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 Walk Across Europe

2003-04-21 - Trip 1 - Leg 8

Portugal, Algarve West

Alcantarilha to Tunes

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13.9 km today. Mini came too.
110.9 km this trip.
110.9 km from start.
25 metres minimum height.
79 metres maximum height.
107 metres ascent.
81 metres descent.
 Track Log: Reconstruction.
 Travel: Train.

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Country lanes.

The walk from Alcantarilha to Tunes was pleasant. The morning went as planned with the map agreeing with real life. In the afternoon the ways did not match up with the map at all well. It turned out that we were nearer Tunes than we thought. Fortunately these agricultural lands are served by a maze of lanes and tracks and we found a route.

Tunes is a railway junction town and the main line from Lisboa to Faro joins the coastal line. The main line is being electrified and the diesel locomotives will go the same way as the steam engines.

Leaving the station walking in the direction of the train, we took the first left over the line and then headed uphill on the main right fork (The main left fork was the one we should have come on yesterday (5 minutes). At a crossroads, we turned right towards ETA Alcantarilha (water treatment works) (30 minutes). Beyond the works, the asphalt comes to an end (45 minutes). We ignored the right turn at the lowest point (55 minutes) and stayed on our track until we got to a T junction where we turned left (1 hour 10 minutes). We saw grapes beginning to form on the vines and were sorry to see that the soft edges of the road had been repaired with EU funding - good for cars but less pleasant walking.

At the next T junction, we turned right and then left and had elevenses (2 hours 10 minutes). Neil is delighted because he thinks he has discovered a second Easter egg. 'Oh look there's anther egg - oh no it's my egg - it's the same one.' Hope springs eternal. No one minds you stopping off on their land for a snack or even a siesta - unlike a miserable old cow who lives beyond the chain across the river near us at home (England). I had sailed under there one day and we were having a picnic on the bank when she stormed up and shouted at us to get off her land as she was trying to sell it and it didn't look good having people all over it. Our dog taking exception to her started growling whereupon we were asked to control our dorg. We got in the boat and had our picnic there instead. She asked how we would feel if she picnicked in our garden. I said she was welcome at any time. Of course a river bank miles from the house is quite different from a garden any way.

Here we discovered that the road through Ribeira Alta was called Barranco Longo which it certainly was as it took us a full hour to do it. Soon we cross the Riba de Alcantarilha confirming where we are (2 hours 25 minutes). Next we pass a permanent fairground which seems out of place here but is probably near a main road as it is full of people (2 hours 35 minutes). There is even a Ferris wheel. Mini wouldn't let me on one. They're lucky they're just coming. The next stretch is full of very large puddles. It must have rained here when we felt a few spots yesterday. Luckily Rohan trousers seem to be self cleaning.

We got a T junction and turned left. Here there were peas growing in the banks at the side of the road and we had some (2 hours 55 minutes). At the next T junction, we turned right and were joined by two nice doggies who stayed with us until the road became a track again when they returned home which was a relief as we were not coming back this way (cf Chuva, Lama, Vent, Plunge and Pale Spanner Bumper and Pinky (3 hours 15 minutes). We took the next left onto a surfaced road (maybe we should have gone right!) (3 hours 25 minutes). We can see a major road skirting a mountain ahead of us and know our objective is before then. The railway line is on our right too just where we want it. We have tea before we get to Tunes and then go past some large oil tanks (3 hours 55 minutes). When we get to hairpin bend we turn right onto a narrow track, cross the line and turn left . The track widens and we walk through the town to Tunes station (4 hours 10 minutes).