La Palma – 22 Feb to 1 March
The downside of this holiday was driving over the Dark Peak from South Yorkshire to Manchester Airport at 2:00am on a cold February night where the thermometer in the car never rose above 1c. The first highlight of the holiday was going down the steps from the aeroplane to the tarmac in La Palma airport at 11:30am and to feel the sun and smell the 20c warmth.
The weather stayed in the +20c all week. The hotel was very good (check Thompson’s website for the pictures and video). The hotel is clean, has friendly staff and lots of choice at meal times and mostly of a very good standard.
Bob, our walk leader, was efficient, knowledgeable, friendly and supportive. Highlight for walking was the 620 metre climb from Cumbrecita to the top of Pico Bejendado. This gave stunning and surprisingly cloud free views of the Caldera de Taburiente (a must see!). Above the clouds the snow capped Mt Teide on Tenerife was clearly seen.
Bob planned things well so we could enjoy a real taste of the island. Walks through the laurel and giant heather and on up through Canary Pines to the volcanic ash; a walk past volcanoes and through lava fields on some of Earth’s youngest land down to the sea; a walk through sub tropical rain forests in ravines; and even an unexpected 1300 metre descent on the last day when our walk on the `Ruta de los Volcanoes’ had to be curtailed when the cloud came down (or never lifted). Whatever wildlife was around we saw: lizards, choughs, buzzards, kestrels etc.
Another abiding memory is the variety of underfoot conditions. Volcanic sand, tough, uneven, barren lunar landscapes of the lava fields, slippery needles from the Canary Pines. Boots and poles are recommended.
This was my first Ramblers Worldwide Holiday and has set a standard that might never be attained again. Good D+ (C) walking, good leader, good hotel, good weather, good bunch of people to walk with and very happy memories that will live with me for a long time. Too many bananas though!
Thank you Ramblers Worldwide Holdiays for making this happen!