The way of the Cabra Algarvia

Two weeks when we enjoyed a repeat run of the glorious Almond Walk (PR8) I spotted that PR7 had fresh signs, and so suggested to MrB we tried it last week. It isn’t much longer than the almond trail, and it looked rather interesting when we checked it out on our maps. However I should have taken more notice of the trail name – Caminhos da Cabra Algarvia – as not only were the paths extremely narrow at time, the gradients were very steep and there were lots of them! So be warned you might find this a strenuous hike, but we think you will like it.

Cloudy at the start
Cloudy Start in Arraia

Officially the walk commences in Cruz de Alta Mora before making its way across the Beliche and onto Cortelha. From Cortelha you then return to Cruz de Alta Mora via Marroquil, Amendoeira and Magoito. You might though prefer to start in Cortelha where there are two cafes, or do what we did and start in Arraia which is slightly closer to the IC27.

It wasn’t long out of Araia that we experienced our first ‘which way’ moment. The trail markers were clear but the path was so overgrown we were hesitant. We found however our inner goats and persevered.

And phew we had gone the right way! It was very cloudy at the start but we didn’t mind as the birdlife between Arraia and Cruz de Alta Mora was wonderful.

Cloudy but beautiful

Not that I was able to photograph much of it as they were either flitting about too quickly amongst the olive trees or performing incredible aerial displays. However I did manage the odd bird shot, and I also spotted some goats.

It didn’t take us long to walk through Cruz de Alta Mora, it is a tiny village so if we had followed the goats we would have passed through even more quickly. However I rather liked taking the longer way round as the views are fabulous.

It was a steady climb down to the Beliche, so thank goodness we had not attempted this last year as I think we might have struggled at the ford crossing. I really wouldn’t want to attempt this walk after heavy rains or even during a winter with average precipitation as the ford crossings on the Beliche are very wide and there are no stepping stones. There are also two streams to cross and since they have water even in a dry winter they must also be a challenge after rain.

Leaving the streams and river behind we started to climb again. It wasn’t long before we found ourselves under blue skies and back on the road that the goats had used. We were now heading into Cortelha. We only saw one vehicle on the road, and I can easily imagine walking this without seeing any. You do not stay on the road for long as the trail soon takes you off onto another goat path. If it hadn’t been for the trail markers though we wouldn’t have known which way to go.

Apparently there are two cafes in Cortelha, not that we spotted them. However I must admit we weren’t really looking for them as we had a big picnic in the rucksacks. Food though was dominating our thoughts, I think it might have been all the wonderful vegetables that had reminded us of our lunch!

We began looking for a place to stop, however the only picnic spot we found was right at the bottom of the next valley and the climb out looked enormous! So we decided it would be more sensible to stop at the top of a hill than at the bottom, which meant we found ourselves having lunch just outside Marroquil and Amendoeira. Lovely spot despite the skies turning grey again.

We didn’t stop for long as it was feeling chilly under the grey skies and we knew there were some steep gradients to come. As we began to climb the sun returned, and we were rewarded within more glorious views.

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But what goes up must come down! Can you see the dry river bed in the picture below? That’s where we are heading for!

On our way to the river below

And then once we have crossed the river it is time to climb up again. We looked back after we were close to the summit of the next hill and our earlier descent to the river was rather noticeable!

Hill views

By now we were on the outskirts of Magoito and less than 2km from our car in Arraia. As this was the first time we had attempted the walk we duly followed the trail markers through Magoito. This hamlet is dominated by hunting dogs and gaming, and what isn’t under the control of the game farm looks rundown. We’ve since discovered that if you take the path to the left shortly before the huge kennels you can bypass Magoito and head straight for Arraia. Next time we will definitely take advantage of this.

Next time we will take the path to the left

I do hope you have enjoyed this hike as much as did. The legs may have noticed the hills but the views and the smell of the almond blossom was wonderful. It will look even more beautiful in a few weeks when the cistus is in flower, but I cannot stress enough that it might be difficult after heavy rains. We’d also recommend not attempting it on a hot day.

Can you smell the Almond Blossom?

PS I am sure Jo has hiked this 14km trail as I recall her mentioning dogs in a kennel and lots of hills, but I can’t find her post! Jo if you are reading this do send me the link and I will add it here.

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When in Portugal you will find me walking, cooking, photographing, reading and of course blogging. In England it is pretty much the same but with the addition of gardening and lots of volunteering!

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