Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Saturday 2 November 2019

Saturday 2 November 2019 - Posada La Plaza, Canillas da Albaida



5.30 alarm and we leap up from our mattress in the living room. Sue pulls a muscle. 6 am taxi to T2, leaving our house to the mercies of Lisa the decorator, who is rather envious having holidayed near Competa for the last five years.

Proceed smoothly to the Jet2 departure gate for the 8.20 Boeing 737 300/800 to Malaga.

Overcast but warm in Spain.

Transfer to Canillas. Settle in at the Villa. (View from villa - top, picture of villa, below.) Then Tom joined us for a stroll to Competa. It rained.

Beers under a canopy (bottom picture). Then we walked back.

Joined the group of 26 later, after Cary arrived, for briefings and an excellent meal.

Friday 1 November 2019

Chester: 'Park and Walk'

On a day when the forecast rain failed to transpire, Paul S and I enjoyed a pleasant walk from Guilden Sutton, where the Church Hall car park facilitates an easy 'Park and Walk', to Chester and back. We previously enjoyed a completely different walk from the same spot in September.
After passing the Bird in Hand, our route took a few muddy twists and turns before crossing an empty golf course and the A51 road. Then we turned down the attractively named 'Fir Tree Lane'. More like 'Bramble and Nettle Lane' it seemed to us. No wonder there weren't any dog walkers around.
We soon passed through the pretty village of Christleton, before joining the Shropshire Union Canal towpath, the canal looking a bit muddy today.
Our route now followed the towpath, 'Baker Way', all the way to the centre of Chester.

Canal maintenance was taking place, and we passed a large water tower whose historic source of water was the nearby River Dee.

New buildings were being erected next to another historic monument, the Shot Tower, where lead shot was manufactured by an innovative process in the 1780s. Molten lead was poured through a pierced copper plate or sieve at the top of the tower, with the droplets forming perfect spheres by surface tension during the fall; the spherical drops were then cooled in a vat of water at the base. Despite other processes also being used in later years, shot continued to be manufactured here until 2001.
We turned into the centre of Chester, basically for coffee and cake, which was sourced at a large room in the cathedral.
Here's a familiar view of the half-timbered buildings that feature strongly in the centre of Chester, taken from outside the cathedral.
These days tourists are attracted by a large statue composed of knives, placed by the cathedral's entrance. Lots of 'Free Entry' signs lure the tourists from all parts of Chester, after which larger 'Donation £4' signs in the foyer lure the contents of their wallets.
We moved north to join a 'Greenway' for most of the walk back to the car. This bike/walk route follows the course of a disused railway line and is a splendid amenity. Despite the dull day, some bright (ish) autumn colours were evident, and we passed a buzzard sitting on a post in a school playing field. Waiting for the infants to start their lunch break?
Soon after passing a large wooden woodpecker, we went underneath exit 12 of the M53 motorway, and turned down pleasant paths leading back past nice cooking smells from the Bird in Hand, to Guilden Sutton.
It was a pleasant 16 km stroll, with about 100 metres of ascent (ie 'flat'), taking us a little over three hours. We were back at home in time for a late lunch.
Here's the route - click on the image for a better version.

That was a good way to spend a dull (weatherwise) Friday morning, and thanks for your company, Paul.

Thursday 31 October 2019

Pyrenees HRP - 2004 - Day 41

 Looking back to Estany de Sottlo and Pic d'Estats
Sue and Martin's Big Adventure
Day 41 - Saturday 4 September 2004 - Stage 33 (continued)

Postcard Summary (on tomorrow's card)
Scenic Camp to Etang de la Soucarrane
Leisurely hike in fine scenery under a hot hazy sun – 5.7 hours, 10 km, 700m ascent
From wild camp to wild camp under a hot hazy sun – we decided not to climb the ‘optional’ peaks due to fatigue and dwindling provisions (although we started with enough for a week, including 17 tins). This was a good decision, as it got very hazy indeed and views would be limited. A separate ‘peak bagging’ plot is hatched for some future trip!  So we arrived at a lovely spot with fishermen across the lake and plenty of time to do washing, read books and cook a nice meal. 

Diary Entry (by Martin)

Well, it's not yet 4 o'clock and I can sit outside the tent to start this entry! We decided last night not to attempt the ascent of Pic d'Estats, due to fatigue and a provisions shortage. It really needs a day dedicated to climbing it, and Montcalm. It's the last of Joostens "10 classic summits", and we only managed Le Taillon on a 'day off' in Gavarnie. so a plan is hatched to spend a month in the Pyrenees, with the aim of 'bagging' these missing peaks.

We are actually quite pleased with the summits we have been up (quite a few), and there are more to come. The trip would have had to be extended to take in these summits. My 'planned' itinerary had some overoptimistic comments.  

Anyway, we woke to a clear sky, and our neighbours by the lake flattening their tent for the day and heading off up Pic d'Estats. This seems to be the legitimate way of bivouacing for two nights. Gear left in tent, weighted down with rocks.

Despite a leisurely breakfast, we were away by 8.10. Lots of people ascending from Val Ferrera Refuge - the Saturday morning brigade. But they were friendlier than usual. A big contrast with the last three days though, having seen nobody of note, we now meet loads of people. Also, the camping spots have been completely unspoilt, whereas this one is obviously heavily used and (whilst we had an idyllic spot) there is considerable 'wild camping for the careless' debris.

It's a lovely morning but getting hazy with high cloud coming in. This builds up during the day, and the view from the peaks will have been very poor due to the haze. Best left for another time - decision vindicated.

There are some scrambly sections on the delightful walk down to the Val Ferrera Refuge (10.30 to 11.10).

Signs above the Refuge
We meet a couple of French? backpackers on their way to Baborte. They are envious of our eight week trip. After an unexpected and pleasant contouring section, we descended to arrive unexpectedly at the hidden refuge, where water was replenished and we gorged ourselves on hot chocolate, crisps and kitkats.
Some English people had stayed on the 18th of August, having left Hendaye on 7th July. Rare. Then we headed off up to Port de Boet. The guidebook suggested Pla de Boet as a camping spot. It obviously was that, but you'd have to like cows! The ascent was easy, following yellow circles with black centres painted on rocks all the way, but the scenery lacked the vitality of that of the last few days.
Pla de Boet

It was just a wide grassy valley, with cows, sheep and horses, not enclosed by mountains but surrounded by high and slightly more distant mountains than we are used to.
We found a nice spring high up and reached the Port de Boet at 1.20 pm.
As it was only half an hour down to Étang de la Soucarrane (2292 metres) we descended to reach a nice camping spot by this lake by 1.50 pm.  
A short day with no difficulties! The cloud was building so we ignored the bivvy regs (no camping until 7 pm) and copied some fisherman by putting our tent up. Then lunch. Then washing - clothes and selves. Then fetching water from a distant spring. Then diary writing in a fair breeze, which is drying the washing. A short read and then it'll be time for tea. Wild flower book could come out, but there's nothing much in flower here! Sod's law. The last of three nights' excellent wild camping.
Now in France for the first time since Venasque about ten days ago - and now, perhaps we won't visit Spain again! Lots of reading and a nice meal - macaroni and tomato sauce with tuna etc, before bed by 9 pm.
Stats and route (Viewranger):
10 km, 700 metres ascent, 5.7 hours

Wednesday 30 October 2019

5 and 6 October 2019 - More photos from our Newtonmore Trip

Belatedly - here are some more pictures from our weekend in Newtonmore, starting with the view from Room 26, now being refurbished, on Saturday morning.
My original posting is here.
We started with the Aviemore parkrun. Here is Gayle, on a recce.
Posing before the start.
Posing at the finish. Sue is just about in shot!
Preparing for the assault on Cruben Beag.
There wasn't a path, though we met a chap, 'cjo', who was nearing the end of an anticlockwise circuit around this ring of hills. Good views.
A deer fence looked as if it would present a tricky obstacle, until we found a crossing place where it had blown down.
A fine little summit - Cruben Beag, 590 metres.
Here's the route - 4.3 km, 350 metres ascent, taking 2 hours including breaks.
'Touch Not The Cat But a Glove', say the Macphersons, whose 'cairn' is situated beside the road back to Newtonmore.
Sunday (original posting here) was forecast to be dire weather, so we went for an 8 km run to Kingussie and back with Mick and Gayle.
A visit to the Highland Folk Museum followed.
The next picture shows the interior of the C18th building shown in the picture below it.
Here's part of the 18th Century township.
This pond was apparently used for curling, back in the 1700s.
At the other end of the large museum site, a number of buildings etc transport the visitors into a 1930s environment.
This is the 'best' side of this old car, an Austin Seven?, so it needs a fair amount of restoration.
As does this Fordson tractor...
Enough said - this museum is full of 'work in progress', but the restoration projects have already borne fruit, and they are continuing apace. Well done to all concerned.

I'm not sure whether this bike, very like one I used to have, is an employee's or an exhibit!
Well, that's it from this trip - click on any of the pictures for better resolution and access to a slideshow.