Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Saturday 29 February 2020

Saturday 29 February 2020 - Alexandra parkrun number 14

This week it soon became clear that Wythenshawe's parkrun would be cancelled for environmental reasons, and on Thursday the word went out that it was indeed cancelled. The run director gave some spurious reason in her email, but we all know that the real reason was that she didn't want to frighten the mallards in their new home.
So a large gang of Wythenshawe regulars descended once more on Alexandra parkrun, which wasn't without its own obstacles. Kate Holloway followed Cary, who was in expansive mood through a water splash. (Thanks to Kate for the photo.)
Michael, seen here with his friend Michelle, jogged slowly round, thus allowing me the honour of being the fastest 'over 70', despite me having been caught out chatting to Martha when the run started, leaving us at the back of the 384 strong field, and having to weave through the field to catch those who had started further forward. Our first kilometre was very slow.

As last week, we'd driven to the run in a downpour. Sue and I had even gone back inside to don full waterproofs. But, as last week, the rain stopped just as we were assembling at the start. Magic!

The full results are here.

This week's 'café plan' worked a treat. Jenny (not running) got ahead of the masses and ordered coffees to arrive soon after we finished running. We'd had a long wait for them last week. It also seemed that the hard working staff were managing a bit better this week. It's a very good café.
Happy days...

Friday 28 February 2020

On the South West Coast Path (5)

From the early days of digital photography, here are three images from our 2003 trip to Cornwall, when about 16 of us walked the section of the SWCP from Marazion to Helford Ferry.
Being hard at work at the time, I never got round to properly indexing the photos, which are labelled 'corn2' to 'corn32' and various other puzzling designations, so my identification of the locations and timings (not attributed to digital images at that time) are to some extent guesswork.
The top picture could be of Porthleven on 24 May 2003, and the rooks shown below can definitely be identified as being at Church Cove on 25 May. The bottom picture must have been taken in the vicinity of Kynance, with views towards Lizard Point.
I'll continue from time to time with these snippets from a long and enjoyable walk over a period of some years.
It's still raining in Timperley... and there are TGO Challenge routes to be vetted.

Wednesday 26 February 2020

Pyrenees HRP - 2004 - Day 54

Sue and Martin's Big Adventure
Day 54 - Friday 17 September 2004 - Stage 45

Postcard Summary
Camp Fortunate to Banyuls-sur-Mer

Fabulous long walk in brilliant weather to a big cold salty bath – 9.0 hours, 22 km, 700m ascent

Despite a cold and windy early start (7.30am), this was a brilliant day.  Canigou glowed pink, and we saw the coast from the high point at 1250m, Pic Neulos.  We passed people out collecting mushrooms in the beech woods of the final ridge.  Our lunch spot on Pic Sailfort gave the first view of our destination, Banyuls, and way up and down the coast.  Fantastic views – clear for 50+ miles in all directions.  The afternoon passed all too quickly as we passed by cactus plants and vineyards on our well-marked (for once) path to the sea.  Sue was determined to end the walk with a splash.  She did, but not for long as the sea was cold!  Then to a rather dusty campsite to consume an excellent (and cold) bottle of champagne before returning to town to contemplate our success, and the rest of our lives.


Diary Entry (by Sue)
A magnificent final day to Banyuls-sur-Mer. There was a cloudless sky all day and the views were crystal clear. In view of our early night, it wasn't difficult to get up soon after 6.30, when it was still dark.  

It was a long-trouser and fleece morning as the wind was strong and cold. So, a 7.30 am start - the earliest of the trip! From adjacent to the chalet, we were fortunate to see the effects of the sunrise on the Canigou massif to the west - it glowed a lovely shade of pink for a short time. There was a 300 metre climb to start, through beech woods (see top picture), then up the grassy ridge to Pic Neulos, at 1256 metres our high point for the day.   

The low sun was in our eyes as we walked. Great views of the coast from the top, but Banyuls was hidden by the ridge to come. The mast on the top was protected by a serious amount of barbed wire that the path skirted around in more shady beech woods. Down steeply and a stop for chocolate and to change into shorts (although I retained fleece and gloves for a while longer!).  
The route today sticks closely to the border ridge, until Pic de Sailfort, with us staying just to the French side. It also follows GR10, but despite its regularly spaced red and white flashes we managed to lose it for a short time, so skirting round one of the cols in the woods! Here, a lady was searching out mushrooms, basket in arms.

 Another steepish climb up grass, with lots of martins catching the numerous insects just above the ground, to arrive at the next summit, Pic de Pradets (1175 metres).  
On one of the summits along the ridge
The view to the coast
Looking back to the Canigou massif
Mountain mix here to sustain us after the early start. The scent of thyme accompanied this section, growing in the grass. At the top of Pic des Quatre Termes (1156 metres), we have a chat with a man who is out mushrooming but has failed to find any, and discuss our route. 
Border stone near Pic des Quatre Termes
The ridge curves around to the final one of today's peaks, and we succeed in deviating from the path again, thus missing the top of Pic de Sailfort.
More 'treasure' is found on the way - this time a Special K bar! Our lunch spot is magnificent and fitting for the last day - from Pic de Sailfort, the Côte Vermeille is laid out beneath us nearly 900 metres lower down. We can see Banyuls at last, also Collioure and Port-Vendres, and a long way both north and south.
The lunch provided by the supermarket at Col Perthus yesterday wasn't the best, but the truffle chocolate that followed was good.
Lunch near the summit of Pic de Sailfort, with (below) a view to Banyuls
Banyuls was still over three hours away, but the descent down a rocky ridge was steep and progress was swift. A couple of  level paths traversed the hillside, from where turrets could be seen on the scrubby outcrops. A further steep section cutting off the corners of a road had Martin covered in dust - was this an accident or an intentional fall?
Orientation point above Banyuls
A water point at the bottom topped up our depleted bottles with cold water. During the last hour or so, the route descended gently on dirt tracks through vineyards where the vines were laden with ripe black grapes, and the red roofs of Banyuls got closer.
Cacti and (below) grapes
The final stretch on the streets of Banyuls brought us to the beach at just after 4 pm. No time for emotions, as self-timed photos must be taken!
I insist on a swim, although the beach is pebbly, the slope into the sea is steep and the water a bit murky and cold. At one of several wine merchants, we splash out on a €28 bottle of cold Jacquesson champagne, and stop at the supermarket to buy plastic cups and crisps (to avoid getting too drunk!) on the way to the campsite. The tent is pitched on stony ground and tied to trees as pegs are useless, then we enjoy cold champagne, reflecting a little on the wonderful journey we've done and how smoothly it has gone.
We have dinner at the waterfront, outside under clear skies - goat's cheese salad and sole with almonds (M), and moules gratinée and squid in tomato sauce (S), and a half litre of rosé.
The hard ground goes unnoticed, as we fall asleep quickly, around 9.30 pm, very satisfied and looking forward to the weekend off!
Stats and route (Viewranger):
22 km, 700 metres ascent, 9 hours

Tuesday 25 February 2020

On the South West Coast Path (4) Polruan

Back briefly to my SWCP project. Here's the Polruan Ferry on 29 May 2005, transporting some of our 'team' across one of the many estuaries that have to be crossed during the undertaking of this walk.

We've been back from Canada for a week now, and I still haven't downloaded the photos. It has been raining for much of the time we've been back here, so I've been concentrating on a huge backlog of 'indoor projects'.

I'm conscious of not having updated recently (the Windows XP computer that houses the Dreamweaver software is out of action due to decorating) and I haven't arranged a programme of bike rides and walks. I'm not depressed, just haven't got around to those jobs, for which I won't have a vast amount of enthusiasm until the weather improves.

Meanwhile, TGO Challenge vetting continues.... and yesterday I discovered that I have a place in Andrew's taxi from Inverness to Torridon on 7 May. So I booked a train from Manchester to Inverness on that day. The seven hour journey came up at £22.95, so I didn't feel inclined to carry out the usual detailed costing exercise involving different routes and splitting the journey!

I've noticed that I left our Pyrenees HRP 2004 postings in a state of suspense that nobody seems to have noticed. I'll try to reach the end of that walk tomorrow.

Sunday 23 February 2020

Saturday 22 February 2020 - Swanning Around at Alexandra park(run)

What a contrast to our last three parkruns at Kanata! Alexandra Park was at least 20C warmer, and there were 404 participants, compared with 11 last week at Kanata.
I used to live around the corner on Manley Road, back in the 1970s, but I didn't visit the park very much. I think the whole place has been renovated since then, with the Pavilion, described and pictured below, now housing a vibrant café etc.
Click on the pictures to get a better version.
There were over a dozen of us, plus the Cordingley family, who normally go to Wythenshawe Park, but that parkrun was cancelled today because of the waterlogged ground.
Alexandra parkrun may cancel when it's frosty, but the tarmac surfaces mean that a drop of rain  just gives rise to a few puddles, as pictured below.
Owen's needs are such that he loves parkrun, but requires a buddy to accompany him. I did this today, and we finished in a satisfactory 35 minutes or so. Rather slower than my usual pace, but just about the pace I need to maintain for over 26 miles in a few weeks' time. So good practice at running slowly!
Whilst Sue was setting her fastest time this year, and coming home first in her age category for the sixth consecutive week, Owen was loving running through the long avenue of sunlit trees.
We had to wait for a while to get our post-run coffees, whilst a dance group performed on the other side of a partition, but it was good to see that the café has changed its Saturday opening time (it was 10.00 when we were last here) to accommodate a 9.30 influx of thirsty runners; and a jolly time was had by all.
Full results are here.