Three of us headed off from Vila do Bispo, a climbed out of the town and then a stretch alongside the road, accompanied by some turkeys and windswept trees, before turning off on sandy tracks towards the coast.
Patches of eucalyptus sheltered us from the strong wind now and again as we crossed wild and high shrubland on wide gravel tracks with the sea on one side and thickly vegetated hills and valleys on the other.
The plant life was again varied and beautiful, sometimes growing in a pure gravel bed.
We reached the sea cliffs and climbed down into a glorious remote valley with a spectacular beach. Steeply down and steeply up again. Hard going but awe inspiring scenery all around.
Then after a stretch along the cliff top it was another climb down to sea level to Praia da Murracao where we had a rest and admired the rock formations and I had a cooling dip in a pool sheltered by rocks from the crashing waves.
What goes down must go up again so another brutal climb up away from the beach was followed too soon with another descent to yet another huge expanse of sand, Praia do Amado, where we met our other two friends and we all carried on to the stages end at Carrapateira and our hostel, glad to arrive after 15.5km.
A great spot, a well designed modern hostel and a friendly and delicious restaurant next door made for a good night before we headed of again at the leisurely hour of 9.30 with only about 10 km to do that day. An easy day we thought, having broken the 20 km stage to Arrifana in half. It was uphill all the way mind you but 150 m over that distance should be easy peasy. But very soon after starting we were slogging along tracks of deep soft sand, always a energy sapping surface.
Across the Sahara like dunes to the hard wet sand of the beach at Praia da Bordeira where a class of surf schoolers were trying their luck in the mushy waves.
At the end of the beach the climbing began, first up to the cliff top and then turning away from the sea on a succession of soft soft sandy tracks up and up to a trig point at 158 m. The treasure trove of plant life in my eyes , the heady scent in my nose and Eddie Kendricks ” Keep on Trucking” in my ears kept me going along with my desire to get the top.
The narrow soft track became a wide hard one and with the climbing done and some resting in the shade of eucalyptus coppice before too long we were walking through fields of grain and enjoying our just rewards in more lovely designer accommodation at Barranco da Fonte.
Another fine day on the Fisherman’s over.