Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Thursday 17 January 2019

14 and 15 January 2019 – Overnight at the Ryebeck Hotel

Beside Windermere

It’s Monday morning. Everyone is rushing to work. We are caught up briefly in that traffic, but soon free of it as we speed north for a couple of days in the Lake District, based at the Ryebeck Hotel in Bowness. Sue and I are enjoying this trip with Paul and Jeanette. The latter, unfortunately, has a foot injury that relegated her to a bicycle on what was hoped to be a walking break. Anyway, we all caught the ferry and set off along the west bank of Windermere, in view of Belle Isle.

At Bass Rock we turned left and headed over the top towards Hawkshead, passing some pretty cottages on the outskirts.

Here are Sue and Paul, striding into Hawkshead, where Ginny’s Teapot was a good place to rendezvous with Jeanette and to enjoy coffee and cake.

Paul had never been up Latterbarrow, so that omission was dealt with on this calm day with good visibility. My companions declined to venture to the top of the cairn.

Latterbarrow, like many small hills, is a fine place with splendid views to the high peaks of the Lake District.

Heading down to Far Sawrey, we passed Wise Een Tarn, and the site of the cover picture for our 2007 calendar – a very similar to the following picture, but the light was better in 2007.

Claife viewing station was apparently built by the owners of Belle Isle, to give them a good view of Windermere.

Here’s the view in the direction of Ghyll Head.

It was late afternoon, with monochromatic light, as we looked across Belle Isle to the summits of High Street.

Dark by the time we’d crossed back over the ferry and re-joined Jeanette at the Ryebeck. Here’s our route – 22 km with 600 metres ascent. Ideal for a winter’s day out.

The Ryebeck is blessed with the presence of top chef, Nick Edgar. Here’s his delicious duck liver starter.

I’m not one for taking many ‘food’ pictures, but these two desserts had me reaching for the camera. First, a lemon dessert not on the menu – one of Nick’s experiments. Those who had it were most impressed.

I chose the Chocolate Blancmange dessert, with praline ice-cream, caramelised hazelnuts and poached pears. Delicious.

All too soon, it was time for rest, and Paul enjoyed a full Cumberland breakfast whilst the rest of us stuck to Eggs Royale or similar. We were all set up for the day, and required little more to sustain us.

Sue and I set off from near Elterwater with Paul. We paused beside a photographer who had his equipment set up in an effort to capture a better version of the following image. He was waiting for the light on the mountains to be right, but he was complaining about having to ‘photoshop’ the campervan.

Paul was called away to attend to a mechanical emergency relating to Jeanette’s bicycle, and Sue and I headed up past High Close Youth Hostel. En route, the ram and the ewe shown below were indulging in French kisses through the gate!

We were soon ascending steeply, with good views over Grasmere.

It was quite fresh on the top of Loughrigg Fell – another small hill with fine views.

We wandered past quite a few folk on this hill – we saw nobody else out walking yesterday – and eventually followed a path that headed down to Loughrigg Tarn.

Coffee and cake at Chesters in Chapel Stile fuelled us to the end of the day. Jeanette – mechanicals sorted – joined us briefly before heading on a slightly longer route than our walking circuit via Elterwater.

There were excellent views up the Langdale Valley beside the River Brathay

At Elterwater we turned south, past a massive slate quarry.

The footpath back to Skelwith Bridge had some impressive stiles. Just as well we didn’t have Jeanette and her bike on this section…

Near the end of the day we passed a farmer’s field that had been covered with a temporary surface. “I saw a famous actress this morning” observed Paul – he couldn’t remember her name, but something involving acting seems to be going on here.

Here’s our route for the day – 14 km with 500 metres ascent.

Altogether, a delightful little break. Thanks to P & J for their excellent company, and to the weather for being kind on both days.

Tuesday 15 January 2019


More pictures - from today's 14 km walk from Skelwith Bridge.

Fuller report to follow.


Pictures from yesterday's 22 km stroll on a fine day, before adjourning to the Ryebeck Hotel for an evening with Paul and Jeanette. 

Fuller report in due course.

Sunday 13 January 2019

Shogun Trailbreaker - 1990


My 1990 Shogun Trailbreaker recently went in for its 10,000 mile service. By ‘recently’ I mean I took it into Bike Shak on 17 October last year.

Yes, this could be an abnormally long service. The bike was fresh from a serious outing on the Calderdale MTB Marathon. I normally get it serviced in advance of that event, but this year the old thing was running well so I left it until afterwards to get it serviced.

All was well. A quote for some new parts was accepted. After a week or so the parts arrived and Luke got down to the service. Then…

Luke: “Bad news, Martin. Before getting on with the service, I notice the frame is cracked!”
Martin: “Oh dear, what shall we do?”

That was the start of a long saga that is expected to finish next week. It might be something of a record for the time it takes for a bike to be serviced, but I’ve stressed throughout that there’s no hurry. I have Stumpy. Which now also needs a service…

I’d actually thought that the hassle Bike Shak was having to go through in order to organise the welding repair and subsequent paint work, neither of which they can do in-house, might make me something of an unwelcome customer.

However, they have kept me informed and the pictures in this posting and the following email were received from Ben at Bike Shak last week:

Hello Martin

A final update on your bike, it's 99.9% complete! - We've got the bike serviced and re-built after picking it up from the powder coaters and it looks resplendent in it's new red paint.

I have to be honest we misplaced the shifter covers with the bike components in storage so we have sourced some original replacements which will  be with us mid next week so apologies for that.

In the mean time I thought you might like to look at some photo's! The bike has been a pleasure to work on, it's really nice to bring an old bike back to life.




'‘back to life”! Well, it was pretty lively a couple of days before being brought in for service in October, but no matter, it’ll soon be on the road (so to speak, I’ll be trying to avoid actual roads) again.

So, the bike may be in better shape than when I bought it from Harry Hall in 1990 for £300. It has always been a delight to ride, and long may that continue.

Thanks, Ben and Luke, at Bike Shak in Altrincham.