Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Wednesday 29 April 2015

Madeira: Levadas and cascades

Levadas are the irrigation channels built to take mountain springs and streams down into the supply system for Madeira's farms and people.

They provide a network of routes in and around the moutain slopes to various scenic viewpoints, so walking along them is a popular attraction for visitors.

Not all of them have a handy beaten path running alongside, like this one, so group walks with a guide are a useful way for the visitor to find their way safely.

To get to and from the roads, there may be steps up and own, of varying heights and surfaces (sometimes sharp-edged cobbles, sometimes flat stone that gets slippy in the mists).

The path may be wide and well-gravelled,  or require you to inch your way along the narrow stone sill beside the channel, with nothing but a wire fence to protect you from the drop, or to hop or clamber over curiously shaped roots across the path.

In a dripping mist, the atmosphere can be almost other-worldly, which is only increased when you're told those arching branches and huge roots are actually a variety of heather.

Everywhere lichens coat the trees and bushes, and occasionally a view of distant ravines and mountains will open out. But it's wiser to keep a close eye on the next piece of tricky ground to cover, until at last you reach the destination, in this case a particular set of cascades.

And if looking at falling water begins to pall, the local population has learnt this is a good place to come and pose for photographs, in the hope of some treats:

No comments:

Post a Comment