Not too long ago I visited the Spanish island of Gran Canaria off north-west Africa while working alongside automobile producer Hyundai. Not solely was it a chance to expertise some highlights of the island, however it additionally served as an amazing excuse to check drive the all-new Hyundai i30 Fastback N (pictured right here exterior our lodge) – a part of the i30 household which has been doing very nicely certainly, with over a million already delivered throughout Europe.
Designed, constructed and engineered in Europe, that is very a lot a European automobile (regardless of Hyundai’s South Korean roots) that has already picked up 14 main awards. So as to add to this, the Fastback N is a extra sporty mannequin that has made a really robust entry into the market, with nothing else on the market prefer it, and has been billed by the UK media as a ‘sport changer’. The origins of the naming of the ‘N’ vary, by the best way, are two-fold, impressed by each Hyundai’s R&D centre at Namyang, South Korea and by the Nurburgring in Germany the place the automobile was developed.
After a quick introduction to this scorching hatch and a few of its options, we set out on the roads of Gran Canaria, and have been lucky sufficient to be given entry to a personal street within the mountains the place we might put the automobile by means of its paces with out worry of oncoming site visitors.
For individuals who are curious, the whereabouts of the street might be seen on this Google Map.
And regardless of the twists and turns of the street, the trip was surprisingly comfy and really clean. In addition to the seat, the steering wheel place is simple to regulate which implies you may flip the wheel higher with out eradicating your arms on tight hairpins.
After which got here the enjoyable half – placing the automobile in ‘N mode’. That is achieved by clicking on the chequered flag on the steering wheel. In ‘N mode automobile’, the automobile set-up modifications fully – the steering is stronger and extra exact, you get a throttle kick if you shift down a gear and customarily a greater connection if you transfer from one gear to a different. The automobile pulls you into the corners extra; it’s sharp and responsive, and also you get an attention-grabbing exhaust ‘pop’ that provides to the texture of the automobile’s efficiency.
Our first cease after our pleasant morning drive and a spot of lunch at La Punta Yacht Membership (extra on that in a later weblog publish) was to aim a by way of ferrata in an space generally known as Berriel. For individuals who don’t know, a by way of ferrata is basically a secured, cabled pathway that climbers can clip onto to make sure a secure traverse of a given route. While you first consider by way of ferratas, you would possibly sometimes consider climbing routes within the Alps – locations such because the Dolomites the place they have been initially used to assist with the mobilisation of troops through the First World Conflict. These days, although, by way of ferratas might be discovered the world over, together with on Gran Canaria which has constructed on its rising fame as an journey vacation spot.
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If the island’s distinctive local weather and infinite seashores weren’t sufficient to tempt you, then perhaps one if the numerous distinctive experiences afforded to you by the attractive pure panorama of mountains, volcanoes and ravines will tempt you. From the place we parked our Fastback N, it was a great 30-minute stroll to the place the climb begins, passing by means of a singular panorama and mixture of natural world that may show you how to admire why the island was lately declared a World Biosphere Reserve, earlier than lastly we have been there on the foot of the rock face that we have been going to be ascending. Word the folks within the backside left hand nook of the image to get a way of scale.
Now, earlier than you learn on, don’t make the belief that I’m some form of adrenaline junkie ceaselessly in pursuit of the subsequent excessive repair. While I benefit from the open air, climbing isn’t actually my factor. Actually, it’s considerably out of my consolation zone (you may inform by the nervous smile!), however I’m not towards often doing one thing that pushes my consolation boundaries.
Forward of the climb, I had stuffed out a kind the place the choices have been ‘newbie’, ‘intermediate’ or ‘superior’. My earlier climbing expertise was restricted (in actual fact, certainly one of my final climbing endeavours was a number of years in the past when additionally working with Hyundai), and I’d by no means accomplished a by way of ferrata earlier than, so I took the cautious method of choosing ‘newbie’. Because it turned out, we have been grouped with others who had chosen ‘intermediate’ so it perhaps didn’t make an excessive amount of distinction!
The climb itself was definitely a bit difficult in locations however nothing most individuals couldn’t address as long as they’ve a head for heights and a bit bit of flexibility. (Sadly, I’ve little or no of the latter!). Fortunately, although, we have been within the very succesful arms of Marcos, Mauricio and Chris, who have been all very affected person, supportive and inspiring, no matter skill, and this was very re-assuring.
It was simply as nicely as a result of once we obtained to the highest of our climb, they then revealed what we have been going to do subsequent. By this level, we have been roughly in the midst of the lengthy, darkish patch you see on the correct hand aspect of the sooner of the rockface. And what we have been going to do was a pendulum swing from one aspect of the rock to the opposite and again. It may not sound like a lot however we have been already fairly excessive up at this level and it took fairly a leap of religion to do it. I’ve to say I used to be fairly nervous and uneasy about this half however glad that I did it on the identical time.
We took a barely quicker route down and I feel there have been fairly a number of relieved faces amongst us by the point we have been again on ‘terra firma’. Even in case you’re not a climber your self however have an affordable degree of health, I’d urge you to offer this a strive in case you are confronted with the chance to do that with a supportive staff round you. The reward of the expertise and sense of feat will in the end outweigh any apprehension.
The stroll again to the automobile handed in a short time as all of us talked about what we had simply accomplished. On reflection, it had been fairly testing however a really memorable outing and one which got here with an amazing sense of accomplishment.
Disclosure: Our journey to Gran Canaria was sponsored by Hyundai UK.