Saturday, July 08, 2006

Levada Walk # 2

This morning I headed out on a levada walk to the Socorridos valley, west of Funchal. It starts out going through banana plantations and small vineyards - all very pretty.

So I bounce along picking bougainvillea flowers and letting them float along in the levada. After an hour or so the land on the left hand side gradually slips away and the levada follows the line of the hill. It's carved into the rock, so you have to go through small dark tunnels at times.

And at the end of one of the dark tunnels the gammier of my two ankles gave way and I slipped.

I skinned hands and knees and my water bottle went over the edge but I was okay. Having rested for a bit, I saunter on to the end of the trail and then turn around to back-track.

That's when I get a fully-fledged attack of vertigo.

By this point I'm on a path about 20 inches wide, there's a sheer drop to my right of about 60m, and no railings. I stopped dead. As it turns out, this is a mistake, as you lose all natural momentum, and spend some time taking two-inch steps while clinging to the rock. I couldn't understand how I had trippy-dippy strolled out there without a care in the world. If I could have crawled along the levada on my hands and feet I would have, but there wasn't enough room.

So, I focused on the levada instead of the sheer drop, and very gradually tried to build up a walking rhythm again. The panic subsided and then disappeared, and I was okay to make my way back.

Got to Funchal, bought a deckchair and a six-pack. And during the late afternoon, a sense of order was restored :)

13 comments:

Nicki said...

Oh my god that's so scary - I remember walking somewhere near Sennen Cove with my sister and walking on ahead realising about 10 mins later that she wasn't with me backtracked and found her crouched down clinging to a rock almost hysterical it took her about an hour to recover - you poor dear. Guess your Angels were looking out for you!

Nicki said...

Most importantly thank God for alcohol!

Orlaith said...

I think you're right on both counts!

Anonymous said...

You poor thing- that is horrific. Things like that can just happen so suddenly and are really nauseating.

Glad to hear composure is restored and take care of yourself!!

Sara

Orlaith said...

Thanks hon - a relaxing Sunday restored all ills. I've even planned my next levada walk - once I've bought some proper walking boots...

Sean said...

Hmmm. Scary. Most people when they hear "vertigo" think "scared of heights". Anyone who gets a real dose describes it as completely debilitating: nauseous, dizzyness, no balance, can't walk, can't even sit without feeling ill, middle-ear all screwed up, etc.

So - fair play to you for getting out of it ok - I could think of better places to get an attack like that!! :-)

Have you ever had it before?

Sean said...

ps Walking Boots = Birthday Present. Discuss.

Orlaith said...

Would love walking boots - sold! Thank you SO much :)
No I've never felt anything like that before; it came totally out of the blue. You're right about the sensation - it's way more than just a height-thing. It was good that I had to keep on walking: if I had been able to abandon the walk it would have been some time before I went near a levada again!

King Arthur said...

Silly Golden Hair.

Orlaith said...

Ha ha!!! I try very hard...
Good to hear from you :)

Anonymous said...

Here are some links that I believe will be interested

Anonymous said...

Here are some links that I believe will be interested

Anonymous said...

I'm impressed with your site, very nice graphics!
»