I’m sharing another walk from the Walking Trails of the Algarve this week. You’ll find Rocha Delicada, or Elegant Rock, on page 30 of the guide. This is a bit of a walk on the wild side, but I think my bird watching friends will love it, and I loved the variety of the landscape.
It’s very easy to tootle past the exit on E125 for Mexilhoeira Grande railway station, where the walk begins. I know, because we did. Faded grandeur is too kind an expression to describe the station, reached along a bumpy track, but do persevere. It gets better.
That’s Mexilhoeira Grande, over the wall, but you won’t go anywhere near it. Instead you cross the railway tracks and follow the signs. It’s an 8km circular walk, following the edge of the salt marshes out to the estuary of the Ria de Alvor.
As usually happens, the dog barks ferociously, but wags his tail at the intruders. An equestrian centre is something of a surprise, as are the snails adorning the wayside shrubs. The ripe figs are no surprise at all. And then you’re out amid the salt marshes.
Did you spot my heron friend? He kept trying to give me the slip but I was persistent. I wasn’t so lucky with the red dragonflies, flitting always just beyond my focus. And then the landscape opens out in a broad sweep, right across to Praia de Alvor. It’s a mesmerising sight. All along the shore couples, families and solitary pickers spend back-breaking hours collecting shellfish.
Because it’s so flat you can see for miles. All the way back to Mexilhoeira Grande, and across the lagoon to the resort of Alvor. During the autumn and winter migrations there are large numbers of waders and passerines. I gather that raptors pass through, but I can’t claim to have spotted peregrine falcons, kestrels or little owls. My partner has much better eyesight. I make do with heron.
The shellfish seekers stay out until the tide rolls in. Far in the distance, my partner spots a sight that amuses him greatly. It’s very warm for October and a parasol flutters, providing just enough shade for the dog, while his owner works.
The walk is now heading directly towards Rocha Delicada and I wonder how steep it will be to climb. My attention is temporarily diverted by a flock of flamingos, initially just specks in the distance. I half expect them to fly away at my approach but I’m able to get quite close.
One adventurer steps out determinedly, in search of better foraging. After a slight hesitation, the others follow. I watch, fascinated.
I’m not on my own because a number of cars are parked at the back of the marshes, to observe the birds. As often happens, we could have driven to this point, but where would be the fun in that? I’m slightly relieved, though, to find that access to the Rocha itself is prohibited. The walk returns over gently undulating farmland, with the odd sympathetic ruin for company.
There’s still a little excitement en route. A small plane circles overhead, discharging paragliders as it goes. We pass the aerodrome on our way back to the E125. ‘Maybe next time?’ I ask. ‘No way’ says the husband. But think of the view!
I’m half tempted to take you into Alvor, across the estuary. There’s a wonderful boardwalk to enjoy, after you’ve had a bite to eat on the waterfront. That’s what we did, but perhaps I should save it for another day. If you go looking for it, the Mexilhoeira Grande station turn off is on the E125, between Portimao and Lagos.
Once again I’d like to say thanks for all the good wishes and kindness since Dad died. It’s slowly becoming real to me, but I’m lucky. I have so many happy memories.
There’s a bumper crop of walks for you this week. Please take time to read and share. As always you can join in if you’d like. Details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page. Many thanks to all of you for taking part.
Meg shares so much beauty in this post. You won’t be able to resist :
I really like Violet’s sculptures. Well, not hers personally… you’ll see what I mean :
Chairlifts, mountains and marmots- another winner from Anabel :
I’ve seen many sunrises but I’d love to see one in Yosemite. Thanks, Biti!
I’m a sucker for a lovely garden, as Becky very well knows :
And while I’m down south, how about an outing with a Rusty Duck?
Geoff and Dog- the perfect partnership :
Kathryn takes the kids for a bit of a jaunt. Why not join her?
How well do you know Wellington, NZ? Let Amanda show you some highlights :
Drake knows Alsace pretty well. Such atmosphere in these wonderful ruins!
Adding a little drama and adventure to the walks, don’t miss Jill’s latest episode :
And there’s always space here for Becky. This is a less well known bit of Lisbon :
Still following Susan’s wanderings, but I’m a little behind :
That’s it for now. Happy Halloween to you! Hoping you have a great week.