It was a beautifully bright morning when I parked at the car park at Mirador de Jinama. I walked up to the viewing platform and was greeted with a spectacular view along the El Golfo valley of Frontera all the way along to Playa Arenas Blancas. Although disappointingly the highest point of the Island Malpaso was shrouded in low cloud.
There I awaited some friends before we left the view point and walked down to take the rough track off to the left that leads to the start of the walk along the El Golfo ridge.
No one knows for sure when El Golfo was formed, but it is believed to have been about 15,000 years ago when a number of huge landslides led to the formation of the ridge. The ridge is about 1,200 metres above sea level with a sheer drop in places of 1,000 metres. Rumour has it than when it collapsed it caused a tsunami in the Americas, but who knows, I’m not that old.
The track at first is quite wide and every so often gives you spectacular views down onto the valley floor below. Not a walk to take if you suffer with vertigo. We keep walking for about 10 minutes heading towards an old trig point at the top of the hill in front of us. They say that because of Global positioning Satellite (GPS) that these are now obsolete, and this one has certainly seen better days.
To the right of us we had great views across the lush green pastures of the area known locally as Meseta de Nisdafe. You could see the cattle lazily grazing in the fields. They occasionally looked across towards us, but then carried on feeding. Unfortunately today we could not see across to the Island of La Palma.
The track ends and you can see the well-trodden path that takes you even closer to the edge in places. You can admire the miles and miles of dry stone walls here. Some are well maintained and others have been left to collapse which makes the walking easier in places.
For the plant lovers amongst the group there was plenty of pretty flowers to interest them, though at the moment (February) the area is not at its best. The wild flower meadows will be in full bloom in another few weeks and will be stunning with vibrant colours.
Here the walk gives you two options. For the more nervous walkers you can keep to the inside of the dry stone wall that runs along the edge or be brave and walk on the outside. In most places it’s about 2 metres wide, but in places it’s only a few feet in width. The inside track means you have to climb over more walls, but they are sturdy and easy to negotiate.
As we walked you could see the clouds creeping up over the edge of the ridge behind us and eventually swirled around us. Visibility was still good but you couldn’t see down onto the coast.
The craggy rocks form weird and wonderful patterns and in places give you the impression that they are about to fall into the unknown abyss below us. But on closer inspection are quite secure.
As we walked we came across wells in the meadows, which we assumed were to give water to the grazing cattle or sheep. The mist lifted for a few minutes and we got glimpses of the bright blue sky above us, but not of the views to our left.
Our guide knew when it was best to keep within the walls has we negotiated areas of dense tree heathers which made walking along the edge of the ridge impossible. The weather was kind to us. We were rewarded with enticing glimpses of the rugged coast below us and got brief views down to La Maceta. The sea looked quite turbulent from our high view point.
The track is not level and you climb and descend in places, but all quite gentle. As the mist became a little denser we all regrouped and kept closer together. Here you could pass nearer the edge.
As quickly as the mist had descended on us it began to lift. It gave us tantalising glimpses down to, what had been the smallest hotel in the world at Las Puntas, and a view down to the entrance of the 3 kilometre tunnel which makes journey times a lot shorter that they used to be.
The cameras came out and those brave enough to pictures to show how high we were and the views from our vantage point.
We then started the descent from the top of the ridge through the tree heathers. In places it was quite dense from the new growth but we were able to pass easily with care. As we walked we were able to see down to the Roques de Salmor and see the red roof at our destination. Views back along the valley were still hidden beneath low clouds hanging to the edge of the ridge.
After we climbed over the last small wall we had a short walk in a lush and very green field. It was filled with clover fresh new grass and the water droplets were glistening in the sun. We then joined the path of the walk which leads from San Andrés to La Peña. As we walk we pass the top of the walk Camino de La Peña. Sadly this walk is still closed due to a huge landslide a few years ago.
The track descends and to out left is the ermita de la Virgen de La Peña. Today we are running behind schedule so keep walking. It’s not long before we reach the road. A left turn and a few hundred yards walk to the entrance to Mirador de La Peña. The Mirador stands about 650 metres above sea level and on a good day gives you views all along the El Golfo valley. Today although we had views the low cloud meant they were not at as good as they could be. Below the viewing platform lies the unique Restaurant designed by the famous Lanzarote architect César Manrique.
We go down into the café area for a well-deserved drink. The views from inside are as spectacular as from the viewing platform, as the front wall of the building is all glass. For the ladies, there is a further treat as the window from the ladies bathroom again looks across the valley. I can recommend this location for sitting and watching the sun setting.
A great walk enjoyed by all, but one I would not recommend doing on your own for safety reasons.