I’m sure Portugal receives it’s fair share of bad weather but this week we have been blessed.
Once again the egg and pony are hitting the trails. With plenty of water and apples packed in our running vests we park the car at a South Coast beach as we head west along the coast onto an unknown path.
Portuguese coastal paths differ than those in the UK, close to the edge and suitably dangerous at times. Paths like this at home would deemed to be impassable and diverted due to unstable cliff faces.
We follow the single track and technical terrain up and down the cliffs never taking our focus off from the next footstep.
We climb goat tracks with shear vertical climbs training the calf muscles to their max finally reaching the summit to then be forced down another steep descent before heading back up again.
Just when we start questioning the route a blue and green painted marker confirms that we are indeed on the right track for both two legged travellers as well as the local goats.
As we approach the top of a cliff towering over a beautiful small cove of golden sands and water alive with various shades of blue, green and grey we instinctively ignore the correct path down and instead skim over loose rocks and tentatively lower ourselves onto the beach far below. Slower than a slow thing hoping we won’t be the latest subjects for the local emergency rescue channel we finally reach the bottom. Once our feet are firmly on the sand below we are both relieved and amused by our stupid efforts on what is obviously the wrong route down to this beach. The beach is reward for our journey to get here, mother nature continues to drop delights along the way of those that make the effort.
Late afternoon is now drawing in and the light is limited so heading inland to the hills seems a sensible return journey from here.
As we head inland the views, track and sounds change. Barking dogs, cockerels crowing and the distant chorus of the cow bells serenade our footsteps…these are the Portuguese hills.
The path widens as we follow rubbly four wheel drive tracks that appear as scars in the landscape. The temperature increases as sea breeze is left behind us and we are more aware of the sweat that has amounted under the run packs.
How I have missed this feeling of warmth as I train, as I move, as I run. We run on taking in the surroundings and noticing little white Portuguese houses dotted amongst the hills.
As we approach the next village the sounds change again, there are still barking dogs in the distance but now the smell of petrol and the sound of garden strimmers remind us that we are now entering civilisation. The locals tend to their gardens and we wave as we pass.
When we reach the car at the end of today’s journey we decide not to climb in but instead we sit at the beach.
Pony is sat beside me reading as I am writing this, both of us quietly going about our business while still wearing our run packs in comfortable silence enjoying every last moment of light.