Reach for the Stars   16 comments

TJS had spotted a possible educational outing in Tenerife. The Funsters headed off by bus to spend a day on (or rather not on) the windy beach and me and the other sherpa headed back up to the high mountains. Before the planned activity we had time for a short walk before lunch


The guidebook mentioned a short walk that could be fitted in while waiting for a bus. It suited both my infirm knee and our limited time but up here even the shortest walk delivers.


It was a round of an old volcanic cone called Alto de Guamasa and it was sensational. Its perched high above the steep forested northern slopes and the views were awesome. A snowy El Teide on one side



This short was to shown people back home there was enough snow to ski on (many people were sledging on body boards!)



On the other side were spectacular views down to the north coast





The scenery was ever changing as the path completely circled the cone. Bare lava slopes of various hues, forests and El Teide always dominating



Only took an hour but another classic walk

After a brief lunch we were off to our main destination. TJS is planning on doing Astrophysics at University and when he saw that they did organised tours of the Observatory up here, well, he was rather keen


Its perched up at just shy of 2400 metres which probably explains why he looks so cold, seeing as it was just that, very cold in fact.


It has a whole range of telescopes and technology. Its primary function is as a solar observatory (the three big towers above) one of the top 3 in the world (the others are in Hawaii and Chile)


The best location for such things are oceanic islands with high mountains. When observing the sun the main challenge is local ambient heat. The ocean acts as some kind of thermal barrier that minimises the effect of localised and of course being high up in clear atmosphere helps a lot. Even the plants that grow up here help

Photo below shows a whole host of other technology (Gran Canaria in the background), one of which is a microwave telescope looking for the origins of the universe and the big bang and part managed by Manchester University where TJS hopes he might one day end up


Here we got look at the Electromagnetic image of the sun. There were no sunspots to see but you could see solar flares which was impressive


Of course from up here the views of the island were also damned fine


The two guys who did the tour were enthusiastic, knowledgeable and good humoured. I would have liked to have seen inside one of the solar telescopes but we did get to see one of their older reflective telescopes up close. They also did an audio visual presentation that was way better than any planetarium show I’ve ever seen

Needless to say TJS was in his element. Much of what was said went over my head a bit but like TJS I could see it would be damned fine place to work. Much better than being a Project Manager for an Mobile Phone company


On the way down we had to wait in traffic but in a spot where the views back to El Teide and the Roques de Garcia was superb in the late afternoon light. Two identical pictures, one taken with my phone one with my DSLR. Pretty hard to tell the difference!



Superb day out, something completely different and educational that I hope has inspired TJS still further to continue his hard work at college. Hopefully I can come visit when he works here!




Posted January 17, 2017 by surfnslide in Spain, Tenerife, Walking

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16 responses to “Reach for the Stars

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  1. I half expected an S club 7 song to go with the pics after the title of that post!!! Love those last two photos as well


    • Oh dear, rather dismayed that I prompted that song to enter your head. Alas I don’t have any S-Club 7 tracks in my collection 🙂
      The sun is in the perfect position in late afternoon to light up the rocks. It was actually a pleasure to be able stop in the traffic and get out to take a proper look

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Looks an amazing island and trip. Can’t beat winter sun in a place that would probably be too hot in the peak summer months.


    Blue Sky Scotland
    • Apparently its unbearably hot in the summer. In winter up high its just wonderful, crisp clear cool air but with a warmth from the sun. Very similar to summer walking in the Alps or Pyrenees and very quiet. Not that many people actually go walking in Tenerife (other than a few hundred yards from the car park). There are some pretty serious tough walks and loads of short wanders. Its all rather splendid


  3. Wonderful scenery! I would have loved that observatory tour as well. Looked a brilliant setting.


    • It is a very fine spot to place an observatory. It does feel like the top of the world (if you don’t have Teide in shot!). The brilliant white buildings set things off and don’t actually look out of place. It was flippin’ cold though


  4. How cool to visit the observatory! The surrounding terrain reminds me of Central Oregon, lots of scrub brush and volcanic remnants.


    • Its was cool in both senses of the word and very enjoyable. Its a different world up there, quite surreal in many ways but stunning nonetheless. I really like that barren, desert sort of feel


  5. Enough snow for Mad Malcs maybe. What a great idea for a day out. If TJS goes to Manchester, can we all rejoin MUHC? I’m sure we’d be most welcome, surely? And the EWO is a life member isn’t he?


    • Too much snow for MM really, a heavy frost is more his thing, but there was enough for a few decent turns and I’m sure in some of TBFs photos I saw ski tracks! I’ve told him what a fine place Manchester is as a base for non-curricular activities although I doubt you can get a pint for less than a £1 any more. Not sure I want to be known as the new Dave Vaughan or John Harrup

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Such dramatic scenery. It looks hard work and definitely not to be attempted in summer. Best wishes to TJS for his future plans.
    I checked out your past climb of El Teide. Just an amazing experience. Incredible shadow from the peak.


    • He’s working hard but he’s set himself some tough targets, fingers crossed
      Glad you enjoyed the Teide post. That was an amazing and very tough day. It such an iconic peak. Glad I made the summit


  7. How nice to read that You visited the observatory of Teide. Gorgeous photos as always. Happy weekend!


  8. Love the volcano!


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