Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018
Showing posts with label Mallorca 2015. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mallorca 2015. Show all posts

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Mallorca – Index and Slideshows


We’ve had a few trips to Mallorca, so here’s an attempt to summarise them and provide links. ‘BR’ = bike ride.

There are still two slideshows and one entire trip to add to this catalogue, which is principally for the benefit of those who came along with us, but at least this year’s entries are up to date!



Saturday 4 April 2015 - Cuculla de Fartàritx (711 metres)

Slideshow to follow


Slideshow to follow



3 to 11 November – a week based in Puerto Soller - as at July 2016 the record is non digital, and photos have not been indexed…

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Friday 3 April 2015 – Cases de Betlem and sa Talaia Freda


This is an entry from Sue. I’ve spent hours trying to post it from Nallo Lady, but have only succeeded in deleting her from the list of authors and I’ve been unable to re-invite her, so it looks as if her postings will have to be in my name for the time being…

A somewhat belated report on my walk but stimulated by a wish to share a stunning day in the hills of Majorca.  With Martin cycling with Robert and Lyn, I was free to select a grade A+ walk (defined in the guide book as a “strenuous walk, often pathless in places and on rough ground, with considerable route finding and/or some scrambling.  Normally only for experienced walkers. A+ and A++ are particularly difficult”).

After an hour’s journey dodging the multitudes of cyclists, I left the Panda at the Cases de Betlem parking area north of Arta to start the 10km circuit. I didn’t get far (perhaps just 200m!) before being distracted by orchids which I hadn’t seen before on the verges. Finally I was able to motor along the track pictured above until a right turn saw me climbing the hill.



Where the path ended, the scent of hay rose from the cropped grass and a small stream meandered down, fed by a spring and lined with Palm fans.


Here, the tap water was emptied out of my bottle to be replaced with spring water. The hill was covered in bright yellow gorse, in low, round clumps, and white-flowering asphodel. Small cairns led the way upwards, partly using a dry stream bed. It was rough and covered in vegetation – long trousers were definitely needed, despite the warmth. Higher up, the line up the cliffs wasn’t clear, but was confirmed by a cross, i.e. Not this way! My route was perhaps not the easiest I could have chosen, but a thrutch up the rock brought me out at a col at 330m, with Puig de sa Tudossa and its prominent masts to the left. As I climbed, seagulls squawked noisily above and I wondered if they were nesting in the cliffs. With the main difficulties over, I had a pathless but straightforward walk along the escarpment edge, with views across Alcudia bay.


Just before the trig point of sa Talaia Freda, 564m, more new orchids, just 3 inches high or so.  This species is still to be identified!


As I lunched at the trig point, a yellow swallowtail butterfly flitted around the summit rocks for a few minutes before flying off like a small bird, and a kite, with it's forked tail, also flew overhead. The view was fairly hazy to the south.
Just as a Spanish family arrived, I left the top, to descend steeply to reach some pinnacles and gain another small summit, with a cross and good views down to Betlem and the Alcudia bay. A wide stony path led down, and I was now meeting several groups of people.

The path brought me out at the font near Ermita de Betlem, where I watched a group of locals filling large containers from the spring. Just beyond here was a stand of bee orchids, quite overlooked by those passing by. The Ermita was peaceful, with white walls but a lovely painted ceiling, and a grotto with stalactites hanging from the limestone above behind the alter held the nativity scene.


Another 45 minutes or so downhill brought me back to the start where the car thermometer read 22C.

After an evening meal in the main square in Pollenca, we joined hundreds of spectators lining the 365 Calvari steps, for a torchlit procession in which the body of Jesus is brought down. A slow rhythm was beaten by drums which gave it solemnity.


The hush during the procession was palpable. Both adults and children participate, dressed in robes, a different colour for each church taking part. It starts around 9pm and takes about one and a half hours for all the participants to file down the steps. 

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Wednesday 8 April 2015 - Puig Tomir (1103 metres)

Whilst Robert and Lyn drove off somewhere to base themselves for a bike ride to and from sumptuous café and lunch breaks, Sue and I drove up to the small car park, Es Pixarells, at kilometre 17 on the Pollença to Lluc road.

A 10.20 start found us walking under a blue sky along the main road to km 17.4, before heading up a quiet tarmac lane past Menut to Binifaldó.

From here we enjoyed a classic five and a half hour circuit over Puig Tomir in perfect weather. A brilliant way to conclude our short trip to Mallorca. Sue is pictured (top) on the summit.

Our route is well described in Paddy Dillon's Cicerone guide - route number 21.

Highlights of the day include:
  • numerous frolicking goats 
  • an entertaining ascent of a rock band aided by wires and stemples 
  • masses of bright blue rosemary on the ascent 
  • eagles and other birds of prey soaring near the summit 
  • good access - not always the case in Mallorca - though some of the ladder stiles (see middle picture) were not for sufferers of vertigo
  • a huge green grasshopper 
  • fabulous summit views, especially to the Formentor peninsula and across the sea to Menorca 
  • I spotted a couple of small orchids, one of which was a very small and very pretty new one for us - more on this in due course
  • several lime kilns near Binifaldó 
  • a huge snow pit below the summit - it must have been a good eight metres deep, with accompanying corrals for mules
  • brilliant wilderness paths that were once mule tracks
  • afternoon tea in an olive grove on a thin path with two mules (pictured - bottom)
We saw a few folk, including a dozen or so German women on the summit, but a lot of the time it felt like just us in the wilderness.

The total walk was 17 km in six and a half hours, including ascent of around 700 metres. An excellent excursion. Highly recommended.

Later - a most enjoyable final evening with Robert and Lyn in the apartment.

That's it from Mallorca for now. I'll try to produce a slideshow when time permits.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Tuesday 7 April 2015 - Sa Gubia (609 metres) and Pas de sa Fesa

Yesterday Sue went up Mola, a small hill near Cala de Sant Vicente. Her report on that and a small extension to the walk described in Paddy's guide book will follow.

Today we planned to walk up Es Teix and wander along Archduke Lluís Salvador's 19th century pathways. But the high peaks were in cloud, on a drafty day. So we chose Paddy Dillon's route number 37 instead. 

As it turned out, the original plan would have been fine, but the alternative was also a good choice, with excellent views from the summit, where I took today's pictures.

Coffee at our parking spot at Ca'n Penasso would have been a nice way to start, but the restaurant has had its day and needs pulling down.

Two types of spurge accompanied us up the gently graded switchback track past two sheep shelters, one with a deep well. There were more shelters near the summit.

Birds of prey circled above, one, a brightly coloured kite, coming low above our heads.

Three people followed us up the path, but it was a different German couple who appeared on the summit as we were finishing our lunch. A chaffinch lurked expectantly. Seagulls floated on the breeze - we could see the sea in several directions.

We descended back to the track at a col where there's a plaque erected in 1958 in memory of Leandro Ximenis, a well-known Mallorquín mountaineer.

The route down took us through a deep cleft, eventually reaching two sets of locked gates that we skillfully negotiated before completing our 13 km circuit past hedgerows laden with wild garlic.

In fact, we avoided a kilometre along a main road by diverting to the main square in Bunyola. Coffee and coke at Café Ca S'espardenyer was a good way to complete the outing, especially as nearby Café Tramuntana didn't seem to notice us.

A major navigational error on the way home didn't detract from the day. Robert and Lyn returned from a good ride to join us for afternoon tea by the pool, then we adjourned to 'Stay' in Port de Pollença for a meal to celebrate Lyn and Sue's recent birthdays.

Another fine Balearic day...

Monday, 6 April 2015

Monday 6 April 2015 - Out With The Peleton

Today I discovered what it's like to ride with the Peleton. 

The bike rides with Robert and Lyn are very gentle. Some would regard them as meanders. Many large groups of club cyclists whizz past us from time to time.

Today, battling after 60 km against a light headwind, I was passed by a group in yellow uniforms. They gave me very little space, cutting in front of me. So I tried to follow them. Suddenly, instead of battling the breeze, I found myself freewheeling in order to avoid a bump with the person ahead. I was quite oblivious of the team cars with flashing blue lights that were behind me, with Robert pedalling like fury behind them. They are the only team cars we have seen.

So the old man in the M&S tracksuit joined the Peleton for a while. From this day on he will view with admiration the efforts of those who either break away from the Peleton or find themselves having to catch up with it.

This morning we left the apartment in cool sunshine, soon passing lovely blossom and fine views to the nearby mountains. Lyn and I sauntered whilst Robert returned to base for her windproof jacket. Mallorca is very 'green' just now, the summer heat and dryness not yet having arrived. It's excellent cycling and walking weather.

There were lots of cycling groups out today. We got mixed into one of them before pausing at the Saint Miquel chapel, where cakes were being brought out in anticipation of a profitable day.

A side road past a busy rat got us to coffee in the sunshine at Moscari, before leisurely continuing our gently undulating route to Biniamar, and a jovial bar after 35 km for a huge lunch (pictured). We finished it all and were rewarded with a discount. The sun beat down. It was glorious weather today.

The afternoon was spent completing an 80 km circuit back to Port de Pollença. It took us seven and a half hours, of which four and a half were in the saddle, which I'm happy to report has not resulted in anything worse for me than a cricked neck.

After the Peleton incident at 60 km we entered the Nature Park where lots of birds can be admired, including rare crested coots and many other species. My banana - the only food I carry on such trips - was enjoyed at the top of an observation tower.

Back roads then delivered us back to 'poolside' (pictured), in my case after Ambrosio had been returned intact to Bruce at Pro-Cycles.

Our route today, for the record, was:

Port de Pollença >  Saint Miquel chapel > Campanet > Moscari (coffee - Bar es Poulton) > Binibona > Calmari > Mancor de la Vall > Biniamar (lunch) > Lloseta > Inca > Sapobla > Parc Naturel de S'Albufera > Port de Pollença 

More details will be posted when the records from my Garmin gadget and my Canon camera have been downloaded.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Sunday 5 April 2015 - A Bike Ride to Coll d'Honor (550 metres)

Whilst Sue had a mini adventure on Puig Caragoler (report to follow in due course), I joined Robert and Lyn for a bike ride from Biniali.

We set off at 10.30 on the following 57 km circuit:

Biniali > Santa Maria > Bunyola > Coll d'Honor > Orient > Alaro > Santa Maria > Biniali, taking minor roads wherever possible.

Jumpy the van found his usual spot by the roundabout outside Biniali, from where we cycled casually past vineyards and flower meadows towards Santa Maria. A busy spot with heavy traffic. 

After a 'Robert's Ramble' in search of the correct exit from town, Robert and Lyn headed off in a third random direction. Unfortunately the traffic intervened and I had no idea where they had gone. Luckily it was sunny in the central square where I'd last seen them. Just as well as they'd gone 5 km up the unsigned road to Bunyola before realising I was missing!.

After some text messages, 45 minutes, and a futile attempt on my part to purchase a map, my two companions rather sheepishly reappeared and I finally escaped from the bustle of Santa Maria. That was an extra 10 km for Robert and Lyn, and a free coffee for me. The story will no doubt amuse Marcus.

Unfortunately, having passed some Little Egrets and ensconced ourselves outside a café in Bunyola, we were put off by the smoke and our apparent invisibility (Robert is a 6ft 8in dwarf) and moved on to commence the 40 minute climb to today's objective, Coll d'Honor. Apparently we passed an excellent cake shop on the way out of town - Robert noticed it was open but overlooked broadcasting the fact.

Anyway, there were good views back down to the town, and across to the nearby mountains.

A Blackcap narrowly dodged my spokes during the 350 metre ascent to the Coll. Once there, Robert kindly took today's photo of me and Lyn, with Hewie and Ambrosio in attendance.

A short descent saw us outside the restaurant at Orient, where I washed down their pasta bolognese with some cold San Miguel whilst the others washed down a sandwich and some salad with some cold coffee. Oh dear! especially as it had clouded over and cooled down, with Robert even alleging 'rain'.

It's a fast descent to Alaro, even with dangerously skinny tyres and a buffeting wind. Good fun though, especially with the added comfort of a windproof top and some warm legs.

Alaro was full of people, who we saw more than once as Robert once again wrestled with the geography of a Mallorcan town.

Eventually we found our way out and rode slowly back to Biniali, via Santa Maria, much less busy on the overcast afternoon, passing lots of swooping Hoopoes on the way.

I recorded 57 km in 3 hours 20 minutes cycling time, 6 and a half hours altogether. The others rode at least an extra 10 km, bless 'em!

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Saturday 4 April 2015 - Cuculla de Fartàritx - 711 metres

On another 'partly sunny' day I decided to give myself a rest from a rather firm saddle and join Sue for a 'hill day'.

This was walk 19 in Paddy Dillon's Cicerone guide, but we aren't convinced that he's done the whole walk.

Almonds and orange trees accompanied us on the track out of Pollença, from where the paths gradually diminished in width and ease of surface, finishing on a stone path that had clearly once been a good old mule track to the high farmhouse of Fartàritx Gran.

The local variety of cyclamen, with small white flowers, grows in this vicinity, but the rich crop of orchids that Sue found yesterday wasn't in evidence here - just a few interesting lilies to be identified when we return home.

There was cloud on our summit for a while, but it soon left in favour of the much higher top of Puig Tomir (1104 metres).

The section from Fartàritx Gran to the summit was the bit that Paddy may not have walked. His route description sent us to the right of the waymarked path. There's a spring above the farm at the edge of a wood, where we thought we were supposed to contour a little further. But the path now seems to ascend up above the farmhouse, rather than to its right. Anyway we climbed up to an imposing rock face and contoured left on animal tracks over rough ground, eventually reaching the waymarked path that led in easy zigzags through a rock band to the summit plateau. From there it was an easy 400 metre stroll to the summit cairn.

There were fine views in all directions, as intimated by today's picture. These, together with the arrival of a Scottish pair, resulted in an hour's sojourn at this scenic spot. Goats frolicked nearby as we chatted.

Eventually it was time to descend back to the rock band, after the descent of which we turned right and continued down to L'Assarell farm, from where a surfaced lane led past assorted species of lily back to Pollença. A bit tedious, this last bit, but apart from that, an excellent 18 km walk taking six and a half hours, including an hour for lunch and socialising on the summit with the only people we met all day outside Pollença. Back in town, ice creams were welcomed before we said goodbye to the goldfinch on guard at the car park - he had done a good job - the Panda still appears to be free from damage!

Friday, 3 April 2015

Friday 3 April 2015 - A Bike Ride to San Llorenç

Sue went up sa Talaia Fred and Puig de sa Creu today in lovely weather. Her report will follow in due course. 

Meanwhile, I went to Bruce's bike shop, supposedly to pick up a hybrid bike for a few days. I came away with Ambrosio, who has the thinnest tyres I've ever ridden on. Lyn and Robert have their own bikes, so we loaded all three into Jumpy the van and set off to Ariany.

There followed a 68 km bimble on the following route:

Ariany > Petra > Ma3330 > Bosch Valley > Sant Llorenç des Cardassar > Ma4022 > Ma4021 > Manacor > beside Ma15 > Ma3310 > Petra > Ariany.

It took 3 and a half hours moving time but about 5 and a half hours in total, reflecting the leisurely nature of the day.

There are lots of cyclists here, so riding on tarmac is much less stressful than in the UK, as drivers are more considerate.

Hawks hovered over a plethora of smaller birds, and regiments of telegraph pole trees sprouting pink flowers puzzled us as to their identity.

The pie shop in Sant Llorenç proved an excellent lunch venue, though the small town (pictured) proved less than easy to leave - we spent 8 km searching for our planned exit. My walks may include unexpected meanders; Robert's bike rides certainly include unrehearsed 'rambles'!

The evening was spent in a nice restaurant in Pollença, before we adjourned to watch a long Easter procession that seemed to me to feature numerous chapters of Klu Klux Klan, followed by Christ (a dwarf) on a byre, and a brass band. All slowly marching down Pollença's 400 Calvari steps over a period of 45 minutes.

Some photos were taken - I'll try to provide a better commentary in due course with the slide show. It was actually an important event, attended by thousands and with Balearic TV broadcasting live. So we may have been on local TV tonight, especially 6 ft 8 inch Robert.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Thursday 2 April 2015 - Port de Pollença

It doesn't seem four years since we were last here. It isn't four years since Robert and Lyn were last here; they have been coming to Xypres Apartments for the last eight years.

Luckily there is a spare room, and Sue and I were quick to jump at the opportunity to join them again for a week. It was good to leave Timperley's wind and rain and escape to weather that is reminiscent of an English heatwave.

Jet2 were ahead of schedule and our bag took no longer to appear than it took me to reach the head of the car hire queue. Bad news on the car front - how are we possibly going to keep a brand new black Fiat Panda free from the sort of wear and tear that could eat into our deposit. (We are insured, but could do without the hassle.)

We are now sitting by the burbling pool outside the apartment in easy chairs with glasses of wine. The aroma of pork tenderloin is drifting through the kitchen window.

Happy Days!

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