Recently I visited the Spanish island of Gran Canaria off north-west Africa while working alongside automotive producer Hyundai. Not solely was it a chance to expertise some highlights of the island, nevertheless it additionally served as a nice excuse to check drive the all-new Hyundai i30 Fastback N (pictured right here exterior our resort) – a part of the i30 household which has been doing very properly certainly, with over a million already delivered throughout Europe.

Designed, constructed and engineered in Europe, that is very a lot a European automotive (regardless of Hyundai’s South Korean roots) that has already picked up 14 main awards. To add to this, the Fastback N is a extra sporty mannequin that has made a very robust entry into the market, with nothing else on the market prefer it, and has been billed by the UK media as a ‘game 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 automotive was developed.

After a temporary introduction to this scorching hatch and a few of its options, we set out on the roads of Gran Canaria, and had been lucky sufficient to be given entry to a non-public street in the mountains the place we might put the automotive via its paces with out concern of oncoming site visitors.

For those that are curious, the whereabouts of the street could be seen in this Google Map.

And regardless of the twists and turns of the street, the experience was surprisingly comfy and really easy.  As properly because the seat, the steering wheel place is simple to regulate which suggests you possibly can flip the wheel higher with out eradicating your arms on tight hairpins. 

And then got here the enjoyable half – placing the automotive in ‘N mode’.  This is achieved by clicking on the chequered flag on the steering wheel. In ‘N mode car’, the automotive set-up modifications fully – the steering is stronger and extra exact, you get a throttle kick if you shift down a gear and usually a higher connection if you transfer from one gear to a different. The automotive 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 automotive’s efficiency.

Our first cease after our pleasurable morning drive and a spot of lunch at La Punta Yacht Club (extra on that in a later weblog publish) was to try a via ferrata in an space referred to as Berriel. For those that don’t know, a via ferrata is basically a secured, cabled pathway that climbers can clip onto to make sure a protected traverse of a given route.  When you first consider via ferratas, you would possibly sometimes consider climbing routes in the Alps – locations such because the Dolomites the place they had been initially used to assist with the mobilisation of troops through the First World War. Nowadays, although, via ferratas could be discovered the world over, together with on Gran Canaria which has constructed on its rising popularity as an journey vacation spot.

If the island’s distinctive local weather and infinite seashores weren’t sufficient to tempt you, then perhaps one if the various 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 good 30-minute stroll to the place the climb begins, passing via a distinctive panorama and mixture of natural world that may make it easier to admire why the island was not too long ago declared a World Biosphere Reserve, earlier than lastly we had been there on the foot of the rock face that we had been going to be ascending. Note the individuals in the underside left hand nook of the image to get a sense of scale.

Now, earlier than you learn on, don’t make the belief that I’m some type of adrenaline junkie endlessly in pursuit of the subsequent excessive repair. Whilst I benefit from the outside, climbing isn’t actually my factor. In reality, it’s considerably out of my consolation zone (you possibly can inform by the nervous smile!), however I’m not in opposition to often doing one thing that pushes my consolation boundaries.

Ahead of the climb, I had crammed out a kind the place the choices had been ‘beginner’, ‘intermediate’ or ‘advanced’. My earlier climbing expertise was restricted (in reality, one of my last climbing endeavours was a few years ago when also working with Hyundai), and I’d by no means accomplished a via ferrata earlier than, so I took the cautious strategy of choosing ‘beginner’. As it turned out, we had been grouped with others who had chosen ‘intermediate’ so it perhaps didn’t make an excessive amount of distinction!

The climb itself was actually a little difficult in locations however nothing most individuals couldn’t address as long as they’ve a head for heights and a little bit of flexibility. (Unfortunately, I’ve little or no of the latter!). Thankfully, although, we had been in the very succesful arms of Marcos, Mauricio and Chris, who had been all very affected person, supportive and inspiring, no matter capacity, and this was very re-assuring.

It was simply as properly as a result of after we obtained to the highest of our climb, they then revealed what we had been going to do subsequent. By this level, we had been roughly in the center of the lengthy, darkish patch you see on the correct hand aspect of the sooner {photograph} of the rockface.  And what we had been going to do was a pendulum swing from one aspect of the rock to the opposite and again.  It won’t sound like a lot however we had 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 similar time.

We took a barely sooner route down and I believe there have been fairly a few relieved faces amongst us by the point we had been again on ‘terra firma’.  Even should you’re not a climber your self however have a cheap stage of health, I’d urge you to provide this a attempt 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 automotive 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 very memorable outing and one which got here with a nice sense of accomplishment.

Disclosure: Our journey to Gran Canaria was sponsored by Hyundai UK.

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