When we decided to walk the ‘Boa Vista Trail’ I presumed it was so called because of the views, well that probably is the case as there are plenty of views on this walk and even the informational board at the start translates it as the ‘beautiful landscape trail’. However after looking at a more detailed map of the area we realised that the trail skirts the ‘BoaVista’ vértices geo désicos (a trig point) and I suspect that was the original reason for its name!
Both the Walking Trails guide and the map on the board at the start of walk recommend you follow the trail in a clockwise direction. Having followed their advice we wished we had been rebels and gone anticlockwise as not only would it have been a more interesting approach in our view, there is a cafe not long after the Corte António Martins Sports Centre. We thought this a perfect stop towards the end of the walk, you know when you are thinking about a glass of something cold and wanting to rest weary legs. I wonder what Restless Jo will say though as she walked Boa Vista just a day or so before us, and I can’t recall which way round she said she went.
It is a relatively easy walk of 6miles mostly on rural roads, what we would call dirt tracks in England, but there are also long sections on asphalt. There are quite a few ups and downs, and after heavy rain the two crossings of the Ribeira do Rio Seco might be an interesting challenge as you will need to use the stepping stones.
We didn’t see any rabbits or hares, but there were plenty of goats and the local residents were very friendly. We were exchanging ‘Bom Dia’ with everyone we passed, and one local even stopped to chat to us. We think he was talking about the weather, as it had improved dramatically on the previous day. However our Portuguese is so poor we weren’t 100% sure, and could only nod and agree in response. It was though all smiles as we said our farewells and continued our ascent up one of the hills towards another viewpoint. As well as the panoramic views we were surrounded on this walk by traditional rural life from hunting terraces to wells to scrub management. Whilst most of what we passed was in current use there were also signs of abandonment. Rural life is disappearing in the Algarve, which is not surprising given that an easier and more affluent life can be had from tourism.
Although this walk is at a similar height to the orchid walk the landscape is quite different. The vegetation much ‘scrubbier’ and drier, and consequently the flora whilst pretty in parts was not particularly memorable. However a few things did catch my eye, of which one – the last in gallery – I have yet to identify. Can you help?!
The birdlife however was much more interesting, and really made this walk for us. There were the usual Algarvian regulars – Woodchat Shrike, Larks, Corn Buntings and Sparrows. Then there were the Red Rumped Swallows. Another regular in the summer months, and we have seen them before. This though was the first occasion this year we had been able to positively identify them in situ. Usually we have to wait until I can zoom in on the photographs on the computer. There was no mistaking them this time though, and I was delighted to have succeeded in taking this photograph of them. A new bird for us was spotted in the hamlet of Pomar – a Black Eared Wheatear. He made me think of a university academic, as from behind it looked as though he had a black gown on with an orange hood.
The highlight was the Short-Toed Eagle. We first spotted this juvenile on the outskirts of Corte António Martins, but quickly lost sight as he followed the thermals south. I got a few photographs of him in the distance, good enough for identification purposes but not amazing shots. Then when we stopped for our picnic near the ‘BoaVista’ trip point he joined us again, and fortunately I had a camera in my hand rather than a sandwich!
As you have probably gathered I haven’t shared anything in the order we walked, but have instead hopped about as I remembered different things. Hopefully one day the lovely Jo will share her version of the walk and if she does you’ll get a proper sense of what it is like to walk! In the meanwhile here are some other Monday walks and also all my Algarvian ones to date. Hope you had a lovely weekend and enjoy your Monday.