Monday, November 16, 2009

Fat Man Goes Walkabout

Well here I am in sunny Madeira, or rather in a wet and windy Funchal.

having left the UK just as a rather nasty low pressure system brought in the real Autumn with rain and howling winds, I felt rather smug when I arrived in a sunny and warm Madeira.

The smug feeling did´nt last that long though when I discovered that I had left all my short-sleeved shirts at home and that- apart from the shirt I was wearing, everything else was aimed at high level walking in cool conditions - this should have been OK since it was the reason for my being here in the first place.

The purchase of a couple of shirts has moved up the priority scale though, after a guided walk I went on started out badly and got worse.

I´d signed up for the trip back in the UK, it promised the lakes of Madeira - somewhere near to Rabçal on the Paul da serra, the western plateau which gathers all Madeira´s waters and channels them into the numerous ponds, falls and rivulets before being diverted into the Levada system.

On the morning of the walk it was´nt promising, clouds covered the tops and since the wind was in the west it was likely there would be rain at some point. By the time we reached Urze - the meeting point for the walk - the rain had reached biblical proportions, more Capel Curig on a bad day than a semi tropical island. We as a group decided that it was´nt a good idea and that a lower level walk would be more suitable, so we headed down slope a few miles to the Levada do Norte for a pleasant if misty and somewhat windy walk of around 10k. All went well, until the last 15 minutes or so when the rain that had been lashing down at Urze decided that it might as well give us a seeing to as well and within minutes we were soaked through. Even my super-duper new Marmot raintop gave up the ghost, although it might have been the fact I was pretty warm anyway.

By the time we reached the bus I was wet through, everything was sodden, and now not only am I short of shirts - but I was short of trousers, pants, socks - you name it, it´s drying on the balcony.

The forecast is for more rain, with some bright spells. Oh well it´s just like home but at least it´s warm.