Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Saturday 16 November 2019

Saturday 16 November 2019 - Wythenshawe parkrun number 417

On a surprisingly sunny morning, we returned to parkrunning just four weeks after our last outing.

Despite the mud, we managed reasonable times given our muscles had forgotten how to run. I chatted with Michael, and Sue chatted to Alastair.

All very convivial, and it was good to see Mark H looking frisky at the end (though he did admit to having coughed up his breakfast at the finish!).

Zoe G was on her 300th parkrun, having started in 2011. Quite an achievement as she has had two babies during that time. She brought a balloon that accidentally went skywards, and the picture I took of 'Team Zoe' will also finish up in a 'cloud', of a different sort.

There was lots of cake today. It's a shame the obnoxious manager of the tea room is on a mission to prevent it being brought into the room, let alone being finished off there. What with dogs also being banned, the café is losing business. Never mind, it's still quite jolly in there after the run.

Today's pictures:
I was commended today on my colour coordination!
Team Zoe at the finish
Happy times in the tea room

Full results are here.

Friday 15 November 2019

Flowers from the Generalife gardens

Mobile postings are set to resume for a few days, as our home computer has been stricken with a sudden illness.

The Generalife gardens in Granada were imbued with colour on Monday, as exemplified by the above images. They cover a considerable area, and as we had all day there and at the adjacent Alhambra, we had time to linger in this attractive (if cool) spot.

Thursday 14 November 2019

Pyrenees HRP - 2004 - Day 43

Sue and Martin's Big Adventure
Day 43 - Monday 6 September 2004 - Stage 35

Postcard Summary (on tomorrow's card)
Empty Hotel to D’Incles Valley
Another good but hard day’s walk – 9.0 hours, 17 km, 1300m ascent
Best weather for a few days for a long but very well graded 1100 metre ascent to the Col des Miners (2713m).  Good views and very few people, then a scrambly traverse and thrutchy climb to a peak (2505m) before descending to the D’Incles valley where it took some time to find the campsite.  Then we walked into Soldeu for a nice meal beside a coach load of Germans.
Diary Entry (by Martin)
Hotel Tristaina's breakfast - continental as always - was good, and included delicious kiwi fruit. I felt rejuvenated after two short days and lots of food since reaching Andorra. We discovered that we were the sole guests at the hotel - other people seen had just been using the bar, etc in passing. Amazing how high season quickly evaporates to no custom for these places - apart from coach parties if you can get them.
The sky was clear again, though we expected high cloud again later.
Hotel Tristaina - 1600 metres - 8.45 departure up to a hairpin bend recced by me last night. Nice ascent east in shade and trees (initially). 16°C. Very pleasant. We reached the end of a dirt road (luckily we only had to walk on it a little) after passing some Botanical Gardens - very quaint.

We soon reached the unmanned Sorteny Refuge at 1980 metres. (10 am) This had water outside and a toilet inside what otherwise was just a huge room with metal bunks, tables and benches. A strange selection of left over foods graced the shelves. We decided wild camping would be preferable here.
Suntan cream was applied and we continued the well graded ascent to Collada dels Meners (2713 metres), past Leopardsbane, Rockroses, Harebells and Dog Daisies, which are not yet 'over'.
Lots of flowers now are in their final throes - Pasque flowers and Willowherbs waving their seed heads merrily in the wind, and other plants taking on a very desiccated appearance.
We reached the col at 12.05, 10 minutes ahead of Georges Véron's timing.
But Sue was struggling, still being very tired and feeling unwell today. Knackered and needs a rest. So we ducked out of an easy walk up to Pic de Serrera (2912 metres), and headed down to a convenient lake for lunch. Very few people (7) seen today, but four of those were English! They were on day walks up to the col or the Pic.
12.45 to 1.20 - lunch with grasshoppers, soon left us with a short debate about which of three possible routes to take. We chose Georges Véron's old HRP route - the middle course - to Cabana Coms de Jan. A new 'GRP1' route seems to have been introduced (per latest map) which is better marked but may not be as much 'fun'. We enjoyed the scrambly bits and reached the Coms de Jan cabin (2 to 2.15), where we discovered it has been split into two - one section (locked) for a shepherd, and a small section for 2-3 people. Not very homely.
We tried to follow Véron's route to Collada del Clot Sord (2458 metres) and found a reasonable way (no real path), with a thrutch up the mountain at the end. A vague path led us across a scree slope to the west of the 2505 metre summit, at which we arrived at  3.40 pm. (We could alternatively have gone to the col / saddle, and would probably have easily scrambled to the summit.)
Then a 700 metre descent, pathless at first then marked with frequent yellow arrows and blobs.
This took us down to 2050 metres before a junction sent us off up Vall d'Incles, contouring past a balancing rock (Roca del Home Dret) before finally dumping us down a concrete road into the D'Incles valley.
We walked to the edge of Soldeu and asked in a bar ("where campsite?") The bemused man pointed up the road we had just come down ("1 km"). We then spotted two signposts within 100 metres of the bar, both pointing to 'Camping Font Dels Ferrosins', which we duly found at 5.40 pm, 1 km up the road we had just come down. Virtually empty, office shut, but hot showers working and a man arrived to be paid (€7.50) before we walked the half hour into Soldeu for a good meal surrounded by a coach load of overweight old German tourists, at Hotel Nandi, before a pleasant walk back to camp under the stars.
Stats and route (Viewranger):
17 km, 1500 metres ascent, 9 hours

Wednesday 13 November 2019

Pyrenees HRP - 2004 - Day 42

Sue and Martin's Big Adventure
Day 42 - Sunday 5 September 2004 - Stage 34

Postcard Summary 
Fishermans Camp to El Serrat
Into Andorra at last for beer and ski resort lunch (supplies low) – 6.0 hours, 12 km, 800m ascent
Today, another hazy sky.  The morning involved a descent, then a climb to the Port de Rat – out of France and into Andorra.  The view of ski lifts was rather ugly, but an open restaurant provided us with cheese baguettes and salad – a good alternative to tins of fish!  We see lots of tourists walking the short distance to three scenic lakes, then we lose them when the descent gets steep.  Now enjoying beer, crisps and a valley view from the terrace of Hotel Tristiana, clean after a good bath.  Only one more day until a day off in Soldeu.

Diary Entry (by Sue)
After not an especially good night's sleep (bad pillow, sheep bells, gusty, too hot), I managed to miss both alarms (due to ear plugs), and woke with Martin suggesting a weather deterioration. Although the same high cloud was present, the pressure had fallen and the temperature had risen to 16°C. Delayed start due to toilet stops for both of us, but then we had a good run. Leaving our lake, a path descended, then contoured around the end of a very hazy valley, to meet a dirt road. (See top picture for the view down the Soulcem Valley.)
Not long on this gentle gradient upwards before our path is signed with cairns and yellow marks. We climb steadily, stopping once for mountain mix, to reach the Port de Rat at 2540 metres.
Ascending to Port de Rat
Two large cairns mark the border, and a fairly big landmark for us - we've reached Andorra (11 am).
The view is of ski lifts and pistes, and newly sown grass, but the advantage is that the Restaurant La Coma, by a large car park and a chairlift, is open. Although only 12 ish, we welcome a lunch of cheese baguettes and a plate of salad, with a tin of coke.
Leaving there, the path rose steeply for a short while, and it was soon clear why everyone and his dog were heading this way. Over a brow, and three lakes lay below us, very easily accessible from the car park. But, as usual with the HRP, we leave the tourist spots quickly, and after the lower lake, we saw no one walking.
A steep descent followed, where care was needed, with a rather scary crossing of a dam at the bottom, over which water was running (Martin avoided this by crossing the stream higher). Then, a section of ski piste, one of old road, one of new road, and one of track, and El Serrat appears.
A ski piste above El Serrat
It was hot (28°C) and sunny on this section, so no real change in the weather. El Serrat only has hotels and no shops, so we book into Hotel Tristaina, without finding out the cost for a night's half board, and immediately swing into the hotel / early finish routine (2.45 pm) - washing, baths and airing sleeping bags. Once these chores are done, we can adjourn to the terrace bar, for a beer, crisps and a few postcards. The swifts fly around this lofty location, and the hazy sun shines on our view both up and down the narrow valley, lined with pines.
We are their only customers for dinner at 8 pm, so we sit in the bar, instead of the restaurant, along with only one other customer - a small man who doesn't remove his hat and who drinks red wine and watches the blaring TV! Dinner is an ordinary salad, pork (M) and sausage (S) with chips and veg, and apple cake (S) and lemon mousse (M) for pudding. The waiter makes an excellent effort to describe the choices in English, more accurately than the 'English speaker' at the Graus campsite. Bed is around 10 pm.
Stats and route (Viewranger):
13 km, 680 metres ascent, 6 hours