happened.

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  3. Hola Steve!

    I am reading your blog with great interest since I will be following in your tracks as from 9 February. (Our tracks have already mingled on the Camino francés, on the GR in Almería and on the Camino sanabrés…)

    Paddy Dillon alerted me to your blog.

    Do you reserve rooms in advance or do you play it by ear, as well as sleeping out in your tent? I won’t have a tent and I am debating the pros and cons of reserving rooms in the small inland villages.

    Do you see an advantage in starting in the south and moving north as per Paddy’s guidebook or doing the opposite as per the Topoguia published by the local authorities?

    Congratulations on your photos! Taken with your iPhone or a camera?

    Do not feel obliged to reply in detail now. I realise your limitations as regards typing on a small keyboard and limited access to the internet.

    Wishing you all the best for the rest of your walk,

    Go n-éirí an bóthar leat!

    Éamann Ó Ruairc

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    1. Eamann, thanks for the comments and interest. Sometimes it feels like im talking to myself!
      Everything done on the iphone. A couple of weeks ago i wouldnt know how to turn one on.
      First flight i could get this year went from Shannon to Fuerte. I had downloaded the relevant pages of paddys guides to my phone( and had hard copies cos of battery worries) so made sense to go south north. I did wonder though because it does mean your pushing into the wind most of the time. On the other hand the sun is behind you. I also started in the east because i needed to get fitter before la palma !
      Accommodation is a tricky issue. Its great to do the hassling from the comfort of home rather than dragging a pack around town but it sets dates in stone not allowing for delays or faster than expected progress. I think play by ear, go with rhe flow and book ahead a bit by phone/ internet as you go.
      I do carry a tent but havent used it yet. Been in the trail shelters a fair bit with bivvy bag. Havent seen roo many places to put a tent to be honest. This is my last shelter so i dont know what will happen from now. I didnt want to spend time working out how to get off and on trail again, or spend the time doing that.
      Its certainly not as easy as a Camino santiago with a guaranteed bed at the end of the day!
      By the way when or if i finish the Canary GR 131 im off to Malaga to do Camino Mozarabe and Via de la Plata.
      Dont think our paths will cross. By the 9th i should be finishing Tenerife and moving on to Gran Canaria.
      Buen Camino

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