After the failure on day one of reaching the Roque Nublo* (meaning cloud rock), the next day saw an early start and a more direct route to the ‘rock’. This more traditional journey, on a Sunday, was to the nearby roadside stop at La Goleta. From here it is a 1km hike to the rock and there is a roadside cabin that sells snacks and drinks. The car park gets very busy and I was glad we set off early and got there about 10.30am. Being a Sunday it was very busy an hour or so later. The track is very well signposted, at the beginning at least, and there are other trails you can follow that are more strenuous.
As soon as you start the trail, which is reassuringly well paved, there are wonderful views to the south. Among the many fascinating plants are the giant sonchus, basically ‘tree dandelions’, that were just starting to bloom.
You can actually get a glimpse of the Roque Nublo from the car park but you can also see the smaller pinnacles of El Fraile – seen here poking up at the left.
And as you get closer, and the path starts to get steep and more challenging, and confusing, the Roque Nublo starts to loom large.
As you climb and get above the tree line the Roque Nublo appears and then disappears from view.
But eventually you reach what is almost a plateau and the Roque Nublo stands high above the surrounding landscape.
It is high here, at 1813m (well high for someone who lives in the UK at sea level) and it can be cold so a jacket is useful.
This part of the volcanic island is 4.5 million years old and it is thought that the Roque Nublo is a pipe of lava that was more resistant to erosion than the surrounding rock. It is certainly distinctive as it perches precariously 80m high above the surrounding peak. You can get really close to it and you can scramble over rocks to get to the base of it (to the right on the above photo) but you do need a head for heights!
On this ledge you feel almost like a bird as the rock falls away below you and you get an amazing view of the landscape below, looking just like a model landscape.
I was lucky that the air was clear and there were no clouds so, to the west, there was a clear view of Tenerife and in the photo above you can just make out the island with the peak of Teide showing. It was with a real sense of achievement that the peak was reached but as the morning progressed and more and more people made the trek, my sense of pride was a little jaded as families with picnics arrived!
The walk is supposed to take about 15 minutes but that would be pushing it a bit and you would miss all the spectacular views so I think you need to allow a good half hour to get to the top.
Of course there are lots of wonderful plants to see and two of the most beautiful were this lotus species (above) and the shrubby daisy (below). I am not sure of the lotus species or the daisy genus even – I need more time to research that.
I was just pleased to have made it to one of the most iconic sights on the Island and in such good weather.
- see yesterday’s post for details of that