Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

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!




Sent from my Samsung device

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Martiflette (2 servings)

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This is a dish based on the traditional 'Tartiflette' that we enjoyed with French friends earlier in 2015. When I told Chantal that I included mushrooms in my recipe, and that I didn't use Reblochon cheese, she said "That's not Tartiflette, you can't call it Tartiflette". So this is my take on this traditional Alpine dish, perhaps also suitable for a cold March day in Timperley.

INGREDIENTS

350 gm potatoes (waxy/red are good) - thinly sliced
250 gm bacon (smoked is good) - get two hand-cut slices from the butcher and cut into small squares (or buy lardons)
4 shallots or a small red onion - sliced
2 cloves garlic - crushed
150 gm chestnut mushrooms - sliced
200 ml double cream
250 gm Linset Chaorce cheese
White wine

Salad ingredients of your choice

PROCESS

1 Heat oven to 200 degrees C.

2 Boil the potatoes in salted water until they soften (6-7 minutes).

3 Drain and cool the potatoes.

4 Fry the bacon, garlic and onion/shallots with a dash of olive oil for 5-6 minutes until they soften, then add the sliced mushrooms and continue frying for 4-5 minutes.

5 De-glaze the pan with white wine.

6 Put the bacon mixture in a buttered gratin dish, then layer the sliced potatoes on top.

7 Pour the double cream evenly over the top of the potatoes.

8 Season with salt and pepper.

9 Overlay with slices of Chaorce cheese. This is more readily available in the UK than Reblochon, which can also be used, as can other soft, melty cheeses.

10 Bake in the oven at 200C until the cheese is golden and bubbling.

Enjoy with some green, or more elaborate, salad.

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Based on a Tartiflette recipe from Robert, the Solitary Walker. Thanks Robert.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Saturday 28 March 2015 – Wythenshawe parkrun

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I did my 70th Wythenshawe parkrun (I’ve now learnt that it is all one word, with a lower case p) on Saturday and was nabbed afterwards by Andy to write the weekly report. He chose the right moment, as I’ll only be able to get to the event one more time before the end of May. You’ll gather from the report that is duplicated below that there weren’t many, if any, photos taken on Saturday, so I’ve pulled some from the 27 December 2014 archive, showing the Park, Oliver, and a different Run Director, Paul M, giving a rather longer briefing than we ‘enjoyed’ on Saturday.

I won’t go on any more, other than to emphasise the enjoyment and camaraderie generated by parkruns all over the UK. Go on, get your barcode, and then use it!

Here’s my report.

Event number 180 – 28th March 2015

Posted on March 29, 2015 by wythenshaweoffice

Well, what an honour! I've been asked to pen this week's report. Was that a hint of desperation I detected in Andy's voice when he asked me?

I had planned to bring 'cake' to celebrate my 70th Wythenshawe parkrun, but having looked at the forecast I decided against being remembered as the person who brought the soggiest cake! What a contrast to last week's conditions.

Cycling from Timperley was not actually unpleasant, but by 8.45 even Oliver had deployed his brolly and was enjoying a chuckle whilst 197 masochists assembled under the large trees next to the 16th century hall that his mate Captain Adams had laid siege to some 370 years earlier. "I'm glad I wasn't there" pondered Oliver,  recalling that Adams had got his head blown off in the fracas.

Anyway, the rain thickened and 9am came and went. Technical problems with the timing device were skilfully 'patched' and today's Run Director, Paul L, piped up and led his victims to the start line. It's a requirement to provide a briefing at this point, so the dogs were gagged whilst Paul quickly welcomed tourists, explained the route, briefed the first timers, explained that we don't have sole use of the park, asserted that children must stay with and look after their parents, reminded Andy that 'it's not a race', encouraged everyone to follow the signs ("but not the yellow ones, they are for a different event"), etc, etc.

To Paul's eternal credit he managed all this, and a countdown to the start, in about ten seconds.

It was crowded and wet. I'm sure Matteo was pleased to have his new Sealskinz waterproof socks. I was certainly glad of mine, but very soon my feet were the only dry bits of my body.

The 'mud splash' was just that - a bit like the water splash in a steeplechase, but 20 times as long and full of mud. Great fun!

Slithering around the football pitches was, well, a slither. But the fast descent to the far bridge was (relatively speaking) a pure delight, especially for 'it's not a race' Holloway who managed to sprint ahead of a youthful rival.

So PBs would not feature today, would they? Well, they did! Congratulations to 14 of you who managed just that - Jaya, Jacqueline, Amy, Lindsey, Heather, Jane, Paul, Samantha, Philippa, William, Gareth, Stuart, Adam and Andrew. There were also PBs (obviously) from today's 26 First Timers, only 7 of whom had done parkruns before elsewhere. So well done to those folk for starting their parkrun careers on such a grotty day. Do come again!

First home was Andy 'it's not a race' Holloway, and bringing up the rear today, just beating the tail runner to the tape, was Jill 'I'm going as fast as I can' Holloway. Three more 'Holloways' were amongst the list of finishers, and it's not beyond the bounds of possibility that there were a further 11 Holloways masquerading as 'Unknowns', not forgetting any more Holloways listed amongst today's volunteers.

We all know (especially those of us of a certain age) that Andy 'it's not a race' Holloway is quite right in his assertion. It's all about percentages, of the age-related variety, with a talented lady once again taking the bow. Not many may know this, but our queen of the percentages today is currently rather high in the UK lists for 10km races in her age group. We salute you Jackie Cordingley, for your 'Performance of the Week'.

Percentages are of course important to the OAPs amongst us, and congratulations go to Michael Dunne for being first home, in 29th position, amongst the nine 'over 65s' included in today's soggy participants.

Today's Tourists - they must be seriously addicted to turn out in such vile weather whilst on holiday in Manchester - appear to come from the height and breadth of Greater Manchester, apart from two significant chaps, Ben Barton and Rob Partington, who despite their Northern Names ventured out from the Isle of Wight and Greater London respectively. I hope you enjoyed your visit, and a cuppa at the café before your long journeys home! Well done to all of you, and on behalf of the 'management' I do apologise for the time that it took to scan your barcodes at the finish.

Today's event was plagued by technical problems, with large numbers of soggy barcodes contributing to the delay. I thought everyone was very patient whilst the hard-pressed volunteers refused to panic and eventually de-camped from the dubious shelter of the trees to finish their task in the warmth of the café, albeit the soggy runners still had to wait to get to the head of the queue before gaining shelter from the weather.

Talking of volunteers, as you know, the event couldn't take place without them, and today's team of Run Director Paul Lockett together with his finely honed squad of Beatrice Cordingley, Anthony Harrison, Andy 'it's not a race' Holloway, Richard Kenny, Katharine Lay, Alex Lay, Dorothy Muldoon, Anthony Southworth, Susan Steindorff, Martin Stratton, Margaret Tunney and Emma Willert are to be applauded, together with all the additional folk who stepped in to help move the scanning firstly from in front of the hall to under the trees, and then to the café.

(Well done - I can hear the clapping in Timperley.)

Volunteers are always needed, and I'd encourage you to take your turn - we should all volunteer at least three times a year - by sending an email or a facebook message, or by filling in the sheet on the table at your next parkrun.  There are always plenty of slots available which really do need filling, and it's fun and satisfying.

Almost finally (should that be penultimately?), a word to the 16 under 15s who took part today. I'm really impressed that you ventured out on such a grotty day, but I'm also envious of you all having years and years of PBs in front of you - enjoy that whilst you can.

Finally (post penultimately?), Andy has scripted a message that says  "I may have mentioned it before, but please, please, please Don’t Forget Your Barcode". (You may need to re-print and laminate one if those I saw at the finish are anything to go by.) Andy harbours a dream of one day having a run with no Unknown Athletes in the results table so go on, make him happy!

See you next time

Martin

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Our Wine List

 
This is just testing my new phone prior to the next bout of mobile blogging.

(Mine's the Rich Cape Burgundy please, I hope it improves with age!)