Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Friday 24 June 2022

Friday = Isabella Day (11)

"When I grow up I want to be a train driver."

"Banana and yoghurt... my favourite."

"Grandma, show me again how to fasten these clips."

"I like Walton Park."

"Playing with water in Grandma's garden... now that really is Fun!"

Thursday 23 June 2022

November 2004 - The Annapurna Circuit - Day 11

Thursday 11 November
Yak Kharka to Thorung Phedi

Itinerary: DAY 11 Thorung Phedi (4,420m) We continue to move north passing through Leder (4,176m) on this treeless alpine valley. Crossing Jhargeng Khola to its west bank we walk over loose scree on the steep-sided valley to Thorung Phedi in time for lunch. The afternoon is spent relaxing and saving energy for tomorrow's climb. (3 - 4 hours walk). 

[Diarist: Martin]
Oh dear. Today we find that George Bush has beaten John Kerry to the US President's position. 

Usual 6 am tea from Sagar, shortly followed by hot water, packing up, and a stroll to the tea house where we are served breakfast at 7 am. Porridge, always topped with muesli, and doused with honey in many of our cases, followed by a bread muffin and a fried egg. It made a nice sandwich. 

We got away at 7:45, on our own for a change. Another beautiful day, but we have turned a corner from Manang so the sun doesn't light our path until nearly 8:30. By then we have reached 4200 metres and have a short break to re-group. Nabrash is worried about being told off for going too fast - we must let the kitchen to catch up, and washing up is a hard slow process at this altitude due to the low temperatures.

I'm wearing thicker gloves and my hands warm up fairly quickly, but my feet, whilst not really cold, do not feel comfortably warm until 9 am. The problem is we can't walk fast as we get out of breath. Sue and I did have a walking race along a flat section to the 4200m break - that and a bit of jogging on the spot did help us to warm up. 

At 9:30 we had an hour's break for the leading group - Andrew came in 25 minutes behind the first to arrive, at an outdoor tea shop with a resident goat that expected food from everyone. It was a fat goat. Noisy Spanish, then the familiar French, arrive. 4390 metres, 13C, 597 millibars. Lovely views in all directions. Lots of naks seen on the way, many with young.

Approaching the tea stop on the ascent to Phedi, with Annapurna 111 and Gangapurna

The tea shop was just a brick shelter relocated to this point quite recently when the main route was changed to this western side of the valley. A new bridge had been built this year (2061 in Nepal). Another half hour, spent chatting to Mark about work related topics, on the heels of Nabrash, took us to Thorong Phedi - 4500 metres according to my altimeter, but 4430 metres according to Kev Reynolds' book. Some adjustments may be needed, but the statistics for today are:

Start: 4030 metres
Ascent: 485 metres
Descent: -15 metres
Finish: 4500 metres
Time: 3.5 hours
Stops: 1.0 hours
Walking time: 2.5 hours 

The fat goat


The route ahead to Thorung Phedi

High camp at Thorung Phedi

And so, by 11 am we were at 'base camp' for our attempt at the crux of the trek - the Thorong La pass - 5415 metres. We were soon shown to our nearby tents, where we vegged, reading and preparing gear for tomorrow. Then we adjourned for lunch in the porters' dining area at the Thorong Phedi Hotel - quite a smart place. Trekkers staying at the hotel have their own posh area, but our quarters are better than the mess tent. 

There is hydro power here, and a TV blasted Nepalese pop music, then an Indian film, from the corner of the large room. Our porters sat glued to the action, including Sherpa Hosta. The porters eat rice and potatoes in large quantities, with their fingers mostly, whilst we enjoy fried frankfurter type sausages, potatoes, coleslaw and bread, followed by tinned peaches and lemon tea.

Sanjeev sets out tomorrow's timetable - tea at 4:30 am, breakfast at 5:00, leave 5:30 (no washing water) This sounds fine. And so by after 1 pm, we are well fed and adjourn for another spell of rest in the tents. Hot water for our last wash before Muktinath soon arrives, so we chill out, clean, whilst the sun warms the tents. 

The only 'cloud on the horizon' is some high cloud to the south that could herald a weather front. We hope the brilliant weather will last another day though. 

Here the pressure is 587 mb - quite low.

Camp kitchen

The day ends early after another good meal in the porters' dining room, with a film on in the background. The meal was at 6 pm, bed at 7:30, ready for the hard day ahead. A game of Uno had passed the time before dinner.

The view ahead, from high camp

Wednesday 22 June 2022

Tuesday 21 June 2022 - Mid-summer in Timperley

De Quincey Park, Timperley, on a lovely summer's morning. And that's it for today, midsummer celebrations having missed a walk this year, in favour of a visit to Dot's (selfie courtesy of Kate) in Kate's nice new car,

and dinner with Richard and Jenny after Prosecco in our garden...

It's great to hear the swifts overhead from time to time. Despite abandoning our eaves as a nesting place several years ago, there does still seem to be a Timperley enclave of swifts, albeit much reduced in size.

Enjoy the sunshine!

Tuesday 21 June 2022

18 to 20 June 2022 - Sue Goes on Holiday

You could ask "Why go on holiday when the above scene is just a five minute walk from home?"

Nevertheless, Sue went on holiday to a spa somewhere 'abroad'. 

Friday didn't = Isabella Day this week, as Issy is on holiday herself, and evidently enjoying the experience.

Sue then had an appointment at Wythenshawe parkrun, where she had promised to be Owen's buddy for the 5km run on Saturday morning.

295 participants assembled in the start field.

Sue  and Owen made it round in 39:30, half a minute slower than I made it round with him two weeks ago. It was warm on both occasions. Full results are here.

Sue's holiday resumed with a trip to Japan...

Meanwhile, Mike and I attempted a selfie after our Sunday morning exercise back at Wythenshawe.

Mike and I are exactly the same age, and we run at the same pace (he used to be much quicker) and we both support the Sunday morning community run, which makes for a good start to the day.

Here's the flier that we've been asked to circulate. Try clicking on the image.

Meanwhile, Sue resumed her holiday.

She went for a wild swim.

Perhaps pilchard sandwiches were not such a good idea!

My non-holiday at home continued with a 1977 project (scanning slide photos from that year - quite an eye-opener, watch this space), a walk along the towpath to the shops, and a good deed regarding a handbag found in the middle of our road! The owner had driven off in her convertible with said item on the boot, which it had abandoned at the first corner... Neighbours congregated whilst the owner was found, and everyone had their own tales of similar mishaps.

Then Sue returned from holiday and we enjoyed an evening at Eagley Jazz Club with the Canal Street Stompers, featuring Derek Galloway (trombone), Roy Freeman (trumpet), Colin Bostock (Reeds), Charlie Bentley (banjo), Brian Woods (Drums), Dave Parr (double bass).

... and two umbrellas rescued from Geoff (RIP) Gilpin's loft!

The Canal Street Stompers can be found on the last Wednesday of the month at the Railway Inn, Sale. We must pop along sometime.

Monday 20 June 2022

November 2004 - The Annapurna Circuit - Day 10

Wednesday 10 November
Manang to Yak Kharka
Itinerary: DAY 10 Yak Kharka (4,090m) Continuing west we move to Tengi (3,642m). From here we branch away from the Marsyangdi Valley and go towards the north following a trail above the east bank of the Jhargeng Khola to Yak Kharka. The surrounding area is used for grazing yaks. There are also chances of seeing herds of "blue sheep". In the afternoon we will go for an excursion in search of wildlife. (3 - 4 hours walk). 

[Diarist: Sue]
On the trail again, so up at 6 am. Away from Manang after porridge, toast and omelette. It was cool in the shade of the buildings. Looking back, Manang sat on a promontory, flags flapping and smoke rising from chimneys, giving the valley a hazy appearance. 

Looking back to Manang

The river snakes across the bottom of the valley, a silver ribbon. Yet again the sky is cloudless. Soon, a large white chorten adorned with flags signifies the entrance to the village of Tengi. The path climbs steadily but gently today. We cross frozen streams. There are no trees now, just scrub.

The view ahead to Annapurna 1

Andrew on the trail

There is a stream of people on the trail, some of whom are carrying large packs. Today we left the Marsyangdi, which headed up-valley to our left. We took the right fork. Behind, the views of Annapurna III and Gangapurna dominated. 

Our lemon tea stop was at the settlement of Gunsang. Just before this, we watched 4-5 partridge-like birds, pecking in the dust. The terrace enjoyed a panoramic view of Annapurna III and Gangapurna, seeming only a short distance away. Here, Martin's gloves did a disappearing act, only to reappear after a thorough search, under his hat!

Lemon tea at Marsyangdi Hotel, with Gangapurna

The valley is steep, but the path is 'Nepalese level' after tea. Chulu West is seen on our right, as we pass another long mani wall. 

Mani wall and Chulu West

This area has blue sheep, which are neither blue nor sheep, and we may have seen some on a ridge above us. Probably not, they are uncommon and shy. At the same time, two lammergeiers flew above.

The path ahead

Our half day walk ends at Yak Kharka, another settlement which is abandoned at the start of winter, possibly for the last permanent village, Manang. It comprises a couple of tea houses. Despite a thermometer reading of 20C and sunshine, there is considerable wind chill and down jackets are required as we sit around, while tents are pitched and lunch is prepared. We want to assist, but know it would embarrass the sherpas. There are 29 people looking after the 6 of us, including 19 porters. This camp is at 4030 metres.


Sherpas at Kharka

A view from Kharka

We eat lunch inside a wooden building. It appears to have 'double glazing', ie two sets of windows about a foot apart, but for most there is only glass in the outer ones! It is warmer inside the sunlit tents where we have some chill out time from 1:30 to 2:30. 

An acclimatisation walk followed. A steep slope rose directly behind the camp in a dusty zigzag. It wasn't long before our tents were in the shadow of the mountain across the river, but we remained in sun until the descent. A slow plod was all we could manage, breathing heavily. 

A bird of prey (lammergeier) flew just below us, pretty close, gliding on the wind. Yaks were seen on the hillside, their shapes unmistakable. We reached a height of 4500 metres. From here, Annapurna I, one of the 8000 metre peaks, was visible. A few blue sheep could be seen through binoculars, including one with magnificent horns. We ate Mary's ginger, chocolate coated, sweets, then headed down through the dust and scrub. 

Arrived back in camp at 4:30, to find naks (female yaks) grazing near the tents. Washing water arrived at 5:00 and tea was served at 5:30, inside the dining room of the teahouse again. Lindy, Mark, Martin and I played rummy, whilst the others read. Dinner was at 7:00 - mushroom soup, then yak meat, noodles, vegetable fritters, and 'special potatoes' - mashed potato with tuna, cheese and herbs on top. Custard crumble cake for pudding. The table was really well lit with the gas fired Tilley lamp. 

When our hot water bottles arrive soon after 8 pm, it is the cue for everyone to head for bed. 

Today's Stats:
Start: 3550 metres
Ascent: 490 metres +pm 445 metres
Descent: -10 metres +pm -445 metres
Finish: 4030 metres
Time: 4.0 hours +pm 2 hours
Stops: 0.5 hours +pm 0.5 hours
Walking time: 3.5 hours +pm 1.5 hours

Sunday 19 June 2022

Wednesday 22 June 2005 - Whitbarrow and Lord's Seat

Back in 'The Day', I used to organise midsummer evening walks, usually in the Lake District, to places like Helvellyn and Coniston Old Man. Then we moved these outings to the South Lakes, of which this Whitbarrow walk is a fine example, then the tradition lapsed.

Here's my 2005 diary entry for that year's walk. And wasn't it fun!...

Whitbarrow East and Lords Seat 

This is a repeat of last year's 16th of June walk with Richard and Jenny. This time they were on holiday but Andrew joined us for a lovely warm summer's evening,

After a horrible day at work for Sue, we left home at 5:40 and got to Raven's Lodge by 7 pm. Retraced slightly to a sunny place for a picnic - avocado and prawns, pate and blue brie butties, then strawberries and cream. Somewhat better than the poor fare Andrew got at the nearby pub.

Andrew's GPS was tested and worked fine - 11 stages on this route. (He had been on a course last weekend.)

We set off at 7:35 along the warm, shady path through the woods. No woodpeckers today, but lots of GPS.

Many large orchids in the woods leading up to Lords Seat, to which we emerged in bright sunshine. A runner sprinted up and down to the large cairn, training for fell running, whilst Sue sat on the top and we all enjoyed a beer and a brownie. 

Then we continued along the crest, with views to the Coniston hills, towards the other end of the hill, where we observed a nice but bland sunset.

Then a pleasant walk, still in shorts, back to the cars, reached at 10:10 pm.

Here's the route - about 9km with 250 metres ascent.