30 January 2015

New shoots - late January back garden

I'd expect snowdrops to be at their best in late January but was a bit surprised that aquilegia are already appearing above the ground too. The niger hellebore and lenten roses are putting on their usual fine display.Cutting out all of the non flowering stems at the turn of the year helps show off the new buds and also seems to give new seedlings room to develop.

17 January 2015

Maximus and Minimus

Just been over the plot to collect enough leeks and sprouts to have with roast chicken and potatoes this evening.
The variety of sprouts is Maximus ,which relates to the long harvesting period rather than size of individual sprouts.

They're from three seedlings given to me by Chris from the middle plot and have always looked healthy ever since I planted them out.

Brussels sprouts and January King in late June 2014

The leeks are an Italian winter variety which I'm calling "Minimus" as I didn't get them going soon enough and by the time of final planting out in late August were still not pencil size.However, they are sweet and delicious!

10 January 2015

La Gomera and Tenerife Nov - Dec 2014

On my previous visit to these two Canary Islands in 2012 I got to know La Gomera fairly well spending eleven days there ,before having a couple of days on Tenerife at the end in the capital Santa Cruz and Anaga mountains.This time I only had a week shared between the islands but still managed to cram in some good walks despite the unpromising weather at the beginning..
As you'll see from this local website the weather was fairly dire as I arrived!
The flight into Tenerife South airport was bumpy to say the least and I was lucky enough (?) to catch a delayed ferry across to La Gomera before they were cancelled for 24 hours.An awful crossing.

Fortunately the weather was true to the forecast and the next day by the time I started my first walk from near the top of the island the winds were dying out and the sun was trying to break through.Things continued to improve throughout the rest of the week and I was able to do all of my planned routes on La Gomera and the Anaga Peninsular north east of Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

I'm trialling Google's photo story of the trip which at the moment seems to be a bit temperamental opening up ,so I've also linked the Photo album as well.

Roque de San Pedro

Mallorca October 2014 Google+ Story version

Here's the link
to Story version spookily created by Google+
(Sometimes you'll need to hover half way up the rhs of the screen to find the navigation button)
Also see fuller post below.

8 January 2015

Mallorca October 2014

Have taken a break from the blog in the last couple of months what with holidays and other things. However a very wet and windy Wednesday in early January is a good time to catchup on the travelog and photos.

Here's a link to the photo album.

8th October
An early flight meant that I had most of the day available before I checked into my first accommodation in Palma so I made use of the fairly regular 102 bus service to Camp de Mar for a walk along the attractive coastline west of Peguera well beyond the fleshpots of Magaluf etc.
Exposed geocaching on the Devil's Punchbowl

9th October
On my first full day I took the 140 bus to Galilea,one of the most beautiful villages on the island,and after a detour to Na Boucana then followed paths to Puigpunyent and across the mountains to Estellencs above the north coast.I made quick time despite the heat and distance and then spent a while in the local bar taking on food and drink before getting the 200 bus back to Palma.
Galilea with Galatzo beyond

10th October
A bit of a blip after arriving off the 111 bus at Es Capdella when I found that the shutter on my camera had jammed solid and wasn't going to budge.So no photos of the trail up the lovely valley that runs north between S'Esclop and Galatzo over Coll de Sa Font d'es Quer and then down to Estellencs. Local knowledge from last year of a short cut near the end meant another early arrival at Estellencs and more eating and drinking at the same bar as yesterday before catching the bus back to Palma.
The shops stay open late on a Friday so I managed to get a good deal on a replacement camera and SD card which stores over 2000 high quality images!

11th October
My first try out with the new camera on a coastal walk from Cala Santanyi (501/503 bus from Palma) east to Cala Mondrago. Contrasting tourist hot spots and bathing coves with quieter stretches between.
Punta Bagasseta
Cala Figuera

It was another hot day with quite a few detours to find geocaches and ways around private stretches of coastline with not a very good map ,so I was pleased to discover a "summer service" bus 507 from Cala Mondrago that would get me the last couple of miles to Porto Petro to connect with Palma.

12th October
Caught the midday bus to Port de Soller where I based myself for the rest of the holiday.Apart from it being a nice relaxing place especially in the evening after the day visitors have left, there's also a very useful summer bus 354 which runs through the Tramuntana mountains to Lluc,Pollenca and beyond.As there is just the one morning bus which leaves P d S around 9 am getting on board usually involves a bit of a scrum. Having witnessed their prowess in the loose maul at first hand I'm surprised that the Germans aren't better at rugby.I used this bus on three days and on one of them it didn't have room for any more passengers by the time it got to Soller!

13th October
Took the 354 bus to Cuber Lake and walked through the mountains via Pas Llis,Tossal Verds refugi ( closed at present while even more Euro millions are being spent on it,Nigel Farage eat your heart out) and then along the lanes to Lloseta situated on the central plain .Very hot in the afternoon and I was parched on arrival . A sleepy town in the middle of nowhere but on the main Tren line with trains to and from Palma every 20 minutes.
Pas Llis complete with chains
Looking south west towards Alaro

14th October
Caught the 354 bus to Mirador de Ses Barques high above Soller.Last year I walked up here from Port de Soller and went up Balitx a little frequented mountain to find an obscure geocache and then caught the bus back down.This year I venture further on ,to the Coll de Biniamar and Torre de Na Seca ( for more obscure geocaches) and then back to the bar at the Mirador where I had a Mallorcan one pan meal of diced lamb's liver and vegetable ( and a beer or two) before walking back down to my hotel in P de S.The only rain of the whole Mallorca trip for an hour during which the temperature plummeted and my warm clothing actually came into use .

Finca and olive groves on the way back down

15th October
A walk from the hotel door high above the coast east of P de S.At first the route follows well defined tracks but then becomes more obscure and is only marked by the occasional small cairn.I managed to reach Barranco Na Moro but to find the geocache I think that I would have needed to swim through a short gorge so decided to live to fight another day.
Found a house used as a low key bar on the way back.
Barranco Na Mora
Port de Soller and Teix from the east

16th October
A good finale on my last full day.The 354 bus up to Cuber Lake again from where I did a variation on a ridge walk from last year,west via Sa Rateta and Na Franquesa mountains but without feeling the need to go up L'Ofre again in the afternoon heat.Yet another walk down the hundreds of stone steps of the Es Barranc to Biniaraix with a refreshment stop at the very pleasant village bar before continuing to Soller town to catch the tram back to the port.
Old trail onto the ridge

Looking east to Puig de Massanella
Na Franquesa  and L'Ofre from Sa Rateta

L'Ofre farm in a hidden valley high in the mountains
17th October
As my flight home didn't leave until 10 o'clock in the evening I had plenty of the day to fill in ,starting with a walk to Deia along the old lanes and upper (GR221) path.Afterwards I caught the bus back to Soller where I found that there was an extra train timetabled to suit my late afternoon journey to Palma.Incredibly busy but just about enough seats to go round.
Morning mist over Soller
Looking east towards Puig Major
Boarding the train at Soller

 Another great trip to Mallorca made even better by using buses to and from linear walks without the need to return to a hire car or the stress of driving on the wrong side of the road.
There's more wet and windy weather forecast this weekend so ,who knows, I might get round to producing catchup 2 - Tenerife and La Gomera November,December 2014.
Alternatively I could always post some photos of mud on the allotment?
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