18 November 2016

Late November garden and plot

Bright sunshine first thing today with signs of a slushy fall of snow last night.
My shrub planting in the back garden over the last couple of years has certainly added to the Autumn colours.




Over at the plot there's still quite a lot of veg to be had with the winter brassica now coming into season.At the moment it's sprouts and kale ,with white and purple broccoli to follow later on. I've been tidying up the beds one by one and have also added some more "no walk ,less dig" beds on the top half of the plot.As with the others which I added last year, the path widths are kept to an absolute minimum in order to have as much growing space as possible.I can just stand sideways between them in my welly boots to work the beds without trampling the ground.
My clay rich soil hates being walked on or dug too much ,and loosening it up gives me the chance to grow some decent root crops.Has certainly helped with the leeks and parsnips that I'm cropping at the moment ,and with the onions and carrots earlier on.Crop rotation planning is also easier.

Looking down the plot
New beds
Asparagus bed manured then top dressed with the spent compost from my cucumber grow bag.
Gooseberry autumn colour bonus
Looking up the plot
PSB,Cavolo Nero and Red Ursa Kale
Musselburgh leeks and Panorama parsnips
More PSB

23 October 2016

Mallorca walks October 2016

Written up in November weather.
Another October trip to Mallorca ,this time staying in Palma, then Puerto de Pollenca on the north east coast, and Banyalbufar on the north west coast.Virtually all the walks covered new ground for me.

Here's the link to the photo album https://goo.gl/photos/PxqPNT3sKLSTCKxUA

Some Na Burguesa geocaches
An early flight from Liverpool meant that I could drop stuff of at the hotel (from my usual small rucksack),then catch a local bus to head off on an afternoon walk in the Na Burguesa foothills on the western fringes of Palma. I'd done some nearby geocaches a couple of years ago but this walk took me into a hidden valley and I managed to find my way round a maze of obscure paths by using the GPS based map to track my route. This set the tone for most of my other walks as I found that most of the paths on the ground showed up on the gps whereas they didn't always feature in my guidebook or on the paper map.


El valle del silencio
View over Palma

Alaro ,Orient, Santa Maria
A short train ride to Consell station on the wide plains east from Palma and then the connecting local bus to Alaro one of many pictureque inland villages on the island.From there I followed the old camino north over the Pas de s'Escaleta to Orient and then headed back south through the Coanegra ravine and minor roads to Santa Maria which was bussling in the early evening ,then the train back to Palma.
















 
Coastal trail south from Sant Elm
L102/100 buses to Sant Elm on the west coast for another walk/challenge based on a series of geocaches.The idea here was to pick up missing co-ordinate info to be able to find the main cache site.Without the intermediate caches and waypoints it would have been difficult to navigate some of the ground. There is still a second part of the coastal trail that I can do in the future,marked with the odd red dot above the high cliffs round to Port de Andratz.
Bus back to Andratz and to the Port for an excellent meal before getting back to Palma fairly late on.Temperatures still high enough to sit outside comfortably for an evening meal or drink.


Andratz
Sant Elm beach
 

 



 
Valldemossa west along the GR 221 to Cisterna de Son Ferrandell and back
An out and back route through wooded hills west of Valldemossa to some "water houses",with less walkers than the overused Archduke's path to the east which is now restricted in parts for Vulture conservation.
As in other places along the GR221 part of the route is in dispute, with the local council having to take the landowner to court.The section I walked had substantial boundary gates yet these could all be opened for access.One small barrier wall with rock steps and the characteristic pulled down fence!
I think there's a higher obstructing wall further along towards Esporles but walkers coming from there seem to take it in their stride.







Beware of small goats





Arrived back in Valldemossa late afternoon and decided to catch the bus round to Puerto de Soller for yet more fish before going back to Palma on a mid evening bus.








Dorada

Mercado del Olivar,Palma and over to Puerto de Pollenca ,with an afternoon walk in the Boquer Valley
Moving over to the east side of the island today so I had a local's breakfast and a look round the market before catching the bus ,and then a short walk in the Boquer Valley after dropping my stuff off at the hotel.
At the market I managed to buy some 2 euro good value for money packets of seeds for the allotment.The last similar packet of chard seeds lasted for about four years!








 





Coast near Cala Rajada
Caught the morning bus to Cala Rajada,Hardly any passengers at first ,then lots getting on at Platja de Muro and Can Picafort mainly bound for Arta.
Cala Rajada is rather a sprawling place but has a nice port area and some attractive bays.Walked north and picked up a great geocache at the tip of Punta des Gullo. Seemed to find the most difficult route up to the Telegrafo hill and down to Cala Mesquida before heading back inland through woods to Cala Rajada.A very German resort but some good weissbier.Quite a warm day.






Looking inland from the tip of the Punta





Alcudia and Aucanada Peninsula
Decided to have a relaxed Sunday start by catching the bus to Alcudia for a look round before going on my walk.Crowds there as it was market day.I'd hoped to catch a local bus midday bus to Mal Pas to avoid the initial road walk but missed it.Turned out that they move the stop on market day when the street is full of special buses from Palma etc.
The walk to Mal Pas and beyond didn't actually take too long and I then headed onto the hillside paths of the Victoria Park.The route took me past Ermita de la Victoria and through the needle eye of an old watchtower before the climb up to the top of Penya Rotja with it's cannon.
Same way back with a refreshment stop at the Ermita and another one at Mal Pas before getting the late afternoon bus back via Alcudia.





















Caimari ,Puig de n'Ali,Col de so Lina,Lluc
Puig de n'Ali - a Mallorcan "Munro" 1038 m
Probably the best day's walk of the trip.Based on Charles Davies "Mallorca Walks!" guide and helped by the geoacaching waypoints leading to and from the summit cache.
Buses to Inca then Caimari and an easy start to the walk up the Es Horta valley.Once the clear track ends it's then a matter of following bits of path ziggzagging up the very sharp limestone pavements until you reach a boundary wall on the north edge of the summit ridge.Then a much easier scrabble to the top than suggested in the guide.Did it in quick time.Glorious views over the mountains.
Originally I'd planned to return the same way a catch a not very good combination of buses back to P de P where I would have arrived at around 9 pm. But the clear cairn marking the way on the north side to Col de so Lina made me decide to head down the shorter way to Lluc where I reckoned that I'd be in time to catch the direct bus along the north coast to P de P.
Only draw back was that I knew I'd have to pay the 6 euro charge to go through the Comafreda farm.A bit of a liberty as the main valley path is clearly an old camino used by generations of Mallorcans.Had a friendly chat with the guard who was only doing his job.
Had time for a beer at the Col de sa Batalia bar before walking down into Lluc in plenty of time for the bus from Soller.I actually managed to catch an early bus which comes up from Sa Calobra which arrived back at P de P just after 5pm. 
















 


Porto Cristo, Palma and Banyalbufar
A day off from walking ,taking the morning bus to Porto Cristo on the south east "Calas" coast for a look round.Sardines for lunch.Got a bit too relaxed and missed my intended connection to Palma which meant a later arrival than expected at Banyalbufar where I was to stay for the last few days of my trip.

Porto Cristo
 





Puig de sa Mola/La Mola de Planicia
Found this route from a locals website Viaranys
Another obscure Mallorcan "Munro" 942 m where you avoid the crowds. The blog has them climbing the steep south side with some awkward looking route finding through the lower woods so I took the more straightforward track which winds up round mountain to reach the top.On my way back down I went round to the GR221 path and followed this back to Banyalbufar. This passes through the Es Rafal estate which was another section of the Dry Stonewall Route blocked off by the landowner for a time before the Council took the case to court. Now lots of signs telling you to be quiet near rich people's houses.




















Banyalbufar





Stayed in the the annexe of what is a fairly plush old style hotel



Footnote - reassuring to read on one of the walkers websites that it's intended to way mark the mountain path on the Mola. But I guess that in true Mallorcan style the landowner will then try to close them down and another court battle will enschew.

Esporles down to Port des Canonge and west above the coast to Banyalbufar
Bus to Esporles for a wet start to the walk.Part way down the series of tracks towards the coast a local landowner has tried to block the route at Mirant de Mar ,despite the official way markers, but the offending wall and fence have gradually been worn down.











After Peppers Pardron ans whitebait for lunch the route follows an old coastal trail high above the but below some towering rock faces.
At the Banyalbufar end I followed the fainter zig zag path downwards and found the old port and modern concrete beach before heading up the steep hill to the village.



















View from my balcony



GR221 Banyalbufar to Estellencs
My flight home today wasn't until late evening so I had time to walk this section of the path before heading back to Palma Retraced my steps of a couple of days ago through Es Rafal ,where the old path then continues on it's contour high above the coastline with great views of Galatzo and S'Esclop.Nearing Estellencs the route crosses over the main road to make it's way up to the villge through some orchards and plots.Had a walk down to the harbour before going back up in loop to village for late lunch and then the bus to Palma.