Climbing Pico Ruivo

Madeira is a hiker’s dream.  The whole island is criss-crossed with trails up mountains and alongside Levadas (irrigation channels).  Sunny and I, we’re not hikers, but we like walking and exploring so we knew we wanted to do a couple of walks while we were in Madeira – especially seeing as we had the rental car as a lot of the trails are difficult to get to without one.  There’s a handy website that lists all the walks based on level of difficulty and distance and overall time, and based on that information we picked Pico Ruivo.  The highest peak in Madeira at 1861m, the website stated that the 5 kilometre walk up Pico Ruivo was an easy one over the ridge and would only take three hours to complete.  Brilliant, it was the one I was hoping to do and considering some of the walks apparently could take up to thirteen hours I thought we’d lucked out.

Holy whoa.  If that walk was easy, I don’t even want to know what a tough one looks like!  We drove up winding roads to the car park and then began the 5 kilometre walk along the ridge towards Pico Ruivo.  We climbed up and down steps and wobbled along an uneven, narrow stone path with a terrifying drop on one side and the wind battering us from the other.  There were hardcore hikers there with walking sticks, proper boots and all-weather anoraks and I was there hopping rocks in my converse and leather jacket.  It was a hell of a hike, but worth it.  The trail took us up into the clouds and the view from the top was incredible.  I’m telling you guys, Madeira is a total stunner. 🙂