Jo’s Monday walk : Rocha Delicada

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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.

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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.

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img_4014Because 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.

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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.

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One adventurer steps out determinedly, in search of better foraging.  After a slight hesitation, the others follow.  I watch, fascinated.

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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.

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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.

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Meg shares so much beauty in this post.  You won’t be able to resist :

Poland- a land of folklore?

I really like Violet’s sculptures.  Well, not hers personally… you’ll see what I mean :

Corydon Avenue

Chairlifts, mountains and marmots- another winner from Anabel :

Grand Teton National Park

I’ve seen many sunrises but I’d love to see one in Yosemite.  Thanks, Biti!

Sunrise in Yosemite

I’m a sucker for a lovely garden, as Becky very well knows :

There are so many trails to explore

And while I’m down south, how about an outing with a Rusty Duck?

Blown Away At Boscastle

Geoff and Dog- the perfect partnership :

Woolwich to Grove Park#capitalring#walking

Kathryn takes the kids for a bit of a jaunt.  Why not join her?

Winters, CA

How well do you know Wellington, NZ?  Let Amanda show you some highlights :

Te Papa, Beach and Wind Walk

Drake knows Alsace pretty well.  Such atmosphere in these wonderful ruins!

Left the door open

Adding a little drama and adventure to the walks, don’t miss Jill’s latest episode :

Night time jungle walk, Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve

And there’s always space here for Becky.  This is a less well known bit of Lisbon :

Take a walk in the park

Still following Susan’s wanderings, but I’m a little behind :

Walking Helsinki, Finland 

That’s it for now.  Happy Halloween to you!  Hoping you have a great week.

 

112 comments

  1. Pingback: My weekly ramble |
  2. We discovered that region about a year ago, and just loved it. It really is gorgeous there. Beautiful photos and scenery. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. The flamingoes remind me of a huge flock I was lucky enough to witness once, in South West Africa.
    Peta
    Peta

    1. Do you know, I seldom think of ‘pinching’ one from the wayside. I’m usually too busy trying to get the background right for my shot. Isn’t that dedication, Ann? Next time! 🙂 🙂 Are things ok with you?

  3. That is an enjoyable walk under the beautiful blue sky. Some remarkable photos here.
    Thank you, Jo for making such a beautiful post for us to enjoy during the difficult time.
    Take care.

  4. It’s so tranquil Jo, and so much to see. I always envy Becky’s flamingo sightings, I’d love to see them in the wild. There’s no risk from the tides for the shell seekers there then? I used to love picking cockles at the estuary when I was a little girl, and we even went when mine were little, could never eat thmn though! I had to check the amp and see this is way out west, quite a drive for you. Portugal is rather tempting for another trip, but maybe further north needs to be explored.

    1. The tide comes in pretty slowly, Gilly, so there’s plenty of warning. I’m not sure how high up the estuary it gets. It’s about an hour’s drive, which isn’t bad, is it? Getting to Sagres at the far end only takes about another 40 minutes, so the area isn’t huge. I love to go up the west coast if I can but that definitely needs more time. I can’t abide shellfish so it’s totally wasted on me but some of these poor souls just about live on them. So nice to have you around again, Gilly. Take good care of yourself. 🙂

  5. What a nice hike! I love when you can walk along the water. It should be interesting to collect shellfish on this places. I wonder what you can find! #WordlessWednesday

  6. This is such a gorgeous walk and all those birds as a bonus. Reviewing the memories of your father is so important- 15 years since my father passed and I’m still delighted that he sometimes visits in my dreams.

  7. Yes, I spotted your heron friend, but it helped that you pointed him out😀 What a stunning landscape, Jo. It’s very nice to see you walk again.

  8. Lovely to see all this wide open blue, Jo, though we’ve not been doing to badly for blue in Shropshire – until today that is which has been all Welsh mist. Take care, my dear.

  9. Jo I have been thinking of you and the loss of your Dad. So glad to hear that the special memories are bringing you comfort. I very much enjoyed this walk and didn’t huff or puff once. Perhaps I shall join you and we can take a try with the parachutes?

  10. It looks such a beautiful area Jo – so peaceful🙂 Obviously a birds’ paradise too – you did well to capture as many photos as you did! The weather looks stunning too considering it was autumn! Sending thoughts your way this week xx

      1. I don’t think you should, they are perfect – I always wait until I have the time to walk the (right) line with you – and don’t look it the ‘buzy way’…😀

  11. Yes, the parasol over the dog would have appealed to my sense of humour too. But what a lovely place to walk, the views across the lagoon are just fabulous. Flamingos the icing on the cake!

    1. Funnily enough I hadn’t planned a trip to Poland next year, Jesh. Dad said that his visit in May this year would probably be his last as he wasn’t so mobile and hated to be a nuisance. His death was very sudden and shocking to me (I was in the Algarve at the time). I do still have many Polish family members both in the UK and in Poland so we’ll have to see. I’m awaiting the birth of another little one any day now. 🙂

  12. Love this wildlife walk! Especially the views where you see the heron! Do i still link up with a dirEct link? It has been so long ago that I forgot! Let me know please, if I need to link up a different way.
    By the way, hope you are doing well? Do You know I have a challenge called ALL SEASONS? You’re very welcome to link up with a photo (link list is open Sunday – Wednesday evening). Have a great week!

    1. You can link any way you want, Jesh. 🙂 I’ve been off the blog for a little while because my Dad died and I’m just starting to catch up. I’ll pop over and take a look. Thanks, hon.

  13. Your photos just get better and better Jo – that first one really drew me in and I wanted to walk along that salt-march with you in that sunshine. Can’t complain though because it has been lovely here today, not such a blue sky, but blue enough for the time of year. Just sad it disappears so early now😦 I must get down to our estuary and see what birds are there, no flamingos, but maybe some oyster catchers. I’m just waiting for this cold to disappear so I can brave the outdoors.

    1. Thank you kind lady. 🙂 It’s such an easy area to take lovely photos. We had a gloomy start here today but by the time we got to the clifftops it was sunny and warm. Incredible for the last day of October. Waiting for trick or treaters with my bag of sweets but I think they must all have gone to the local park where they’re having a bit of a do. 😦

      1. At least here we won’t be bothered by tricksters, unless the cows decide to come a visiting! I have never been a fan of this imported event.

      2. Nor me really. The lady in Tescos was all togged up with horns and stuff and highly recommended it 🙂 I would have liked to go to a Divali event though.

  14. It looks very peaceful in the marshes and I am mesmerized by the colors and light in which you took your photographs. The blue sky makes the yellow grasses look like gold. The row boats make the picture perfect. The flamingos are a pleasant surprise. Another wonderful walk, Jo and I’m glad it was flat!

    1. I’ve started to reclaim my life, Carole. It’s what Dad would have wanted, but it’s not easy. Being out and about helps, and I was out walking with Mick yesterday and again this morning with our walkers. Thanks, hon. 🙂

  15. Wonderful . . . we’ve not yet explored this area and I’ve pondering if we should. We will now🙂 Thank you for a lovely post and for all the links. Nipping off now to discuss Heritage Open days, but will be back to explore everyone else’s walks later. Hope all is well with you x

    1. You’ll enjoy it. Alvor itself is spoilt these days but the waterfront and boardwalk are lovely and this is definitely an area for you.
      Heritage Open days sounds interesting. Winchester is the place, of course. Are you involved? 🙂

      1. We have a plan for November then🙂
        and yes I am now involved! Have volunteered my services . . . so will be working on the website whilst in Portugal. Keep me out of mischief!

    1. I have heavy skies here in the north east today, Gerry, but we’re still going out with the walkers to a local beach. Precious few walks now till we disband over Christmas. Looking forward to a few deep breaths myself 🙂 🙂

      1. I don’t know if it is true, but there are rumours of two months of snow coming. I am smiling at the thought and if it does happen then I will believe in global warming. 😉 🙂 Walking in the snow? nice song…

    2. It turned out a beautiful day, Gerry, as it is again today. I don’t mind singing about it but I’m not so fond of the reality. I may have to flee to the Algarve again. 🙂

  16. I especially like the first picture and how you have captured that little bit of barbed wire!
    Glad to read that you are coming to terms with your great loss. My dad went 13 years ago but I think good things about him every day!

  17. What a stunning post, complete with salt marshes – and flamingos!!! I want to walk it now. You’ve excelled your excellent self. I love that first shot particularly, and then the first one in the shell collector series. Maybe I’ll go home with J – or visit Portugal. Give me all day and I could do 8 km. Hugs to you, special ones.

    1. Thanks, sweetheart 🙂 Is going home a serious option? Tomorrow! Yes- why not? Don’t go to Portugal till I can show it to you. Oh, that’s so selfish of me, Meg. It’s sunny- go now! I hope it all works out well for you both. Cherishing my special hugs.

      1. Of course it’s not a serious option. For one thing I’m too lousy to spend the money; for another my blog is called 12monthsinwarsaw; and for a third there are twins. It looks as if my son and granddaughter will both visit separately early next year.

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