Gola de Su Gorropu, a very deep gorge

With rain forecast for the afternoon, I decided on a shorter route with hopefully no scrambling which could be tricky on wet limestone. The walk I chose was to the top end of the Gola de Su Gorropu, apparently one of deepest gorges in Europe. It started off through pretty woodland with wild peonies and other flowers,  before heading over steep limestone, past the picturesque local shepherd’s huts and using some of their unlikely pathways built of juniper logs supporting stones. Eventually (after I’d spent quite a while traversing the valley side having lost the path) I headed down towards the dry riverbed in the bottom of the valley, led by a prominent hut on the other side, and managed to locate the route down and up the steep sided canyon.

The shepherd’s path, supported across the steep rock by juniper branches.

From there I carried on on a much clearer track, past a massive old Yew tree and a bronze age passage grave, or Giant’s Tomb as they call them here, before starting to descend into the Gorropu gorge itself. Just before the steep part of the descent a side trail led to Sa Pischina, a pool of water with massive overhangs on two sides and a spout for a waterfall to plunge into it when the river is flowing.

Sa Pischina from under the biggest overhang. Too bad the waterfall wasn’t running!

The descent into the gorge was fantastic, with another pool below and the deepest part of the canyon in the distance, all picked out in horizontal layers of limestone. Remarkably, for such a spectacular walk, at this point I met the only other hiker I would see all day, a German woman who was returning from the canyon floor as I was descending.

Gorropu gorge on the descent.

The track reached the riverbed at the pool, and I stopped for lunch before exploring the canyon. Downstream I got to a vertical drop into a deep pool, with a cable leading around the side. Unfortunately I hadn’t brought a climbing harness so I left that for another day. I then headed up the side canyon that was the end of the valley I’d been walking down earlier. I was hoping to reach a waterfall issuing from a cave entrance high above, but as I was scrambling up to the foot of it, the rain started and I decided the rocks was much to slippery to remain there once it got wet, so beat a hasty retreat.

The pretty pool where the path, and the valley I’d been following, meets the main Gorropu canyon.

The route back was supposed to be the reverse of the way there, but when I got to the point where I needed to cross the valley it was raining pretty hard and, concerned by the possibility of traversing long distances on wet rock I instead opted for a long, boring, and featureless slog along a dirt road back to my car. The only interest on the return was when the now quite heavy rain turned to snow for a while. I arrived back at the car just before the German woman, who told me the other trail had been fine in the rain, so all that boring running on the road was for nothing.

Looking down the side canyon. It’s amazing where the juniper trees manage to grow.

This evening I’ve been invited by the B&B host to a typical Sardinian meal, at which, so he says, there will be enormous amounts of food, so it’s good that I’m currently starving, having been trying to resist the urge to eat since the end of the hike.

My first train adventure

Today I had an adventure of a different kind…

My Tisha Person (who I love very much) took me out on a walk. I was very excited, as usual, but we were not going in the normal direction.

We went up some stairs and I found myself on a raised bit, looking down on some metal bars.

Zac on the platform at Staveley Station.

We waited around for what seemed like ages and ages (10 minutes) and more people arrived which got me very excited because I wanted to say hello to everyone.

Eventually there was a noise getting louder and a thing arrived. Apparently it’s called a train.

My Tisha person picked me up and we got on it!!

OMG!!! It started moving, but I was ok because I was on my Tisha person’s lap (I do love her a lot).

Zac on Tisha’s lap.

I looked out of the window, then decided to sniff around the floor for a bit, but I decided the view out of the window was better.

Zac looking out of the window as we approach Kendal.

All too quickly the adventure was over… but that led to another adventure. A much longer walk.

The Wild Blue of Sardinia

I’m in Sardinia for a few days holiday, staying at the wonderful Lemon House in Lotzerai and spending my days trail running, hiking and whatever comes along. Lotzerai is at the south of the Supramonte, home of the Selvagio Blu trail, and while I decided not to do all of that, I’m doing some of the bits that don’t involve abseils or climbing where I’d really need to have a partner. For my first full day I decided on a nice looking loop in the Supramonte from the Golgo plateau down to the famous beach of Cala Goloritze and its rock pinnacle.

The start (after paying €6 entry) was on a rocky path that climbed over a low col with the first glimpse of the sea then steeply descending under oak trees into a canyon that led down to the beach. The sides were spectacular vertical limestone cliffs, and it was a glorious run, dropping 600m or so to the end, where a staircase had been built to give access to the beach.

Heading down the canyon to the beach at Cala Goloritze.

There was a pretty big swell, with waves crashing on the rocks and very little beach to be seen – definitely not swimming conditions – but the view was fantastic and it was a lovely spot to sit, watch the waves and have lunch.

The beach at Cala Goloritze and the famous pinnacle.

Afterwards I headed back up the canyon and then up a side canyon to eventually climb steeply up to a magnificent viewpoint at Punta Salinas that looked out over the pinnacle, the beach and the Gulf of Orosei. As with most of the smaller trails around here, route finding was pretty challenging, so a certain amount of scrambling and pushing through the vegetation was needed to get there from the main path, and yet I followed a perfectly obvious path back.

Looking down to Cala Goloritze from Punta Salinas.

From Punta Salinas I headed inland, past a traditional shepherd’s hut, over a saddle, and then down a very steep and rocky descent to some interesting Bronze Age ruins and back to my car. This really was a great walk – it felt like there was something to see around every corner.

A traditional shepherd’s hut.

Prague

Laetitia is working in Prague this week, another tour as a tutor on the Lead with Impact course. And so another great opportunity for me to take advantage and get to see parts of Europe I really don’t think I’d visit in normal circumstances… More “Prague”

Berlin

One of my extra curricular activities at work is to be a tutor on the Lead with Impact course across Europe. A great advantage of this is that I can get to see parts of Europe that I have never been to before.

This time it was Berlin. More “Berlin”