Monthly Archives: September 2012

Tramuntana Trail

For my last holiday of the summer, I took myself off to Majorca to walk the Tramuntana Trail with HF Holidays. The idea was to guarantee some sunshine but you can have too much of a good thing as the temperatures were in the high 20s and we only had one partly cloudy morning. Otherwise it was constant blue skies.

The flight out was on time but we were left hanging around in Palma airport as we were supposed to be joined by walkers travelling from Manchester airport. It turned out that their flight was delayed by 5 hours, so, after a wait of nearly an hour, our bus driver turned up to take us to the hotel in Puerto de Soller.

Day 1 – Valldemossa to Deia

We had a shortish ride to Valldemossa and some time to have a look around before starting the trail. Our leader hadn’t walked the route before and was unable to find the start of the trail. Eventually he asked a local for directions and we were then on our way up a long climb to the Archduke’s Trail from where we had great views out to see and down to Deia. The walk was 8 miles with 2,000ft of ascent and 3,000ft of descent.

Day 2 – Deia to Puerto de Soller

A bad start to the day as a cock-up on the transport front meant that we were delayed about 45 minutes in getting away to Deia where we started by visiting the burial place of Robert Graves. We then had a short walk down to the sea shore where we had coffee before walking back to our hotel. Our route took us along the coastline for much of the way with the final part being right around the bay at Puerto de Soller. The walk was 11 miles with the ascent/descent being unknown but about half of that on Day 1.

Day 3 – Puerto de Soller to Cubar Reservoir

An easy start for Day 3, leaving the hotel to walk to the outskirts of Soller and then on to Biniaraix where we stopped for coffee. The hard work then started as we had a 2 hour grind climbing 3,000ft up the Pilgrims steps to the col at Puig de Lofra (1093m). By this time we were ready for lunch and then had a leisurely descent of about 500ft to where our bus was waiting for us at the end of Cuber reservoire. The walk was 13 miles with 3,000ft of up and 500ft of down.

Day 4 – Cuber Reservoir to Lluc

Luckily, we had a rest day between Day 3 and Day 4 which was needed as today was another hard one. Starting from Cuber we made our way through the mountains to the monastery at Lluc. Although we never made it to the summit of the many 3,000ft+ mountains on Majorca, today’s walk took us to within 300-400ft from the summit of the second highest mountain – Puig de Massanella (1.364m). From here, the only way was down – and steeply!  The walk was 9.5 miles with 2,500ft of ascent and 3,300ft of descent.

Day 5 – Lluc to Pollenca

A somewhat easier day as we made our way from Lluc monastry to the outskirts of Pollenca. The first half of the day was in mountain woodland and only gentle climbs. From then on it was gradually downhill with the final part following a roadside footpath to Pollenca. This was a little boring and seemed to go on forever in the hot afternoon sunshine. The walk was 12 miles with 500ft of ascent. The total descent again being unknown but not too much.

It was a good holiday and I met some nice people within our group of 16. I was rather taken aback chatting to a young woman in her early 30s when she said that she was a Priest. The flight back was on time but we had to wait for nearly an hour for our bags to be offloaded.

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Houghton Forest & Great Down

It was another one of those days where shade was most welcome so a walk in the woods was ideal. For my last walk of the holiday, I didn’t want to go too far or do too much so I drove a short distance to just north of Arundel for a 6?? mile walk with 830ft of ascent. Much of the walk was in woodland and to start with it was quite cool. However, as the day progressed the sun became hotter and I was glad that not too much of the walk was out in the open. A gentle finish to a great holiday.

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Seven Sisters

Karen went home today; calling in for lunch on the way with friends in Seaford. Coincidentally, we were both travelling in the same direction along the A27 and I followed her for quite some time. I don’t think she realised that it was me who was behind her and she was certainly belting along.

I parked the car at the Seven Sisters Country Park at Exceat and used my bus pass to take me to where the South Downs Way passes around the outskirts of Eastbourne. From here, the navigation was easy – “keep the sea on your left”. The first stop was Beachy Head and then on to Birling Gap. There then followed the repeated ups and downs of the Seven Sisters. It was interesting to start with but, by the seventh up & down, I was glad when it came to an end. The last leg was on the flat at Cuckmere Haven. The walk was 8¼ miles with 1,300ft of ascent.

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Harting Downs

Karen joined me again today for her last walk on this holiday. It was a delightful 7 miles with 1,200ft of ascent starting from Harting Down. After a shortish downhill section, we had a very steep climb to Beacon Hill (780ft) from where we were afforded super view of the surrounding countryside and as far afield as Portsmouth & the Isle of Wight.

We climbed Beacon Hill in the company of two women who were walking an 11 mile stretch of the South Downs Way. On leaving the Beacon I asked them in which direction they were going as they intended heading of at about 90 degrees to us. This seemed odd as we were both walking the same piece of the SDW, but undeterred by my advice, off they went. A couple of minutes later I looked back to see that they were now following us!

The rest of the walk was through a mixture of woodland and open downland which made for enjoyable walking.

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Pulborough & Stopham

After the heat of yesterday, Karen decided to take a day off to go and look around Arundel Castle leaving me to walk on my own. Today’s walk was 7?? miles with 800ft of ascent. The designated starting point on the walk instructions near Stopham Bridge looked a little insecure, so, I spent the next 30 minutes looking for somewhere else not too far off the route and, in desperation, I left the car in a Sainsbury’s car park on the outskirts of Pulborough.

It only took me 5 minutes or so to pick up the route of the walk which then took me across the training grounds for Coombelands racing stables. Much of the remainder of the walk was through a mixture of arable land and light woodland. The shade that this provided was welcome on another warm day but with a slightly stronger cooling breeze. It was a nice, if not too strenuous walk, just outside the main area of the South Downs.

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Walderton

Karen and I tackled a 7?? mile walk with 1,000ft of ascent today. Starting from Walderton, we made a steady climb up to Funtingdon Down and then on to Kingley Vale Nature Reserve, the highest point of our walk. From here we could see over Chichester harbour and as far away as Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight. It is a pity that these incredible views are almost impossible to capture on camera. There then followed a gradual descent to the village of Stoughton where we stopped at the pub for a drink on what was becoming a very warm day at about 25c. On the way back we called in to Arundel for tea. The town is dominated by the Castle & Cathedral.

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