Friday, 30 November 2012

Valle Arriba circular walk via Arguayo and Las Manchas

 Valle de Arriba

Continuing my recent exploration of footpaths in and around the Santiago valley, I set off on Wednesday from Valle de Arriba to walk to Arguayo with the intention of returning via La Hoya mountain and the village of Las Manchas. As usual, I was wearing shorts and T-shirt but had to stop fairly soon to don my lightweight anorak owing to a sudden downpour of chilly rain. As the Santiago valley marks the dividing line between the north and south micro-climates, it can often be shrouded in mist and rain on the northern side while the southern side is bathed in sunshine.

Rainbow over the Santiago valley

Today, however, didn't look very promising in either direction as I climbed out of the village following signs for Arguayo on a steep rocky path that was soon flanked by drystone walls. Looking across the valley, I enjoyed the wonderful sight of a rainbow, which combined with the weather gave the walk a strangely 'non-Tenerife' feel.

Ascending from the Santiago valley

This feeling was soon dispelled however after reaching the top of the climb as I joined a path across the lava fields of the Chinyero reserve below Montaña Bilma. This part of the walk, despite being uncomfortable underfoot, was scenically remarkable, the lava having the appearance of a frozen, stormy sea. After crossing the lava, the walk entered the Corona Forestal natural park, the scenery now softened by the green of the Canary pines and the amazing display of hundreds of 'bejeque' plants growing from the lava.

Crossing the lava below Mt.Bilma

Pines and bejeque plants soften the landscape 

The weather improves

The path now descended fairly steeply in improving weather before arriving in the village of Arguayo, which has a tradition of producing pottery but unfortunately, I arrived too late to visit the Cha Domitila pottery museum, which had just closed.

Descending to Arguayo

Wine press in Arguayo

Leaving the village, I passed a well preserved wine press and climbed up a driveway leading to a spectacular pathway around La Hoya mountain. The scenery from the path was superb with views the length of the valley from Tamaimo to Santiago del Teide and across to the mountains on the far side. The only negative on this wonderful stretch was the sight below of the unfinished ring-road, threatening to spoil the natural beauty of the valley. After descending to the edge of the road, I climbed the very steep track into the village of Arguayo.

Views from La Hoya

Here I crossed the main road and continued climbing towards Montaña Bilma and shortly after passing a calvario shrine, I turned left onto a wide path marked out with stones across the black volcanic cinder. Looking back, I enjoyed a superb view of Teide complete with a dusting of snow on the summit before reluctantly turning my back on this marvellous scene to follow an undulating path across the hillside.

Montaña Bilma

Teide with a dusting of snow

Soon, the village of Valle de Arriba came back into view and I rejoined my outward path, descending in a shower, the second time in a week that I had finished a walk in the village in rain.      
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