Martin in Gatineau Park

Martin in Gatineau Park

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Cúber Reservoir


Here we are at Cúber Reservoir on another hot, cloudless day.

Luckily we were up near 700 metres, so the heat wasn't as stifling as it would have been lower down.

The walk was only 3 km, with no ascent, so that made life easy.

Can anyone identify the peak in the background?

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Friday, 4 June 2010

A Trip to L'Havanor


The Pixies demanded an 'at home' day. So Sue and I disobeyed by heading off (the statutory 15 minute drive) along the Sóller road as far as Mortitx.

Today's 3 hour, 11 km stroll with about 350 metres ascent was along a good track with fine views.

Starting from the Mortitx vineyard, it soon crossed a stile to pass an allegedly dangerous cave system accessed through a locked door, before meandering through groves of ancient olive groves (pictured) with a Mediterranean backdrop.

The cloudless day may have been sultry at sea level, but up at heights of 300 to 500 metres it was very pleasant. As long as you didn't move too fast.

On the way to L'Havanor are two dams on the Torrent de Comes. The 'torrent' was scarcely a dribble today, though both the small reservoirs were reasonably full. The upper dam was being patrolled by a large blue dragonfly that was seeing off all other visitors from its personal feeding ground.

Beyond the dams the track undulated past a surprisingly flat ploughed field before reaching a fine viewpoint. We lingered there, well beyond the branch path that led down to the small L'Havanor house (Rifugi), absorbing the views before returning by the way we had arrived.

The countryside hereabouts is rough and rugged, but surprisingly green, with lots of spring flowers still in bloom. The sea was mirror-like today. Flat calm. It's an area where there's a breeding programme for rare Black Vultures, and that's what the ever closer black specks in the azure sky that were floating towards us near the end of our walk turned out to be.

Superb.

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Thursday, 3 June 2010

The Bóquer Valley


Today we enjoyed another little escapade from the rigours of living in Casa Galvany, situated just below Puig de Maria, with its dovecote, budgie sanctuary, 'goldfish' pond, exotic pot plants, BBQ area, pool, pizza oven (not yet used) orange, lemon and fig trees and neighbouring horses, sheep and chickens.

This time our customary 15 minute (or less) drive took us to the pleasant resort of Port de Pollença. Our 'there and back' stroll comprised all of 6 km and less than 200 metres ascent. We headed up the Bóquer Valley, through a narrow defile to the broad 80 metre Coll del Moro, before descending to a small stony beach speckled with patches of tar and strewn with piles of flotsam.

However, the narrow bay (pictured beyond Hazel and Andrew) is unspoilt and in today's fine, hot, windless weather proved irresistable to Sue and Al, who retained more modesty than some of our European neighbours who had also found the prospect of a swim irresistable despite their lack of equipment.

The rest reserved their swimming energy until after lunch in the shallower waters of Puerto Pollença, whilst I replenished our supplies of Vino Collapso Rosé (aka Faustino V11 Rioja 2009) ready for later consumption by pool and BBQ.

It's a tough life!

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Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Parc Natural de S'Albufera


Apparently Pliny wrote about the Night Herons we saw here today being sent to Rome as a gastronomic delicacy.

These days it is such species as the Crested Coot (pictured - very similar to a common Coot, but with two red headlamps and a bluish beak) that are sent here from places like South America to set up breeding colonies in a bid to avoid extinction.

The wetlands were drained for agriculture in C19. What land was left has now been restored and turned into the Mediterranean's largest wetlands nature reserve.

Apart from the Night Herons and Crested Coots we saw quite a few of the remaining 301 different species to be found here. Presently there are numerous egrets and other herons, lots of ducks and grebes, many small waders, and small birds like the Sardinian Warbler.

Fish jump in the rivers and lakes. Ospreys and other birds of prey soar high above, no doubt awaiting suitable opportunities.

It's flat. We stayed at sea level today. For the heat...

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Tuesday, 1 June 2010

The Ascent of El Calvari


The Pixies counted 408 steps up Pollença's Via Crucis (pictured), a carved stone stairway lined by ancient cypress trees which ascends El Calvari (Calvary Hill) to the north of the town centre.

At the top some religious art from the Neanderthal Period surrounds a much revered C13 statue of Mare de Deu del Peu de la Creu (Mother of God at the Foot of the Cross) in a simple, courtyarded chapel.

Lunch at La Scalinata restaurant back down in one of the main squares seemed to take up most of the rest of the day...

The BBQ is warming up for a long evening.

The ascent data for this week's trip, if you hadn't noticed, has gone from 300 metres on day 1, to 200 metres on day 2, to about 100 metres today. Snorkeling equipment has been laid out by one member of the party in anticipation of the continuing trend.

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Monday, 31 May 2010

The Ascent of Puig de l'Aguila


Today's ambitious target was the 214 metre summit of 'Eagle Peak'. It's a short stroll from Cala Barques, in Cala de Sant Vicenç.

The walk up the gently graded and finely constructed old track passes an ammunition store tunnel which was good fun with the Pixies. It goes at least 30 metres into the mountain before opening into chambers with a short circular route between them.

Our little group is pictured close to the summit, which Sue and I then visited on a hot and blustery day before recommencing our determined bout of R + R.

Kate appears to have hidden her body behind Andrew so as to create the scary impression of a child with two heads.

Believe me, it's as scary as it looks!

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Sunday, 30 May 2010

The Ascent of Puig de Maria


Here's the view from this ascent towards the market town of Pollença.

We are happily installed in Villa Galvany with Al, Hazel and the Pixies, from where this modest summit is just an hour's stroll.

After the intimacy of Pollença's Sunday market, Al and I enjoyed the quiet 300 metre ascent to the Santuari de la Mare de Deu des Puig, home to various religious houses from 1348 to 1988.

Nowadays, luckily, it's a bar-restaurant-refuge. We enjoyed a beer, chatted to the goats, tried to peer down to our villa (failed, it was too close) and explored the chapel and its magnificent refectory.

Then it was back to the villa to test its impressive barbecue.

All very relaxing...

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