How to trash a pair of trail shoes in three hours

Looking from the Cengia down towards Pedra Longa.

Half way up the East coast of Sardinia is Pedra Longa, a spectacular rock pinnacle at the edge of the sea, with a road that descends in a series of hairpins to finish at the foot of the rock. Pedra Longa is the start of the Selvagio Blu, a 4-6 day trek along the coast that features indistinct trails, scrambles and fairly easy rock climbs, abseils, beaches, cliffs, and lots and lots of very sharp limestone underfoot. I’d already done a bit of the Selvagio Blu on the trip to Cala Goloritze, but I’d decided not to attempt the whole thing on this trip in part because I didn’t fancy the technical bits on my own. However, since there isn’t any technical stuff on the first couple of days I thought I’d find out what it was like.

Looking back at Pedra Longa and Punta Argennas shortly after setting off.

And it turns out, the first half of the first day was fine, with a nice scenic route along the coast, followed by a spectacular climb up the “cengia”, a kind of ramp tht runs diagonally up the cliffs of Punta Giradili to a farm at the top. From there I headed out to the viewpoint on top of Punta Giradili, which was over sharp limestone, but had lots of cairns and paint spots to mark the way.

The view from the summit of Punta Giradili.

After that I thought I’d continue on the Selvagio Blu route and see how far I got, in part hoping to catch up with a pair of Germans who were staying at the Lemon House and had left the day before and planned to camp the first night at the top of the ramp. However, the limestone got steadily sharper, the paint spots less frequent, and pretty soon I was just pushing between prickly bushes on knife edge limestone, and on the rare occasion I saw a paint spot or cairn I usually couldn’t see the next one. A couple of hours of this stuff took all the tread off the front of my trail shoes, which had been new for this trip!

Eventually I reached an old shepherd’s hut (which appeared to have gone) which had a track to it that led to a dirt road. At that point I abandoned the Selvaggio Blu, headed up the nearest hill for a view up the coast, and then took the track, then the road back to the farm and returned down the cengia and, with a short stop at the beach, headed back to Pedra Longa for a well earned beer in the bar with a Swiss couple I met on the way.

The summit of Su Runcu Sa Coggina, my eventual turning around point.

The next day I did the bit of mountains and coast south of Pedra Longa. Starting from Santa Maria Navarrese I climbed up into the mountains between there and Pedra Longa and up Monte Oro, the highest peak in that area. The view from the top was lovely, so I sat and had an early lunch before descending to and along the road down to Pedra Longa.

The view from my hotel. The following day I was that kayaker!
Looking towards Lotzerai from the summit of Monte Oro.

I spent some time watching climbers on a particularly attractive route, then explored the Cava Litografica, a quarry for limestone so fine grained it was used for lithography (and also for London paving stones, apparently) before heading to Pedra Longa and back to my beach from the day before for a swim. A rather short swim, as it turned out, because the water was very cold.

My swimming beach. Not much sand, but lovely clear water.

From there I returned to Santa Maria Navarrese along the coastal track, with lovely views back to Pedra Longa behind me. Back at my hotel I had a snorkel off the rocks, but by then the sea had got a bit rough and the sun was behind the hills, so I didn’t stay long.

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