Archive for the ‘Tenerife’ Category

A Review of 2017   18 comments

I’ve read quite a few blog post in the past few days reviewing other peoples 2017 exploits. I enjoyed them so much I thought I’d do the same. Good excuse to look back through my photos and remember what we got up to. At my age I need help remembering stuff!.

Acutely conscious of the modern trend for these awful “round robin” letters you get at Xmas (we get one of these smugograms every year) I tried to select photos that bring back a particular memory for me so its more a personal, family introspection on outdoorsy stuff, than a blow by blow account of the year. As its based on my photo collection if I didn’t photograph it, it ain’t here!


We started the year off in Tenerife and New Years Day was spent on this rather splendid beach (the earlier part of the day was in the mountains but I cocked up the photos from that part of the day!)


Returning to the British winter, a walk along the Cats Back in the Black Mountains with TBF, memorable for a cloud inversion after a very wet morning. A reminder that despite our travels we are lucky to have some stunning scenery on our doorstep


A solo day out in the Brecon Beacons, the first snowy walk near to home and pretty much the only one with significant snow during the early part of the year (made up for it at the end)


A glorious day out in the Black Mountains with TJS and a cooked breakfast on a cold Table Mountain. I like this photo though as it has Mynydd Troed in centre shot, my very first mountain climbed when I was about 10


And my usual skiing trip (only a weekend this year) to finish off the month. Snow was a bit rubbish but we had a laugh nonetheless



Another solo day on Fan Fawr in the Brecon Beacons. I remember this day for a very mild Friday afternoon (16C) and snow in the mountains 18 hours later


A short walk with TBF on Hatterall Hill



The first weekend of the month is always spent in Scotland with friends of long standing. A new location at Bridge of Orchy and a two out of three days were magnificent winter days. The walk along this ridge high above Rannoch Moor on the first day was superb


Me and TJS also managed a cheeky backpack into the Black Mountains. Straight from work on the Friday for a one nighter in my new tent. Need to do more of these this year


2017 is the year I rediscovered cycling – mainly to help my knee and also to be less of a lazy layabout during the week. The Hardman – a VERY keen and VERY fit cyclist caught wind and insisted we meet up in the Peak for a trip along a couple of the old railway trails. A cracking sunny day and I survived cycling with the Hardman!


And we finally managed a meet up in the Berwyns with Uncle Fester after a few aborted attempts



More cycling and solo trip through the Brecon Beacons on the “Gap” route. Cycling to over 600m was a first for me and I started to feel that I almost, might, actually enjoy cycling.


Easter and a major backpacking trip with TJS to the Cairngorms. The weather was wild and windy but we had a couple of superb wild camps and TJS bagged his first Scottish 4000 footer


I even coaxed TJF out for a bike ride along the Brecon and Usk canal


May Day weekend was mostly in April. Mixed weather but we had a fine gaggle of friends on a hike around Greendale, taking in Buckbarrow and Seatallan



No finer way to celebrate a birthday than a lunchtime hike. This one was on one of my local hills, Bryn Arw with TBF


Followed by a weekend away in Cornwall. It almost felt tropical on the white sands just north of Padstow on one of our walks


Whitsun weekend was spent with our good friends in Silverdale. The Sunday was a real winner with a long but easy stroll and a fantastic pub lunch. Weather was mixed the rest of the time but great company, many laughs and a chance to relax



A different walk from the usual mountains. One of the small hills that overlook Gloucester and across to the Cotswolds. Not something I’d do every day but a nice change


One of the highlights of the year was the long-planned backpacking trip with the kids into the Howgills. Despite poor weather we gave it a go and it was a huge success. The kids really enjoyed the adventure and I’m hoping they have caught the wild camping bug



After the backpack trip I was out of action for a few weeks recuperating and resting after a minor knee op. Didn’t affect my water based fun though, a nice albeit far too long trip down the river Wye


By the end of July I was back in the hills again (the knee op has been a great success I’m pleased to say). A fine evening stroll with TBF and TJS on Ysgyryd Fawr (we even took a cheeky cold beer to drink on the top)


Another “local walk for local people” – this time Garway Hill where we reached the top, saw this nasty storm approaching and raced it back to the car. We won.


Late July brings the annual camping trip to Towyn Farm on the Llyn Peninsula. We packed in lots of walks and beach fun in a very mixed few days of weather. My abiding memory though was this game of Kubb which was huge fun with both adults and kids alike taking it far too seriously and larking about in equal measure. A happy afternoon



The big family trip of the year, a rail trip around some of Europe’s finest cities. An real change from our usual outdoor camping trips and it was real success. We all took took to the city life rather well you might say. One of my best ever holidays. A few photos that made me smile

One of the many fountains in Paris (we called this one the fountain of throttled fish)


A monster thunderstorm in Turin


My favourite seafront walk in Venice


The Colloseum in Rome – of course


Schloss Belvedere in Vienna (courtesy of an unplanned extra couple of hours from a very late train)


The thermal baths in Budapest – “like taking a bath in a wedding cake”


A stroll along the Spree river in Berlin on a sunny Sunday afternoon


And the railway bridge over the Rhine in Cologne



Back to earth with a bump. A few days after the heat and sun of Europe we were walking in the Black Mountains in driving rain and cold winds!


But there was still enough warm weather left for a round of the hills near the Talybont Reservoir in the Brecon Beacons



A walk with friends in the Roaches on the dreariest day of the year (when everywhere else was sunny – I’m not bitter)


More evidence of my new found cycling passion (probably too strong a word). A ride around the tracks of the New Forest while TJS took a look around Southampton University


And why settle for one trip to see major cities when you can do it twice. As a special treat for TJS 18th Birthday we spent a week in Barcelona. Probably my favourite city but despite all its famous sights, this little known hill and its view overlooking the city was my favourite spot



After sunshine comes the reality of winter. A couple of cold but beautiful days. One in the Black Mountains on the Sugar Loaf and Crug Mawr


And one of my favourite walks in the Black Mountain


A delayed birthday treat weekend for TBF saw us in Padstow for a couple of nice meals and walks along the Cornish coast and Dartmoor



And last into the proper depths of winter. The first snows saw me and TJS head into the highest peaks of the Black Mountains


The day after saw the biggest dump of snow I’ve seen in my own backyard for many a year. Walks around my village in deep snow under crisp blue skies were wonderful


The start of the Xmas holidays is marked with an annual get together of my University friends and their families. Always great fun but this year we could climb the hills in snow (rather than wet rain) and play at snowballs


Finally coming full circle with a return to the Canary Islands to spend Xmas in Lanzarote and Xmas Day sunning ourselves on the beach


Well I enjoyed looking through my photos, choosing a few and reliving a great year. Hope you enjoyed it too. All the best for 2018 🙂

The Last Voyage   4 comments

Sandwiched around our New Years Day outing were a couple of days spent in/on/near water. We’d booked onto a boat trip to go sail along the coast, spot dolphins and swim in the sea. Our vessel was the “Flipper Uno” recommended by the Funsters as great day out from last year. We were scheduled for New Years Eve and duly headed down to the harbour. Alas the strong winds caused them to cancel the trip so we were at something of a loose end.

We decided a day by the pool was in order and we went to the Oasis complex in Los Gigantes.


Despite being extraordinarily windy we had  rather a nice day.


We found as sheltered a spot as we could and the pool area is really rather classy with an infinity style view at one end and overlooked by the famous cliffs at the other


We had a few swims and a nice lunch and plenty of lazing around


TBF enjoyed her swims as did I




TJF enjoyed lazing in the sun


TJS looked a little underwhelmed by the whole experience


They fitted us in for a another trip on our last day. Here is our chosen vessel


The weather was grand and the views from the boat were mighty fine. A different perspective from out at sea





Alas the dolphins were a little shy. The Funsters assured us they were jumping and swimming along with the boat last year. We saw a couple of lazy looking specimens that did nothing much before vanishing beneath the waves. That’s the natural world for you, can’t be relied upon to put on a show!


The boat headed back to Masca Bay (where our gorge walk ended last year) for lunch and a swim. It’s a really spectacular spot



We were encouraged to swim and take a leap off the rope swing. I’m pretty pleased with my efforts swinging out the furthest, as several people made a complete hash of it. No photos of my success but you get the idea from this random small boy


It was fantastic swimming near to the cliffs in fairly bouncy, deep, clear water, a memorable experience


One of the crew made amends for the limited dolphin views by letting the gulls take food from his mouth. Actually pretty impressive and I wouldn’t do it. The gulls must know the timing as they were all gathered waiting for a feed


The ride back home along the cliffs was equally spectacular





In truth the whole thing was just too tacky for me – all pirate costumes and cheesy music – but it was fun and a nice family way to end the holiday. As a finale we took a visit to the natural rock swimming pool for a dip and to watch the waves bouncing



Even though the water was swirling wildly you could still see shoals of fish hugging the rocks. I like this spot as well


There are some video clips of the waves in the slide-show


So the end of our winter sun trip and something that I’ll be reluctant to give up now. A combination of warm sunshine, swimming, walking and the avoidance of all things Xmas is an irresistible combination for me.

All is Quiet on New Years Day   4 comments

We didn’t really celebrate New Years Eve, not really our sort of thing. A quiet night in although TBF and TJS stayed up to watch the fireworks (put on by local hotels) from our balcony.

I thought New Years Day would be good for an outing, assuming many others woukld be recovering from the excesses from the night before. We’d never been to the NE corner, the Anaga Pensinsula so I though we ought to put that right. The nice thing about Tenerife is its diminutive size so it only took an hour to drive from one end to the other.

I’d read that the Anaga is rather splendid and so it proved. I asked TJS to take us to some obvious spot to get our bearings and he chose Mirador Pico del Ingles


It was breathtaking and the weather crystal clear. The views were just stunning. There seemed be one long central ridge where the road runs with several deep ravines carved on either side and numerous small villages perched impossibly on the sides


There was a wonderful covering of forest in complete contrast to the barren moonscape on El Teide (seen in the haze below)




It was wonderful and breathtaking vista and the whole area just begged to be explored


We only had one day so options were limited. We headed down to Taborno on the northern side figuring we had a better chance of avoiding the very keen wind. The views from the village were equally stunning. Alas my camera had reset itself to minimum size and resolution so the photos are reduced in size and not the best quality but I think you can still see the majesty of the place


The gorges plummet down to the glittering sea. Everywhere we could see paths snaking down to distant headlands and beaches. The walking in these parts looks superb although hard work as everything is either steep up or steep down


We had our picnic in the deserted village square by the church. A few laughs watching TBF chase our litter around in the wind



We took a short stroll out towards the pointed spire of Roque de Taborno


The slopes were especially good for lizards and we saw several scuttling about including some decent sized specimens


There is a path that completely encircles the base and is supposedly pretty spectacular and exposed. We were limited by time so just too an amble out to take a decent close up


I even managed to get the kids to pose for a photo



We took an alternative unsigned path on the way back that was pretty vertiginous in its own right. I was a glorious walk, only about an hour but as enjoyable as any I’ve done on Tenerife. The clear weather and contrast in colours was memorable.




Walking needs satisfied we finished the day off at the beach. We plunged down a ravine that emerged straight on to Playa de las Teresitas, one of Tenerife’s finest beaches



Its a strand of golden sand, unusual in Tenerife and I’m pretty sure the sand is imported from the Sahara. The beach is protected by a large breakwater and is perfect for families with gentle slopes into a calm sea. There was added interest from the ships berthed off shore and the para-gliders circling above. I liked this place a lot


Me and TJS took a wander to the end of the breakwater from where there was a splendid vista back across the beach





We spent a happy couple of hours wandering up and down. As it was late in the day the beach had enough people to feel welcoming without being in any way crowded




The setting of the sun behind the headland told us it was time to go


This is how New Years Day should be spent. No idea what the weather was like back home and frankly I didn’t care! 🙂

The North Coast   12 comments

It was time for a leisurely day out and we went to the north coast on the assumption it might be sheltered from the wind. We went first to Garachico, which is a lovely town. Its been rebuilt over the past couple of hundred years having been all but wiped off the map by a volcanic eruption and lava flow.

Those lava flows reached the sea and created some deep channels and pools full of crystal clear water. When we came last year  we couldn’t get close as the waves were too big and scary. This year whilst still large we could take a closer look.



As you can see it was still pretty wild and the water was charging up and down the channels in a most impressive fashion. You see pictures of people swimming in these channels but I can’t imagine it ever being safe


There are some deep pools that are sheltered from the waves and they did look very clear and inviting (had it not been for a sanitary towel floating in one!). The crabs seemed to like it here though



The whole area is criss-crossed by concrete walkways making for a very entertaining amble with the added risk of the odd soaking from an occasional larger wave


I waited for ages to see if the family would get such a soaking but circumstances wouldn’t oblige



The old harbour has been splendidly restored and they have put exercise machines out. The juniors posed for me after some pressure. I would have had a go but I have a bad knee



We wandered into town and had a marvellous lunch in an excellent and exceedingly friendly restaurant on the town square. Goat and fresh fish was the order of the day


To fill the afternoon we thought we’d take a look at Puerto de la Cruz (PDLC), the original Tenerife holiday resort. We parked up by the western beach and walked along the shore, through town and back to get a feel for the place. The waves looked a bit scary so we declined a swim

Next to the beach was a huge area of piled stones, several hundred of them, all together, impressive and surreal in equal measure



The waves were mighty and judging by the efforts to block them and the obvious damage they still cause is testament to the power of the Atlantic swell



We wandered past the harbour into the busy heart of town


We wanted to take a look at the Lago Martianez, a huge complex of swimming pools that appears on every image of PDLC. It occupies all of the headland to the left of the hotel in the photo below and I have to say it looked pretty impressive and is probably worth a day out


PDLC also has some fine views direct to the summit of El Teide (you can’t see it from the west and south coast)


Apart from that and whilst we did enjoy our afternoon we weren’t all that taken with PDLC. It looks dated with lots of high rise from the 70’s and its loud, brash and a little tacky. I think it needs some serious money spending to bring back to life. The north coast is stunning but I think I’d choose to stay elsewhere

Posted January 20, 2017 by surfnslide in Spain, Tenerife

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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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Hazy Shade of Winter/Summer   10 comments

In between Xmas and the unsuccessful attempt on El Teide was Boxing Day. Despite it being a very hazy day (more of the sand and dust in the air blown in from the Sahara) me and TJS wanted to do a walk. We agreed that the Funsters would drop us off we’d walk down to the coast to meet them. The drive was an event in itself. The road through the mountains of NW Tenerife is narrow with some seriously scary drops and busy with traffic. There are plenty of “whoaa!” moments as traffic bears down on you on one side and empty space with the sea below on the other.

Once we arrived at the start I was glad to revert to foot travel and the route while hazy looked good and so it turned out


The col was busy with tourists but 5 mins and we were alone. The route was quite superb. The path twisted through a verdant green of trees, shrubs and cacti, switching from the ridge and across to slopes on either sides


The target was the summit of Baracan (just left of centre in the photo below) at just over 1000m. I should point out that we started at around 800m so effort was minimal!


In places the path was spectacularly perched above the deep ravines that slice through this dramatic section of mountains


The views any further than a mile or so were vague and hazy so it was the local sights that held the eye.


This is looking back to the road and the pass where we started from


The diversity of flora was amazing, prickly pear being very common (one of the heaviest plants where it grows out of control and almost impossible to eradicate once its established)



After the summit we began to descend towards the coast, the landscape very reminiscent of Provence




We emerged from a short patch of very dark, dense and cool forest to this spot with red rocks and soil. The photo doesn’t really do justice to the stark colour contrast


We dropped to the sleepy little village of Teno Alto and the scenery suddenly changed to one of rural pastures


Another one of those stunning contrasts that Tenerife is able to deliver



We then dropped through a steeper section of terraced farmland perched on the side of the Barranco de las Cuevas.


And then suddenly the coast appeared where the farmland tumbles over 1000 feet of jagged cliffs and gorges down to the sea


The path did the same dropping in a series of endless switchbacks with the heat increasing as we went down


The path hit the road at this huge banana plantation or more accurately, production facility. Bananas are big business in Tenerife. Unfortunately


By the time we reached the road my knees were shattered by over 1000m of descent and were further hammered by a mile walk along the baking tarmac to the car park. We met the funsters and had a much deserved picnic on the lava above the sea and amongst the flowering prickly pear


There is small rather untidy and scrubby little harbour where its calm enough for a swim. The beach is never going to win any awards but the water is spectacularly clear. I went for a snorkel and had one 0f the best experiences I’ve ever had outside a coral reef. The waters were teeming with colourful fish, crabs, sea slugs, urchins etc. Alas I’d forgotten my waterproof camera. The water was also refreshingly cool after a hot days walking

We took a small stroll around the headland before we headed home


The views were still rather smoky and dusty but with lowering sun still impressive and atmospheric



One of the very best walks I’ve done in Tenerife, followed by an excellent snorkel and walk in one of my favourite places. Not a bad Boxing Day


Tenerife Bits and Pieces (and more sunsets)   6 comments

After our first full day we had some rain! Mostly overnight and into the morning letting us have a lie in. The best thing about a winter sun holiday here is that spells of bad weather never last long and it was sunny by lunchtime. Time to spend a few hours lazing by and swimming in the pool



And nice sunset to end the day





Xmas Eve saw TBF and TJS head off for a walk leaving me and TJF to spend some quality father-daughter time together. We walked down into Los Gigantes (via a set of steps that went almost to the beach then suddenly stopped in the middle of waste ground so we had climb back to the top again) and paid a visit to the natural rock swimming pool.


Its perfect for a swim and has the added excitement of large Atlantic waves that break over the retaining wall turning the pool fizzy for a few seconds


Needless to say I had a swim to peer over the wall. Rather intimidating on day like this when the swell was rather large but perfectly safe (although there is no way I would I have stood on the slippery wall to dive in. Fall the other way and you’d be in very big trouble)


It was rather good to just stand in the pool and let the waves break over you


I was well chuffed with this photo. Just catching it perfectly with the breaking wave and three synchronised divers.


The views of the coast weren’t half bad either




We had a very nice lunch together and followed that with me accompanying TJF to do some shopping. I hung around outside with my wallet primed while she shopped, occasionally trying on silly hats to try and embarrass her. After another rolling of eyes I slipped away to take a look at the cliffs from the small town beach. It was a great day as we don’t very often spend time together just the two of us


Christmas Day and unlike last year we managed a swim. It was a bit breezy and cool but plenty warm enough for a swim on the beach at Playa de las Americas




Much better than spending all day cooking, watching TV and the rain outside. Another fine sunset before an improvised Christmas dinner that did involve poultry and roast potatoes. I even thought I’d managed to find some pigs in blankets. However what I thought were sausages wrapped in bacon turned out to be dates! I tried to pretend they were nice but they were pretty gross. Some kind of Tapas it seems. Dates in Blankets, who’d have thought



A couple of days later I dropped TJS and TBF off so they could climb El Teide, staying at the hut as last year. There was loads of snow and all was set for a successful ascent. However TJS came down with a bad case of altitude sickness (the hut is at 3200m) and they had to head down without reaching the summit. Me and TJF headed to the beach but it was so windy we couldn’t get near it without being sand-blasted. We did get some nice views of the snowy mountains on the way down by way of compensation





I had to pick up the weary climbers the next morning so we had the afternoon for another walk into Los Gigantes and more shopping



And, to finish off this post, yet another glorious sunset



More walking adventures to come

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