However, it was once the major route across the north of the island along with El Camino Real, the major difference between the two being that the LP20 is more inland and therefore higher and is what has got to be the most Isolated (note the capital 'I') walking route on the whole island, whilst El Camino Real follows the coast, linking the small villages and hamlets.
The whole route of the LP20 runs from Las Briestas in the north west all the way to Barlovento in the north east and is a distance of 36km. The Senderos de La Palma website, fondly suggests that it takes 7hrs 45mins to walk and intimates that it is 'as good as level.' This was enough encouragement for us to view it as nothing more than a 'bit of a long walk,' even given the accumulated ascents of 650m and descents of 1250m. And as we were splitting the route into two, this walk would surely be a breeze. Wouldn't it?
With a later start than planned, we were ready for the off at 09.30 hrs having left the car in Roque Faro to where we would return later in the day by bus. At the start, we followed the sign for Los Andenes and Roque de Muchachos at the side of the church. It was an easy ascent walking first of all past a few houses (the last houses we would see until the end of the walk at Barlovento) and then a goat farm until we reached the pine forests.
Even so, it was just over an hour later before we reached the old road across the north, Las Mimberes, 3.6km from the start, this being the road which superseded the LP20. In my opinion it is the most scenic road on the whole of La Palma with hardly any cars on it all as it is purely scenic rather than any form of shortcut. Despite this, we saw three vehicles - one being the bus which we didn't know had a route along there and another was our French guests.
We were keen to press on though and we soon came across our first rewarding, or should I say interesting, sight in the form of a pine tree which had suffered from burning in a previous forest fire. Whilst we have seen many trees charred black from fires this is the first one we have seen with resin formed in long droplets, much like dripping candle wax.
But the route was certainly pretty and with the sunlight filtering through the bushes and trees, we had intermittent shade as we zigged and zagged our way along. Finally, we crossed the Barranco de Gallegos which runs way, way inland and not only was this something of a milestone along the walk, but it was a good time to reflect on the still beauty of this peaceful place.
Still with 3km to go along a winding and gradually descending track, we got our first glimpse of the Laguna de Barlovento in the distance. As we neared our destination, we passed a few workers in the fields. Ah yes, civilization La Palma style.