Saturday, 15 October 2016

Levadas - Maderia

We're just back from our second visit to the Portugese island of Madeira - a steep sided (and hopefully) extinct volcano located about 300 miles from the Atlantic coast of Morocco. The island's agriculture is supported by the capture and distribution of rainwater by well over 1000 miles of levadas or rainwater channels. That's a lot of levadas given that the island is only about 300 square miles (800 square kilometres). They have been built over the last several hundred years and deliver water from around the island to where it's needed for agriculture. Many of the levadas have paths by their side so can be walked, and as they're almost on the level they are mostly very easy. Except that, because they run around the contours of the very steep volcano, in places they have precipitous drops - often without guard rails for protection. And here and there they flow through tunnels, some of which are easily long enough (many 100s of meters or more) to require a good torch. So, not for those a little unsteady on their feet or who don't have a good head for heights, or who would feel claustrophobic hiking through very dark restricted height tunnels.

This is a selection of images from this year's trip plus one from 3 years ago.

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