As Lanzarote prepares for its wine harvest, tour guide David Penney leads us on a stroll from Uga to La Asomada, through the picturesque and unique vineyards of La Geria.
Photos: Nick Chester and Liga Caica.
Type of walk: Linear
Distance: 6 kilometres from Uga to La Asomada.
Terrain: Mostly an easy uphill walk on a gentle dirt track.
Getting there: This can be a two-car walk leaving one car in La Asomada; or you can continue down to the gasolinera in Macher and catch the No 60 bus to Uga.
Other tips: If you prefer a mostly downhill walk, you can start at La Asomada. David prefers the uphill route as it’s less slippy underfoot.
You can park your car at the free car park with the big marquee in Uga, or there is a new mini parking area recently created at the start of the track.
Leave Uga on the LZ30 and within 500 metres cross over to the dirt path where you’ll see two fingerposts and an information board. This track is known as the Camino de la Caldereta, and is not allowed for public vehicle access as it is a trekking route and a mountain bike trail. Although tourists often park their hire cars here, it’s not recommended. It is safer to leave your car in the village and also much easier if you wish to use the bus to return.
Head up the track deep into farmland where we are soon surrounded by hundreds of thousands of grape vines and many, many fig trees. July is ideal for the walk as it is the start of the vendimia (the harvesting of the grapes) and local farmers will be fairly active after the 3rd week of July, when the famous malvasia grapes are starting to be picked. Normally, the big celebration of the harvest of the grapes takes place on the morning of the 15th of August at the Bodega La Geria, but unfortunately that won’t go ahead this year due to the coronavirus restrictions.
Green Heart of The Island
Along the route you will see much more vegetation, depending on the time of the year. At the start of the track on the right hand side you will see a local farmer growing his onions and some maize. Further back from the track there are prickly pear cactus plants and, if the fields are not in regular use, you will see plenty of wild plants like the famous tumbleweed plant or the lanky common tobacco plant, with its yellow flowers, which shoots up everywhere.
You will also see the wild geranium, which has a pink flower. These all grow easily without water in the hollows around the vines which are not being worked any longer. However, they must be weeded out regularly before they become established otherwise they will starve the vines of any moisture and it won’t produce the grapes.
Each vine needs to be pruned ruthlessly a couple of times a year to cut off any new growth, otherwise it will become a weeping vine that grows above the height of the zocos (volcanic rock walls) and will be killed off by the wind. You will notice all of the zocos are facing the same direction as the prevailing wind is the the north-easterly alisio. The purpose of the zoco is to protect the vegetation from the wind, and local farmers have collected all the lava rocks and built the walls by hand. The only way to get to the vines to tend them and pick the grapes is by foot, making this a very laborious way of life. Farming was the primary industry for centuries here on Lanzarote before tourism arrived in the late 60s, but there are still over 2,000 independent registered farmers who grow their grapes and sell to the main bodegas to derive an income.
At the highest point of the route you can make a small detour from the track and walk up to the area where the paragliders and hang gliders launch from, off the side of Montaña Tinasoria which also offers a spectacular, sweeping view that takes in Puerto Calero, Mácher, Puerto del Carmen, the airport, Playa Honda, Arrecife and Costa Teguise.
We rejoin the track which shows the burgundy signs for the GR131 and as we continue along it we find it soon joins a small secondary road, which starts to slowly drop back down again towards the village of La Asomada. We will pass several big residential villas on either side of the road and on the right hand side is a huge aljibe (underground water tank ) which was used to supply the nearby properties before mains water was available.
I have done this route with guests dozens of times and we always like to finish the walk with a cold drink and some cheap tapas at the sociedad in La Asomada. They have recently built a wonderful BBQ area in the car park next to the sociedad so it is also a great place for a picnic.
Some of you may have met Pedro, who runs the sociedad, and got the impression he is always grumpy, and that even serving you a cup of coffee is too much trouble, but he really is a great character once you get to know him – and it helps if you can speak even a little bit of Spanish.
Contact David on (0034) 649 389 888 or firstname.lastname@example.org.