From Tenerife Las Vegas To Pine Forest Peaks

Accessing the heights of nature and history, the small settlement of Las Vegas is not the only famous name associated with the higher end of Granadilla. Looking down from the compact church, Ermita de Nuestra Senora de La Esperanza (our lady of hope) the south east coast stretched from El Medano along to the wind turbines of Arico. Looking upwards, a cathedral of pine forest rose towards the Guajara mountain, second only to the peak of Mount Teide in height. I fel honoured to be walking in the foot steps of Scotlands astronomer royal, Charles Piazzi Smyth who popped over in 1856.

The rising and intersecting pathways were steep but well maintained and sign posted, allowing for several different routes to take. The area has always boasted a bounty of food and natural industry, figs, almonds, and the cereal gofio were a mainstay of local life and their legacy could be seen in the stone kilns and a large water mill, preserved but now replaced by the march of time. Las Vegas means “the meadows” and the green lower slopes provide the inspiration for that.

It´s an area of contrasts with dense forest areas rubbibg noses with dried streams and shadey gathering spots, ideal for a water and sarnie break. There are steeply rising tracks that skirt the tree line, and dipping paths that offer a front row seat to the magnificent views down to the coast. On this very hot day there were only a few other walkers and a sense of that pioneer spirit when emerging into clearings that offer glimpses of the rural history.

With plenty of shade and drink rests, it turned into a near six hour walk before arriving back at the church and small car park in Las Vegas. Testing on the feet but rewarding on the senses, the walk offered plenty of contrasts of terrain but paid out a real jackpot in terms of sights and sounds.