Bone shaking, finger aching, dust coating, terror inducing, eye popping, teeth rattling, body slamming, wheel spinning, buggy driving. Open buggies with strut suspension, thick knobbly tires and bucket seats with seatbelt chest and wait harnesses. Automatic with no gears, they go like a bomb. Ours was the 2.5 hr tour with Buggy Pirates in Maspalomas.
I’m not sure what I was expecting. The welcome was warm, the pre-tour instructions from Sasha clear. We filled in the paper work, took on board what he said about driving on roads, obeying the law and not trying sliding or hand brake turning.
And then we were off in buggy 12, tail end Charlie with a large Spanish flag attached to the rear roll cage struts. Easy to see by the leader apparently! There are advantages and disadvantages to being tail end Charlie. The advantages are simple, you get to see what’s coming and therefore have a few seconds more preparation time than the front leaders. The disadvantage is you get everyone’s dirt and dust!
We set off up the road that we had grown so familiar with, route GC-504, stopping off at a viewpoint to admire the valleys below. Sunnies on, and top speeds for around 50kph it was exhilarating. Down switch backs and hairpin bends, through small towns and villages we roared. The first 50 minutes were on normal tarmac roads. The last 30 minutes was off-road. And this is where we have to say we were slightly disappointed. Yes, it was off road, bumpy, dusty stony tracks. But they were the approach roads/tracks to an old quarry. We honestly thought we would be going up old gravel tracks up the sides of valleys and into the island interior. This was an assumption on our part based on a video we had seen on YouTube. Anyway, we raced up the track, we came down the track. We had a 40m diversion over some humps and thick dust and that was it. Disappointing that off road section. Sorry, but it was.
We were of course caked in dust. Thank heavens we’d been supplied with goggles and we had bought scarves with us. Our hair was thick and matted; fleeces turned from whatever original colour they were to a drab khaki colour.
Would we recommend Buggy Pirates? Yes, but with that one proviso about expectations on the off-road bit.