Walking in Madeira: Path Collapse on PR1

madeira steps

steps 2Madeira’s top walk (thus ‘PR1’) is the traverse from Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo. There are two routes: the westerly trail, which passes through tunnels, and a more strenuous easterly path that climbs over the Torres peaks. The two routes join at a saddle and go on to Ruivo, the island’s highest summit.

Last year the path from the saddle fell away in storms; there has been quite a lot of correspondence about developments in Sunflower’s Walking in Madeira Update Service for Landscapes of Madeira. We learned that an alternative ‘detour’ route had opened in April but that it was being avoided by some local walking tour operators who felt that it had been built too hastily.

So we went to investigate for ourselves prior to publication of a new 12th edition of Landscapes of Madeira in 2015. We completed the traverse with no problems, but most of the people walking with us at the end of August turned back without tackling the ladders and steps involved in the new path. Here is a preview of what to expect! …What to expect, that is, if this ‘detour’ path survives the coming winter’s storms. In the meantime, it is likely that the original path will be reinstated, although there was no sign of any work on it in summer 2014.