Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Saturday 18 June 2022

November 2004 - The Annapurna Circuit - Day 9

Tuesday 9 November
A Day Off In Manang
Itinerary: DAY 9 Manang A day to explore and acclimatise in Manang, which lies at the foot of the northern side of the Annapurna range. People and culture here are of Tibetan origin. The rain shadow caused by the Himalayan range deprives the valley of rain and as a result life here is harsh. The view of the Annapurna range from here is incredible with Annapurna II, Annapurna IV, Annapurna III, Gangapurna and Tilicho Peak forming a massive chain. There is the opportunity to hike to the glacial lake formed by the water of Gangapurna and Annapurna III. 

[Diarist: Martin]
After a cool night - it was 0C in the tent - warm sleeping bags were needed - we were allowed a lie in until 7 am. Outside, the sun was shining on Annapurna III and Gangapurna, and the Gangapurna glacier - huge across the valley. 

By breakfast at 8 am it was reasonably warm, though gloves were still handy. Porridge was followed by chapattis and vegetable omelette. 

My diarrhoea which started yesterday has not been cured by a ciprofloxacin tablet taken yesterday, so I take another. Sue and I continue with Diamox for acclimatisation purposes and have no significant side effects except lots of tingling ends of fingers when plunged into hot washing water.

View from Manang camp

After breakfast, water for washing clothes is provided and we spend a pleasant hour in the sun on this activity. Mark and Lindy, equipped with a freshly purchased scrubbing brush, manage to take longer than the rest of us in their bid for total cleanliness.

Wash day at Manang

A goat tries to eat our rubbish and is shooed off, a tea bag label dangling from its mouth. A man digs a drainage trench, sending a cloud of dust over freshly washed clothes hanging from the line above. Andrew proudly empties his newly acquired pee bottle that he has managed to fill during the course of the night. Mary and I have both suffered nosebleeds, which Sanjeev says are common at altitude. 

By 10.10 the shower is ready. Andrew is the first to go. It is very pleasant sitting here on the dusty campsite. The wind has not yet risen, and all is calm. Those continuing their journeys have left, those here for an acclimatisation day are chilling like us. Showering was taken in turn in a concrete cell. We were told which knob to turn if it became too hot. It didn't! It was pretty cool actually, but a shower is a shower, and it was welcome. 

Then from 10:30 until 1 pm, time to ourselves. Sue went up a path to the north east, for a bit of acclimatization height gain, and spectacular views across the valley as far as Annapurna 1. I stayed in the tent, sealed from the dust, reading about 'The Life and Times of Michael K' by J M Coetze. It got hot.

Manang High Street

View to camp from Sue's walk above Manang, with Gangapurna

View to Tilicho Peak and AP1

Gangapurna, 7454 metres

View from Sue's walk above Manang

We all reconvened for lunch, the other four having wandered in various directions, and were served with club sandwiches, fried potato slices, fried luncheon meat, vegetable rissoles, and coleslaw. Excellent. 

Then we all went on an acclimatization walk, first down to the glacial lake at the foot of the Gangapurna glacier, then up to a viewpoint at about 3760 metres, high above Manang, with views back to Manaslu and on to the route ahead. It was a steep climb but we managed the 200+ metres in 25 (Mark) to 35 (Andrew) minutes, compared with the signposted time of one hour.

Manang, from the walk to the glacier

Views from glacier walk

Hosta and Manesh were with us, as well as Sanjeev. The top of the path had hard packed snow or ice under a layer of dust. Care was needed on the descent. We did this after wandering across to a viewpoint over the glacier. More good views, but we were now in the shade and it was cool. So a rapid retreat to camp by 4 pm, followed by tea and biscuits and popcorn at 4:30. 

Manang, from the glacier

Can you spot the tents?

Glacial moraine on the descent

The wind, which had started at lunchtime, dropped now and it was quite cosy in our tent. Dinner is at 6:30 so all except Mark and I have adjourned to sleeping bags to warm themselves in preparation for another evening in the mess tent. A second cipro pill seems to have abated my diarrhoea, and Sue and I have now taken our last Diamox tablets. Hopefully we will continue to acclimatize. 

The washing was dry by the time lunch was over, so that operation was successful. Now, at 5:45, I will also try to get hot in my sleeping bag for a while... 

Dinner was vegetable soup and prawn crackers, then yak burgers, crispy spring rolls, macaroni cheese and cauliflower. Coconut cake for pudding, decorated with bright green icing and red cherries. Short Uno with four of us, and bed at 8:30. 

Today's Statistics:
Ascent and descent: 225 metres
Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

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Friday 17 June 2022

Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 June 2005 - Northern Ireland

Giant's Causeway Trip 

This entry follows on from the 'Two Peaks' trip on which I reported here. I got home from that trip at 9pm on 17 June... 

The entry, which arises from my steady progress in 'processing' thousands of digital images that were  downloaded and abandoned in the early 2000s, may be of little interest to most readers other than Sue, who also recalls meeting, at Manchester Airport, one of the other delegates to a conference she was attending. Ann was seeing someone off, oblivious to the fact that she should have been seeing herself off, until a 'What are you doing here?' moment with Sue! 

Saturday 18 June 2005

Another 5:30 am start. I drove to Manchester airport for the 7 am flight to Belfast City. (£24 for short term parking.) It left at 8:15, so by the time I had sorted a hire car at Belfast after the Dart 8 flight it was well after 10 am. [£105 from Hertz - extortionate. Flight was with BA - £84, whereas EasyJet from Liverpool would be ~ £20!]

Drove to Coleraine University, starting slowly by going the wrong way all around the ring road, to meet Sue at 12:00 - rendezvoused with difficulty after discovering my mobile phone had been left behind and I didn't have Sue's number!

Anyway, we collected some butties and went to Portrush Tourist Information to book a B&B and restaurant for the evening.

Then off to Giant's Causeway, where after noshing our lunch we enjoyed the rock sceneries known as The Camel, The Granny, The Wishing Chair, The Chimney Tops, The Giants Boot and The Organ. 

Click on any image to access a slideshow

The Wishing Chair

Lots of tourists here, but quite a big site, and enjoyable to visit. The hexagonal blocks are quite amazing. Lots of legends, but not time or space to relate them in this entry.

Lots of birds as well, notably Fulmars, and Black Guillemots - distinctive with their red feet.

The Organ

Wild Thyme

The Granny

The Camel (somewhere in the distance!)

After the enjoyable stroll we adjourned to the tea room before heading a few miles down the coast to Carrick-a-Rede, where we enjoyed the 1 km stroll to a rope bridge - exciting for some, but tame compared with its Himalayan equivalent.

Beyond that, birds were nesting close to us on the cliffs. Very smelly here, but a good place to be.

We returned the same way.

We returned to our excellent B&B - Hillrise, 24 Dhu Varren, Portrush (£54 total), quickly bathed then strolled 10 minutes up the road to Snappers Wine Bar and Seafood Restaurant - recommended by Sue's colleagues.

After an attentive start, the wine took some time to arrive and was not quite cool enough. After a long break, the main courses came and went. Then after a short period the starter arrived - a delicious combo for the two of us - then shortly after that the main courses (scallops for me, chicken for Sue) arrived again. Tasty. Then we shared a waffly pudding after another long break. No decaff here so Sue went without and I enjoyed a cappucino, before we eventually adjourned for an early night. After all the problems, at least the dessert and coffee came free, and the food was very good. The restaurant had been sold to some Italians and was in turmoil.... 

Sunday 19 June 2005

After a good breakfast and a misty start we had a nice beach walk at Portrush (east, below the golf course). Superb sand and huge tunes above us.

Then we sauntered down the Antrim coast in the hired Fiesta, stopping at Cushendun (caves, etc) for a much needed coffee and a visit to the local wood carver Martin O Kane - to whom we gave good custom.

There was a statue of a goat here.

On down to Cushendall for lunch by a noisy road (lots of bikes) before continuing south to Carnfunnock Country Park to spend a pleasant 1½ hours. Walled garden, maze, woodland walk - in lovely weather.

The Ice House at Carnfunnock

Then back to Belfast to return from this short interlude - plane delayed by 2 hours due to storms at Manchester, on the day of flash flooding in North Yorkshire (Helmsley).

Favourite drink in Ireland seems to be Bulmers cider and ice!

Thursday 16 June 2022

Wednesday 15 June 2022 - Werneth Low with SWOG

It was a pleasure last night to join a group of 24 folk from Stockport Walking and Outdoor Group (SWOG) for a short walk around Werneth Low.

We started from Booth's Well, on Wych Fold. An information plaque explains how this water trough originated in 1821 and was renovated as part of the millenium celebrations in 2000.

A short climb leads to the war memorial, in a splendid position with panoramic views to Manchester and the South Pennines, as well as to the nearby towns on the edge of the Peak District, and indeed - deep into the Peak District.

After a while, we wandered off along the Tameside Trail path towards Idle Hill.

Turning right along the route of the Cown Edge Way path, we crossed some well mown fairways of Werneth Low Golf Club before doubling back towards the memorial, beyond which the towns of north Manchester and the hills of the South Pennines lingered in the haze of the summery weather.

Turning south west, our path then led past the Hare and Hounds pub, overlooking a view to Manchester's skyscrapers and doing a roaring trade in the fine weather, before taking pleasant paths down to West Park.

The posh folk of Gee Cross apparently select West Park as their road of choice. They certainly get a good view of the sunset at this time of year.

We were back outside the Grapes by 9:15, after this lovely walk, led as usual by Les, who just about managed to keep everyone in order. Thanks, Les.

Here's the route - I made it a little over 6km, with 175 metres ascent.

We've done a similar walk before with SWOG - on 3 July 2019, and 'Werneth Low' has been visited on other occasions as well.