Via Algarviana explained

IN THE Resident’s edition of July 7, we printed an article entitled Walk the length of the Algarve, about the Via Algarviana, an ecological pedestrian track, covering a distance of 240km across the Algarve region, which will be ready in 2007. Recently, we received a letter from reader Roderick Frew from Silves, who kindly reminded us about the history of this route. He wrote:

“The Via Algarviana was created, named and indeed the 240km route walked in its entirety (for charity) way back in 1998. Shortly after that, it was walked in reverse and twice covered on horses for charity. This wonderfully scenic, off-road Algarve hinterland route was pioneered by a group from the Algarve Wednesday Walkers to realise a dream of its creator, Maurice Clyde.

“Of the seven original participants who completed it, two still walk regularly with the Algarve Wednesday Walkers, but, sadly, Maurice himself had to return to the UK having had the misfortune of suffering a debilitating stroke.

“Although there were intermittent meetings with Almargem (the association of defence of culture and the environment of the Algarve) and its president João Santos, they had little time, or capacity, beyond their valuable work protecting the threatened Algarve countryside from predators, to develop or fund such proactive initiatives. Nevertheless, they certainly encouraged the project as best they could.

“This year, two other members of the Algarve Wednesday Walkers invested much time and energy in way-marking and describing the route. The fruits of their labours will shortly be available on a website.

“Almargem now seem to have the desire, time and funding to create an officially way-marked GR (part of a trans-European network of walking routes). This can only be a good thing and it is to be hoped that co-operation between them and the Algarve Wednesday Walkers will continue. It should not be forgotten, however, that were it not for Maurice Clyde and the original walkers, the Via Algarviana would never have been.”