Paddy is exploring the Azores: a walkers' paradise
Paddy Dillon is exploring the Azores which, it turns out, are a walkers' paradise. Paddy has even managed to find enough wifi to send this blog post in!
Paddy Dillon arrives in the Azores on a private jet with a police escort...Just because the Azores are in the mid-Atlantic shouldn't suggest that they're difficult to reach, or outrageously expensive. I discovered a piece of legislation that basically obliges Azores Airlines to get you from the Portuguese mainland to even the smallest islands for around £30, even if that means taking two or three flights to get there, and it includes an ample baggage allowance. I was rather more surprised to find myself the only person on the flight between the tiny islands of Corvo and Flores, apart from the airport policeman. I've been telling people I arrived on my private plane, with a police escort!
"The 1957-8 volcanic landscape at Capelinhos on the island of Faial"
"A weeping wall of waterfalls at Poço da Ribeira do Ferreiro on the island of Flores"
It's 5 minutes walk from the airport to the trail
"Lagoa Complido fills an old crater high on the island of Flores"Faial is another small island with grand 'GR' designs. On Faial, they decided that coast to coast was the way to go, or 'Costa a Costa', as they say locally. Two days would do it, but that would be the wrong approach. The start at Capelinhos takes in a barren volcanic landscape that didn't exist until an eruption in 1957-8. I couldn't help thinking the landscape was only as old as I am! You could spend a day just at that end of the island, without even beginning to climb through lush Azorean forest to the might central Caldeira whose rim boasts Munro-sized peaks.
"High in the clouds on the island of Faial. Let's hope that's a mapboard!"There are nine islands in the Azores archipelago, so I have my work, and walks, cut out for me. Portugal's highest mountain is out there in the middle of the Atlantic - the mighty Pico at 2350m (7710ft).
"The Caldeirão and its lakes high on the island of Corvo"
I also made a dash to climb Pico, on the island of Pico. It's Portugal's highest mountain, even though it's nowhere near Portugal. Yes... that's snow on it.
Snow on Portugal's highest mountain
Paddy Dillon is a prolific walker and guidebook writer with over 90 guidebooks to his name, and contributions to 40 other titles. He has written for several outdoor magazines and other publications, and has appeared on radio and TV. Paddy is an indefatigable long-distance walker who has walked all of Britain’s National Trails and several European trails. He has also walked in Nepal, Tibet, Korea and the Rocky Mountains of Canada and the US. Paddy is a member of the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild and President of the Backpackers Club.