A visit to La Graciosa was on our list of must-dos and not just for the SOTA or geocaches. It is rarely visited by British tourists (mainly being promoted to Germans and Spanish) but has a remote desert island feel and some of the best beaches; at this time of year there are not many people beyond the 600 residents.
There are two summits on the island: Agujas Grandes (EA8/LA-023) and Montana Amarilla (EA8/LA-027). It looked feasible to do both summits in one day if done very quickly and if we could find a suitable route but the tracks shown and most descriptions of visits follow the paths and dirt roads around the higher summit and not to the top. We did look as we passed on the ferry but could not see anything easy from the southeast side so we decided to just concentrate on Montana Amarilla and do this new activation properly.
Helen in front of our target for the day, Montana Amarilla (EA8/LA-027); although the smallest hill in Lanzarote it was still over half an hour to the top from here
Apart from some big swells from the Atlantic out of Orzola harbour it was flat calm especially after we turned into the “river”, the strait between the islands. There were 3 geocaches to do on the way along the south coast walking through the dunes and along the beautiful deserted beaches so we took a slightly convoluted route. Finally we got to the path up the caldera which was completely open on the north side. This was loose, fine scree but it was well-defined so not a problem to ascend.
Carolyn walking the rim of the caldera towards the trigpoint on the top
When we first set up the antenna on the ridge the wind was not a major problem; It did get gusty after 20 minutes and kept changing direction so the antenna blew down 5 times! Slowly we moved it down into the caldera to get some shelter but we could only go so far down the slope due to the loose surface.
Carolyn activating Montana Amarilla (EA8/LA-027) looking north; this was before it got very windy!
I started on 20 metres and had a good run of callers for an hour and a half ending with 86 contacts. We then had a break for lunch while admiring the views to the Isla del Norte. Another 45 minutes on 17 metres produced 58 contacts before we decided to start the walk back to the main town and harbour, Caleta del Sebo.
It took us an hour and half for a leisurely walk back along the beaches. In total we walked 11 km or 7 miles while on the island but it was a relaxed affair with plenty of exploring and stops to admire the views.
The view north along the western coast of La Graciosa from Montana Amarilla (EA8/LA-027) looking towards the northern islands of Montana Clara (which is just a mountain that is also a SOTA, EA8/LA-024) and Isla de Alegranza (which has two SOTAs, EA8/LA-022 and EA8/LA-025); the other SOTA on La Graciosa, Agujas Grandes (EA8/LA-023), is hidden behind the caldera on the right
If you come to Lanzarote then don’t just take a look at the islands from the Mirador del Rio on the cliffs but take the half hour ferry and visit a real desert island.