Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019
On the Archduke's Path in Mallorca

Monday, 21 September 2020

24 July 1989 - Alta Via 2 - Day 10 - Wild Camp by Bivacco Feltre to Wild Camp beyond Croce d'Aune

Monday 24 July (Diarist: Martin B)

After going to sleep at about 10:30 pm to the sound of gentle rain, I woke for a pee in the night to find bright moonlight, as in the previous night. The lovely flat meadow gives a good night's sleep after removal of partially dry socks. These are reapplied at 6:15 am to at least warm them before entry into my somewhat soggy but now well worn in Berghaus shoes. These performed well yesterday - trainers would have meant retreat.

We half expect to hear Laurie slithering down the scree after a difficult bivouac, but nothing heard or seen. Sense must have prevailed. Our 4:30 pm departure from Mattiuzzi was about as close as anyone would wish to cur it.

Another delicious Assam tea brew is followed by muesli made in Droylesden but bought in San Martino.

We are looking forward to a good, if airy, final full day's walk of the holiday. It's a pity that Laurie and Martin W couldn't be with us.

Set off a bit later than our 7:30 plan. Up to the refuge (Bivacco Feltre Bodo) which is deserted, last night's occupants having left very early. A very tidy refuge. Dave washed his shirt, and water was replenished before we set off on path 801 in accordance with the Martin Collins Alta Via guidebook's instructions.

Awkward ground was followed by a short steep climb where we waited for Dave before commencing the Sentiero dei Caserin, where the ground became more difficult, with one fixed rope. Lots of flowers and an adder. 

This looks very much like one of Martin W's pictures from the previous day,
so perhaps those images were a little premature!

Orange Lily
Orange Lily

On by a sort of short cut to Rifugio Bruno Boz (1718 metres). A second breakfast was accompanied by a welcome lemon soda and a cappuccino. The hut keeper was busy restocking with the aid of his goods lift, whilst his wife sunbathed.

A view from Rifugio Bruno Boz

By 11:20 we were on our way again, on the last high stretch of the walk. Also the longest - 5 to 6 hours according to the guidebook, excluding stops.

The path climbed through vegetation to an electricity pylon, and thence up and up and up on giddying airy tracks, still with some vegetation which was a nuisance.

Great care was needed. We reached the top of the ridge to find a narrow path made up on it with massive drops either side. Even though it wasn't windy, at least one of us crawled. I couldn't see the others. Footsteps cut into the rock made the next bit easyish in comparison with some paths, but the path then continue to wind up to dizzy heights with drops to oblivion on the left side (usually), but also sometimes on the right side as the path zigzagged up to near the summit of Sasso Scarnia (2226 metres). A piece of metal rope was needed to achieve that objective.

Cloud was about; although we had been walking in bright sunshine with large dollops of sun tan cream. We seemed to be above a layer of cloud, and had our now familiar views of surrounding peaks isolated from the main bodies of the mountains by cloud.

We suddenly found ourselves amongst big boulders with no view of the drops. 2:05 and lunchtime. Final tins and bread, etc. A pleasant stop in a secure place - obviously well used as there is a resident refuse tip.

Soon we are back on our way and have an interesting section below an overhang on sloping slabs. Continue on the south side of the mountain for some time. Extreme care and concentration still needed, but the ground is a bit easier than before lunch, when at one point a 'move' (or in my case a 'jump' was needed on a section which ought to have been aided but wasn't.

Two hikers, the first people seen all day (except at Boz) were met near here. Another path joined from the left and from now on the going was much less giddyfying. I was able to keep up again, and now it was Dave who got left behind. Up to this point my unease on exposed sections had led me to be last most of the way. We missed a sign to a massive cave, but hadn't time to visit it anyway. Yesterday's problem with the weather looked likely to recur. It duly started raining after we had completed another fairly flat section and were on the well made mule track.

Usual off / on antics with waterproofs when just at the far edge of a storm.

Now into typical upland limestone scenery as can be found in the Yorkshire Dales, we made good time over easy ground as far as Rifugio Giorgio Dal Piaz (1990 metres). We had missed an alleged spring in the previous valley and had no water. The Rifugio was in the middle of serving an evening meal (6:30 pm) and did not seem very welcoming. No outside tap or obvious places to camp, so we headed on down past a sign which said 6 to 8 hours to Boz. It had taken us 7 hours the other way.

The descent started on a spectacular old military road which switchbacked down the steep hillside.

It started to rain. The others took a shortcut and got ahead. I did the same. The rain got heavier and we took a rough path down towards Croce D'Aune in increasing gloom. Under the trees it was very dark and misty, and muddy rivulets took over the path.

We were quite tired and stopped briefly (mainly for me to finish my chocolate). The rain lessened and we reached Croce D'Aune (1015 metres) by 8:30. Failed, despite efforts, to find a hotel. Continued on down the road towards Feltre. Dave admits to getting a perverted pleasure from this lengthened day, in particular the rain.

We go past a Nature Reserve and find a couple of ruined buildings. There is flat ground behind the firmer of the two, and a bench. It is quite warm and has stopped raining. This is the spot! Brew, cook tea, and have the tents up - in that order to be discreet, by 10 pm. The end of a long day. Much cursing from John who has lost a peg and appears to be pulling unexpectedly wet items one by one from his sack.

Easily to sleep on nice flat ground.

Click on the images for better resolution and a slideshow

 The next two pictures show our route - 21 km, with 1650 metres of ascent. 

The 'Laggards' Tale will follow in due course.

Sunday, 20 September 2020

TGO Challenge - Wild Camps (No 34: 14 May 2011)

After an energetic day climbing Beinn a'Chochuill and Ben Eunaich, I left Mike at this idyllic camping spot at NN190365, below Meall nan Uan, whilst I pottered off to climb the nearby Graham, Meall Garbh.

I was back by 6:20, to find Mike hunkered down at around 500 metres in his Power Lizard for the night.

PS A five minute wrestle with the editing, and about half a dozen formatting changes later, and I think this entry appears ok in Windows 10/Chrome, iPad, and Android. But it's not easy and would be time consuming in a longer posting.

Saturday, 19 September 2020

Saturday 19 September 2020 - A Short Walk in Tatton Park

This is a brief entry that I can edit as part of my 'New Blogger' learning curve. So far I have learnt that the icons used to do the editing are less responsive than the old ones. For example, I can't highlight all the pictures and change their settings. Each one has to be treated separately, even for something simple like 'left align'. And the pictures sometimes load in reverse order! And getting this paragraph to left align has been a nightmare.

Also, I've noticed, and Nick has pointed out, that the formatting of text around pictures works fine on the desktop (Windows 10/Chrome) and on the iPad, but it's really messy and unsatisfactory on an Android phone. Curiously the template into which I'm now typing shows a mixture of formats.

We crossed a Tank Bridge that I hadn't noticed before, next to which was an information board.

It was a lovely afternoon, with lots of people about in the 'well-spaced' grounds. We walked nearly 7 km before returning home to watch the Tour de France's penultimate day's time trial turning the results upside down.

PS This seems to be showing ok on my Android phone, and elsewhere. This may have been achieved by leaving the re-sizing of the images in HTML until the last step. They load at 320px width. Changing them straight to 550px (to fit on my blog template) causes a drastic drop in resolution, so I have to change them to 'extra large' - 640px, then manually reduce them to 550px - all a bit tedious but I'm used to it. It'll be interesting to see if this works with more text between the pictures than in this posting, and with text copied from a word document as in the series of Alta Via 2 postings.

Phew! (It shouldn't be this difficult!)

Friday, 18 September 2020

Friday 18 September 2020 - A Short Walk Around Davenham

This walk was to check out the accuracy of the description of walk number 15 in Jen Darling's book, 'Walks in West Cheshire and Wirral'.

I had the pleasure of Graeme and Paul S for company. There's room for about four cars in the lay-by from which the walk starts. Go past the impressive church in Davenham, drive over the A533 and park in the lay-by just before the impressive sandstone bridge over the River Dane.

A dew laden path immediately after the bridge led us to a lonely stile near a magnificent oak tree.

The 30 metre high church spire in Davenham stood out above the meadows. 

We went wrong there, by heading up an enticing diagonal path rather than keeping on in the same direction, up the hill to a stile.

Anyway, after marching through a field of nettles near Park Farm, we soon reached the comfort of the Trent and Mersey Canal's towpath. 

Jen's guide refers to Orchard Marina, but this now appears to be closed, with some sort of construction work taking place at the moment.

A smart bridge soon takes the walker over the access point to another marina, Park Farm Marina.

An iron milestone and stop-planks under a corrugated iron roof precede bridge number 181.

There was also a nice bench on which to enjoy our elevenses.

There's a request to limit the use of the towpath to local users during these times of Covid. You just can't get away from the pandemic.

'StayHomeSaveLives' remains the mantra here.

There was hardly anyone around, so we ignored the silly request.

That's bridge number 181, behind Paul and Graeme, and after passing Oakwood Marina (cafe, accessed over the bridge) we enjoyed the serenity of the towpath to bridge number 180, where the railway crosses the canal, which turns a sharp corner.

Oakwood Marina seems to occupy part of Billinge Green Flashes, formed due to subsidence caused by salt extraction, where Jen's book reports the rusting carcass of a narrowboat. We didn't notice any such carcasses today, but this is the former site of submerged wrecks of abandoned narrowboats, an inland waterway equivalent of Scapa Flow. 

Many of the boats were brought here and sunk en masse in the 1950s. As controversial in canal terms as the scuttling of the German Fleet after WW1. British Waterways got rid of a surplus of narrowboats in several places, of which this was one. More recently, some of the wrecks have been raised and restored. As Paul's canal guide states: 'One generation's cast-offs can become the next generation's prized possessions'.

Beyond this railway bridge, the canal marches aimiably on to pass some giant beech trees (one having collapsed into the canal) before reaching the impressive black and white facades of the original lodges to Whatcroft Hall. Judging by the size of the lodges, the hall might be a massive place.

A notice at bridge number 179 informed us that the towpath from bridge 182, where we joined it, to this point (179) would be closed to pedestrians from 28 September 2020 for three months or until repair work on the railway bridge (180) has been completed. So we just about checked this route out in time!

We left the canal and followed a quiet lane to Riverside Organic Farm, which Jen guide book optimistically proclaims sold ice creams in 2006.

The establishment appears to have flourished since then. 

We enjoyed very efficiently socially distanced coffees and a long chat with fine views towards Davenham on a summery day.

We managed to spin out this 6.5 km, virtually flat, walk, to nearly four hours, of which my Garmin gadget recorded rather less than two hours of actual movement.

Graeme said he wanted a casual walk today, and he got one!

Here's the route.

NB Click on any of the images for better versions and a slideshow.

Well, this second attempt at using the new Blogger software has taken a little over an hour and a half, (excluding photo editing) so is a big improvement over yesterday. I really don't like it though, fitting the text to the pictures is really difficult..