Winter Holiday in Gran Canaria – El Aserrador and El Juncal   16 comments

After a couple of days R&R and mountains on the doorstep, we had itchy feet and needed to go out for a hike. The weather had returned to glorious clear blue skies so we headed out and back up the winding mountain roads into the heart of the island (stopping for another look at view of the valley behind the resort)

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Using our trusty – or rather less than trusty – Paddy Dillon guidebook we planned a walk from the pass of El Aserrador.

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What became instantly clear is that Gran Canaria is absolutely stunning. Huge deep valley’s and gorges slice through massive towers of rock, all of it cloaked in sparse forest and shrubs. We pulled over and parked up and after a quick remark about how cold it was in the wind (we were at over 1500m after all) we took in the utterly breathtaking views.

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We set out as per the guidebook instructions looking for the path but couldn’t find it. After a speculative rummage in the undergrowth I found a trace of a path which turned out to be the real one now largely obscured. Mr Dillon needs to revisit the island and update his book to say “walk up the road a bit to find the well marked broad path” rather than trying to find this unmarked sheep track.

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No matter when the walk takes you along past rock towers like this and along a superb and easy high level path twisting around a ridge above deep gorges and lakes.

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As soon as we reached the ridge we started to catch sight of El Teide on Tenerife across the ocean.

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Having climbed it a few years back it was great to see from a distance. It dominates the skyline when you are in the right spot and it will feature in loads of my photos both on this post and others. Being west of Gran Canaria it catches the winter sun and is very clearly seen most days. An iconic sight and a pleasing one when you’ve been to the top.

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The path was wonderful with open expansive views all around. It defied the guidebook description of “occasional views”!

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From the sketches in the guidebook it was hard to tell what kind of walk it would be and I wasn’t expecting a high level walk along a ridge. On a clear day like this it was a magnificent stroll.

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I had no real mental picture of Gran Canaria other than the coastal strip of high rise hotels and beaches. I had an idea the interior was mountainous but no real concept of just how dramatic it was. Coupled with some really splendid small, quiet mountain villages its truly amazing.

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The path allowed us to take in some of the small summits on the ridge and we stopped on one of the higher ones for a spot of lunch.

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Continuing on for more of the same – as I say my camera was going a bit crazy with the images, especially the contrast between the trees, rock and deep blue sky.

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The lake in the left of the shot below is where we had lunch on the first day.

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The pointy rock in the distance is Roque Nublo one of the islands most famous sights. More on that in a later post.

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Panorama shot looking west across the mountains to Tenerife and El Teide.

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Everywhere, there deep gorges, small villages, rocky crags that just begged to be explored. Gran Canaria has a great network of well marked paths that would take weeks to explore to the full. This one was a really good start.

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This is the highest peak on the ridge, Morro de Pajonales, which I’d like to have climbed but it had a band of rock near the path that looked tricky and massive sheer cliffs all around. Another visit perhaps.

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This is a shot looking back up the valley we needed to walk to return to the car (it was parked under the cliffs in the middle of the photo.)

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The return took us along a forestry track which I normally don’t like. This was one had views at every turn and was a very nice easy descent back to the bottom of the valley and the sleepy village of El Juncal.

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Sadly a descent to the bottom of the valley to cross it meant a long climb back along the road. We were learning that valleys and gorges in Gran Canaria are very deep and routes that cross then involve a lot of ascent and descent.

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The amount bare rock is quite extraordinary and not what I expected. There are huge and towering rock faces in every direction and some of the paths we found wandering through were superb. Again more of that in later posts.

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The pointy rock here is Roque Bentayga, a sacred site for the original occupants of the island.

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We returned to the car fully satisfied after a fantastic introduction to the delights of the mountainous interior. On top of that we’d come across no-one on the walk. Never a better illustration about how reality can be so radically different to expectations from tourism.

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A superb day out and back home for a very quiet New Years Eve. I don’t really do party’s and late nights. This is how I think you should bring in the New Year.

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16 responses to “Winter Holiday in Gran Canaria – El Aserrador and El Juncal

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  1. aww…wonderful…
    greeting- evi erlinda

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  2. My word, those rock faces are huge. Have to say that is a surprise for a place that conjures up sandy beaches.

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  3. Reminds me of the Sedona, Arizona area without all the red rock.

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  4. Stunning Scenery. Can’t beat jaggy country.

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  5. “I don’t really do party’s and late nights. This is how I think you should bring in the New Year.” Or a drunken swim in an icy sea loch, obviously.
    Hard to beat such pristine blue skies and stunning scenery.

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    beatingthebounds
  6. How incredibly ruggard! How does anything manage to grow?
    Your excitement of finding this brilliant land, is quite obvious through your writing. I’m eager to read of your next hike.

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    • It was one of the reasons I liked Gran Canaria was the greenery. Lanzarote was a bit arid and bare (although I still liked it). Apparently the trees have been re-introduced after centuries of over grazing and the island looks much the better for it.

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  7. Wow, that is a rugged landscape!

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    Brenda-Dawn Linney
  8. Well, that was a good start. Dramatic scenery and blue skies

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    • Our first couple of days by the coast were a bit cloudy but this day was a return to clear blue skies and a sensational walk. Amazed, still, that we saw no-one hiking the same trail. Its a wonderful island for hiking especially in winter

      Liked by 1 person

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