After meandering around on Day 6 the route on Day 7 strikes decisively south. It’s a pleasant walk combining coastal and inland scenery with the best bits at the beginning and the end. My initial aim, to combine the 24km Historic Trail section to Carrapateira with the 10km Carrapateira Fishermen’s Trail circular, ultimately proved a little too ambitious, but I think I managed to see the best bits.
|Heading down to the Canal beach|
What was particularly interesting today was the number of other walkers on the trail. I had expected the numbers to drop off after completing the main Fishermen’s Trail but today I saw at least 10 other walkers all heading north. These included one walker who was following the E9 all the way up the Portuguese coast.
|From the Canal |
After leaving Arrifana the route crosses a sandy heath and then descends down to the Canal beach and another beauty spot popular with surfers. The descent down to the beach and the ascent from it is the steepest stretch on the whole route, but doesn’t stop the VW camper vans. The route then heads inland through trees which include cork oak, Portuguese oak and oleaster before entering a more arable but sparsely populated countryside. The remains of numerous little white windmills feature throughout and they must have been quite a sight when operational.
|Surfers heading to Canal beach|
The last third of the walk is spent in a very pretty and very green valley. Half way along the valley is the little village of Bordeira which has a bar. I stopped for a coffee and a sandwich. The bar, run by an Australian woman, was packed with locals who just seemed to be passing the time of day, the whole population of the village must have been there and it was hard to find a place to sit. The oldest man, toothless and apparently asleep, suddenly stirred when he sensed my presence, stood up, grabbed my shoulder and put me in his chair - this is a worrying new development.
|Pyramid orchid (but what do I know)|
|The gentle valley on the approach to Carrapateira|
Perhaps I would have been able to complete the 10km Carrapateira Fishermen’s Trail circular had I not attempted a short cut on the approach to the town which turned out to have the opposite effect. I could see the hotel I was aiming for, located just to the east of the town below me on the other side of a valley, but hadn’t spotted the river in between. It’s funny the way rivers run along valleys. Anyway by the time I found a crossing I had lost about an hour and despite leaving my bag at the hotel only managed to get about half way round the circular route before the light started to fail and the rain began to fall. Shame, but it was still a great stretch of walking, lots more fishermen hanging from cliffs, and a good end to an excellent day.