Algarve Walking Experience
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Saturday Walks PDF Print Email
Written by Terry Ames   
If you are interested in our Saturday walks of a Longer Nature 15 to 20 km about 5 hours then watch the local press for details or contact us, easy pace, no rush and enjoy the day.

 

 

 
Update for 2010 PDF Print Email
Written by Terry Ames   
Terry
Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 March 2012 10:32
 
The Algarve Way PDF Print Email
Written by Terry Ames   

Terry Ames and his ex-pat walking friends have worked on this route for several years. Terry is still a LDWA member although living in Portugal and he sent in an article which was published in the August 2006 issue of “Strider” about this route. The route runs from the Spanish border at Alcoutim across Portugal to the coast and then continues southwards to Cape St. Vincent.

The article stated that there was now a full route description and some stencilled waymarking en-route so I contacted Terry with a view to taking a party of walkers. Terry said he could arrange transfers, B&B accommodation, packed lunches and luggage transfers at a reasonable price and the no-frills airlines fly into Faro. I managed to raise a group of twelve LDWA members interested in attempting the full route, which Terry said was around 150 miles. He said we should be able to complete it in 8 days with an experienced party and we went over in April 2008.

Frequent ridges cross the path; between them are steep sided valleys usually with streams (or rivers) in the bottom. Sometimes the streams are bridged, but often need to be forded; the ridges are often cultivated with deciduous woodland in the valleys. The route also crosses Mt. Picota and Mt Foia, the two highest summits in the Algarve, both around 3,000 feet in height.

The group enjoyed the overall experience but there were plusses and minuses. Amongst the plusses were the attractive scenery, excellent accommodation and food (including the option of regional specialities). Interesting architecture, including the village wells (fontes), old communal laundries, windmills and the odd castle and convent. Terry’s organisation was excellent and his patience when things did not work out was unbelievable. He also walked with us whenever he was not involved in luggage transfers which certainly saved us some navigational problems.

On the down side, the weather was unexpectedly changeable, varying from persistent pouring rain with strong winds to hot sunshine @ 25 degC. We were told the wind and rain was not usual and was blamed on the remains of a hurricane which had blown across the Atlantic.

Most days the walk was in excess of 20 miles and sometimes had a transfer at the end, making them very long with little chance of any relaxation. The group felt that the overall distance was probably at least 170 miles and perhaps a little longer.

The route description, although recently updated (February and March), seems to have been written by two or more people, so we never got used to the style; and we thought it needed further improvement. One member of the group had downloaded the old route description from the web-site and it occasionally got us out of trouble when the new amendments seemed to have clouded the issue.

The locations of the waymarks, which have been kept deliberately low key to avoid destruction or removal; compass bearings and other navigational information were listed on a separate sheet.

This turned navigation into a job for two people and after four days of frequent head scratching and minor detours, I was glad to give another pair a chance to try their luck. However, things did not improve and we still made at least one or two detours a day.

The whole group wish to thank Terry and his wife Jill for their efforts, which contributed greatly to an excellent holiday which everyone enjoyed. For anyone who enjoys a challenge, this holiday is one that we can heartily recommend; although it may be even more enjoyable over 9 or 10 days, rather than 8.

Terry and his friends deserve a very large medal for taking on the job of sorting out a linear route of this length, and taking on the arduous task of waymarking and constantly updating a route description. They asked the Portuguese government if they would assist with waymarking and were given an affirmative answer; but all the government did was to erect a post at the start of the walk.

Terry Griffiths (LDWA No. 7921)

 

 
Wet and Dry PDF Print Email
Written by Terry Ames   
On the 3rd April 12 Long Distance Walkers arrived in the Algarve to tackle the Algarve Way. None of them had been to the Algarve to walk before so they were in for a surprise, the countryside lush and green, the flowers in all their many colours magnificent to behold, good progress was made from the start at Alcoutim on the Friday to Vaqueiros in glorious weather, a bit to hot for my English walkers, the next day again in warm sun we made our way to Ribeira where our way was blocked by a rally taking place - my guests thought I had laid the entertainment on just for them - so we had to detour round to make Parizes by the evening. The next day on to Alte with the wind getting stronger and clouds building, then to Silves the wonderful ridge walk to Silves with the castle in all its glory sitting high over the city with a backdrop of storm clouds building. We started the long leg from Silves to Monchique the next day in some of the worst weather I have seen in the Algarve, I was to meet up with my walkers at the ford to cross the Ribeira do Odelouca which was by now a fast flowing river, after wading across my very wet walkers said what a wonderful day they were having, this weather was just like England. I did advise them that to carry on up and over Picota was risky and that I would have to guide them if they wished to continue, every man and woman said let's do it so we set off in rain which had to be seen to be believed, the streams up to Fonte Santa were by now nearly waist deep but it seemed to add to the enjoyment of the walkers, they were certainly seeing the Algarve in all its climatic changes.

Thanks to excellent instructions and waymarking and the trusty compass in thick cloud, high winds we made it to the trigpoint and then an easy downhill stroll in the lea of the hill to the cafe at the Galp station in Monchique where we proceeded to flood the floor with the water running off us while we consumed great amounts of hot chocolate and the bemused locals introduced my walkers to the restorative qualities of Brandymel and the local Firewater. It was still raining the next day as we headed up and over Foia with the clouds so thick that after leaving the top and heading for the wind turbines we could hear them but not see them until right upon them - very spooky! The weather improved as we dropped down into Marmalete, 2 more deepish rivers to cross as we made our way to Aljezur in the dry at last. From Aljezur down onto Carrapateira in rain, sun and wind just ideal for walking. Then down the beaches as far as Castelejo (thanks to Capt. Peter who was spot on with the tide). The last day looming was a short burst down to Cabo de S. Vicente in strong winds and sunshine to finish the 275km walk in an excellent time of 7 1/2 days, despite the changeable weather the walkers all had a good introduction to the countryside of the Algarve and went home impressed which is all any one could ask for.

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 March 2012 10:32