We knew it wouldn’t be easy, the dogs made it worse.
We are now off the official GR131 and trying to cobble together a port to port route which my map shows. At this stage I feel the need to name and shame – Freytag & Berndt 1:50000. From the first day the depicted red line for the 131 has not matched up to what is on the ground but in the middle section we could rely on the official waymarks. We were now on our own at the mercy of said map and Spanish paths. I wonder if there is a better map available.
A bus took us back to last night’s point and we walked along the road for a while. Turning down the lane of the red line all seemed simple, we were on our way. Every dwelling had some variety of vicious dog barking at us from behind bars, this turned out to be the pattern for the day whenever we passed a dwelling – is the crime rate so high that they need so many barking dogs. The flowers and fruits by the wayside were a distraction until we were stopped dead by a house built across the lane. Back up and then down the next which thankfully gave us a way out onto other lanes which dodged under the motorway.
We found ourselves in a leafy suburb with smart mansions. A footpath at the edge of a barranca was picked up and this took us through cork oak and eucalyptus woodlands on a ridge in the right direction. Then it stopped and perhaps we chose the wrong option down through streets to the very edge of the motorway. We figured we were on a slip road so carried on in dangerous proximity to fast moving traffic. With relief we escaped onto a winding road back into the hills. We relocated ourselves on the map and climbed out of the urban streets, as soon as we saw a hill we set off up it on a scrambly path – probably our next mistake.
Emerging through dense under growth onto the top with a trig point, possibly El Pulpito 710m, we reassessed and were nowhere near where we thought. Below us was the runway of Tenerife Airport North which we had at least circumvented. It was fun to watch the planes landing and taking off.
A new course was set with more confidence across wide muddy tracks and up into another range of volcanic hills, Montana de la Atalaya. Ridge walking was a joy and we strode out with more ranges of hills on the horizon. Coming back down to housing we lost the plot. We hoped to reach Ermita de San Diego but never got near it and eventually just took the easiest option into La Laguna. On the outskirts dogs were ever present noisily stalking their premises. It was good to be back in the friendly central streets, we picked up our excess luggage at Hotel Aguere and enjoyed a beer in their spacious atrium. We may have walked 20k.
Because we were behind schedule tonight’s accommodation was booked in nearby Santa Cruz so we took the modern tram, again so cheap, down to the coast. Our Hotel Pelinor was only a few hundred metres from the tram stop and again fortunately in the old town. The recommended restaurant, La Hierbita, proved a great success.
Next week the final chapter.