Recently, Andy and I contributed text and images for an article about the Canary Islands. The images the magazine initially chose showed only the arid, volcanic side to islands even though I’d provided a mix of scenery, designed to show how green some parts were. Unfortunately, this portrayal of the Canaries as being arid rocks isn’t uncommon, and yet the reality couldn’t be more different, as illustrated by one of my favourite views in the archipelago, this vista from above Tejeda on Gran Canaria.
I must admit to being selfish when it comes to spots where there are outstanding views. I especially like those which require some effort to get to, where there are no nearby lay-bys or car parks where coaches can disgorge hundreds of people who reap the same rewards for the paltry investment of a handful of steps. It’s important that there are accessible viewpoints where the beauty of nature can be shared by everyone, but I also want places which remain unspoilt, where to enjoy them involves an immersion in and an appreciation of the surrounding countryside. This spot between Cruz de Tejeda and the cave village of Artenara is one such place.
Whenever we’ve walked the route, we started at Cruz de Tejeda, meaning there’s a meaty ascent before we reach the ridge which traverses Gran Canaria’s mountainous central region. It’s a world of pine and almond trees, of ancient caves with fertility symbols painted on their rough walls, and of epic views of the island’s interior canyons, valleys, and peaks, including the iconic Roque Nublo on the other side of the great valley.
Whilst crowds gather at the base of that sacred rock, those who walk this cumbre get to enjoy Gran Canaria’s remarkable panoramas all to themselves.