Thursday, 30 May 2013

West end boys

Serra da Sintra
The end of Europe
As a hill-bagger who is always on the look-out for the extremities of  altitude it was a matter of no-choice and compulsion to visit an extremity of longitude. The Cabo da Roca is the most westerly point in mainland Europe. Even if it had been an oil terminal I would have felt compelled to go. As it turned out it was more pleasant than that.
We headed out of Lisbon to the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Serra de Sintra. At the east end is the highest point of the serra, Cruz Alta (530m) in the grounds of the Palacia da Pena. I toyed with the idea of bagging it - however, the tourists crowds were so dense and the parking so difficult I did not bother. Instead we drove to the other end of the Serra and ascended the pointed top of Peninha (499m) with a chapel built on to the top of the rock. From there were extensive views of the Atlantic and back along the serra. And there were only a handful of other tourists.

That's Cabo da Roca in the background - me at Peninha
Patrick at Peninha
At the Cabo da Roca there were rather more tourists, but it was not heaving with them. There was a heavy invasion of ice-plant - Carprobrotus edulis. After inspecting the plaque on the obelisk N38.78045 W9.49894 it was obvious that there was a little further west to go. I stood on the cliffs as near to the edge as possible at N38.78045 W9.49907 - however, there did not seem to be a way of getting down to the narrow shore below.
Cabo da Roca lighthouse
Just a bit further west - inaccessible, though
Just a bit south-east of the obelisk I found a path down - part of it aided by a fixed rope. I managed to get down to the shoreline there, but it was not possible to go back northwards to below the obelisk. Facing me was a stack with a fixed line running to the top. I debated about having a go, but decided against as I had not mentioned to Patrick that 'I may be some time'.

Stack with fixed line
Arte Maritime - Estoril
Lisbon from across the Tagus

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