Pico de Ruivo Do Paul/Bica da Cana/Encumeada - By Alan Garner
The walk begins on the Paul da Serra plateau close to a minor road that swings right from the main road-ER110.
The plateau of Paul da Serra is situated on a height of 1500m in the Western part of Madeira. It stretches between Achada da Cruz and Encumeada. To the North of the plateau there is the evergreen laurel forest.
This region is often covered by mist due to the evaporation above the forest. Strong wind is also typical for the climate on the plateau. Paul da Serra has competed with Santa Cruz for the construction of the airport of Madeira, but the mist and wind were too much of a disadvantage. There is practically no population in the area from Achada da Cruz to Encumeada which is mainly used as a grazing place for livestock.
On the left-hand side of the minor road see a track going left alongside a tiny Levada. Follow and cross a track. Approach the peak in front of you, walking up to where the path divides.
Take the left-hand path – a steep short climb to the peak with magnificent views over the coast and the mountains to your right. The peak is at 1640 metres.
Proceed down the other side of the mountain path, again steeply descending to the track below.
Turn left along the track and at the minor road cross and bear left again crossing the minor road for the second time and carrying on towards the wind farm.
The route passes a forestry hut, then under several turbines- very large when you are under them, and after a kilometre of walking by the windfarm, meet the main road again. 50 metres along the road to the right is Bica da Cana, where you can rest/lunch and toilet.
Head out of the area – don’t forget to walk to the viewpoint which had magnificent views and take the sharply downhill path to the levada below. Follow left along this rather attractive Levada for one and a half kilometres- you pass some waterfalls, be careful – if after rain you will certainly need to walk under the down flow – possibly getting wet.
Keep walking until you meet the ER 110 road again and turn left along it for 500 metres- below you are the valley of lombo do mouro which runs down to Ribeira Brava.
You reach the entrance to the Levada das Rabacas and signed Encumeada.
The levada walk is spectacular with a tunnel to start and looking down through the trees scape to Serra de Agua. One more tunnel, then a lovely walk to Encumeada- here you find a bar and bus transport should you need it.
Distance – 18 kilometres – allow 6 hours Ascent 250 metres descent 300 metres.
Located at an elevation of 1,007 m, this viewpoint offers a superb landscape over the north and south coasts of the island and the valleys of Ribeira Brava and São Vicente.
The Boca da Encumeada viewpoint rises to and elevation of 1,007 m, on the crest of the ridge that runs through the interior of the island and offers superb views of the deep valleys of Ribeira Brava (south coast) and São Vicente (north coast).