Up on the roof – Alto de Garajonay

Hill walkers are generally drawn to the highest point, and although not a salivating summit bagger, I am similarly afflicted.

While on La Gomera, I simply had to visit its highest inches (1,487 metres to be precise) for the view and to gain some context not only on the island itself, but its location relative to neighbouring islands.

Canyons and ridges radiate from Alto de Garajonay on all points of the compass. Consequently, many walking trails heading inland will ultimately carry you to the top, as does a road… well, a paved mountain road not dissimilar to the yellow-brick highway of Oz.

I followed a nice circular route from Laguna Grande, an ephemeral lake high in the mountains which, although dry most of the time, provides a focal point for picnicking locals and tour parties.

Leaving the hire car, I found the trail and headed through lush forest. The day was clear and blisteringly hot, and the trees provided welcome shade.

Despite the proximity of the mountain road, the walking trails through the forest felt deliciously removed. A multitude of bird species provided a restful soundtrack while butterflies and moths engaged in an excitable dogfight as they fought to keep my pace and dance around my legs and arms.

This is a short circuit (‘2 hours 50 mins’ according to Rother) and I was soon pacing to the summit. A well-constructed viewing platform sits at the top, along with multi-lingual interpretation boards.

I’d picked the day well for change. Tenerife was clear to see, but so to La Palma, El Hierro and, just, Gran Canaria.

All around, ridges and summits were a tempting prospect, sometimes far below me. I picked out the Fortaleza, a distinctive tablet-top summit worthy of inspection in the future.

The potential of La Gomera as a walking destination was clear to see.


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