Tour leader Alf Robertson’s group found themselves missing the traditional British winter weather on Christmas Day on Fuerteventura. Well, almost … the Canary Islands did provide the white stuff in the end!
The prospect on Christmas morning in Morro Jable was bleak and unpromising – the sun shone unrelentingly on our south-facing sea view balconies from an unbroken blue sky, tempered by a , warm and gentle breeze. We congregated at the vast breakfast buffet in grim mood. The weather report threatened us with 21° by the afternoon. Punch-drink after days of endless sunshine, we greeted each other with bravely assumed heartiness. But were we really going to be so cruelly deprived of our White Christmas?
However, Ramblers are made of stern stuff, and we donned our heavy burden of protective equipment (sun lotion, check; sunglasses, check; lip salve, check; sun hat, check; large water bottle, check …). We marched off directly inland from the hotel, swimming against the tide of gaudily semi-clad beach lovers. Three hours of steady progress on gently climbing gravelly volcanic paths took us away from the naked Teutons collapsed on the beach and through similarly bare but rather more shapely and colourful volcanic hills. Every colour of the rainbow that is, but not a trace of white. At our high point on the dramatic Degollada pass, huge black rock cliffs plunged down to a parched brown plain, bordered by a thin pastel-shaded line of sand bordering the endless blue Atlantic stretching towards Gran Canaria. Even Zarza, the highest peak on the island at over 2,500 feet, couldn't muster a drop of the white powder. And someone's IPhone rubbed it in by messaging that Sheffield was grinding to a halt, buried in the stuff!
The group’s desperate leader, prepared for such an awful eventuality, plunged into his bulging rucksack and emerged with two bottles of bubbly and an array of Spanish Christmas sweets. The group put aside their disappointment and made a creditable – nay giggly, cheery even – show of enjoying themselves before the time came to wend our way back down.
The leader dawdled at the back in the warm afternoon sunshine, pondering the toughness of life. All this – and we had already missed the Christmas shopping back home and were too late for the Boxing Day Sales …
But one should never lose hope, for as we rounded the headland and dropped into the bustle of Morro Jable, there it was – a glorious curve of shining white gleamed for 20 miles into the hazy distance. Bingo!
Well, OK, it was the sand of one of Europe's longest and loveliest beaches and not quite what Bing Crosby had in mind, but it wasn't half nice. So we dived down against the now returning flow of lobster-coloured beach bums and found a lovely seaside bar for a cool beer. Not bad, really. And I reflected that RWH could probably be persuaded to send me back again to look for snow next year!
Want to join me for a different kind of White Christmas?