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Mallorca pie-fest

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Mallorca pie-fest

Postby edhyatt » Sat Dec 12, 2015 1:39 am

Date: December 2013
Participants: Me. A goat or two.
Weather: Sunny. Cloudy. Torrential rainstorms.
Bivouac Films:
World War Z - 8/10 - very entertaining but perhaps not the best choice for a remote camp lit by a full moon :(
The Lone Ranger - 6/10 - an opportunity missed
Argo - 9/10 - fine drama with tension held-well throughout
Day one: Around 18km (11 miles) and 1260m
Day two: Around 20km (13 miles) and 960m
Day three: Around 21km (13 miles) and 1360m
Day four: Around 17 km (10 miles) and 1046m
Day five: Around 14 km (9 miles) and 900m

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Palma after a two-year absence. Not as hard as I’d imagined – warm memories now of places visited and shared.

It’s late. The Ramblas are full of promenading families, laughing and enjoying the night air. None too soon the Hotel arrives. Ensconced with a Rioja, cheeses, avocado, bread, and fruits I’m good. Tomorrow begins the reversal of a route last trod in a different life.

Imbibing and packing.

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Day one: Around 18km (11 miles) and 1260m

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Mallorca has the best bus service. Ever. And the bars are very fine. While away an hour with a €3 breakfast…obviously other buns and pastries have been acquired…

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It is an easy spin out of St Elm (the start point of the GR221…I’ll follow this for much of the day).

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Mallorca unwraps itself quickly at the expense of fragments of lung – its steep…

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I crush some Rosemary flowers between my fingers and breathe in…the fragrance stays with me for much of the day…

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The path climbs and climbs….a just warm enough sun accompanies me..

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At the Coll de ses Animes looking down to the refuge at La Trapa the first of the Mallorquin pies is unwrapped.

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These are not the warm pappy envelopes of greyness purveyed by big UK bakers; these are real… short-crust pastry oozing richness and fat, tasty meats, peas, spinach, pine nuts piment – all manner of content.

Distant buzzards (which are in fact vultures I am reliably informed) seem hungry…they’ll be unlucky…

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Happiness for George Osborne :cry: This the resurgence after a fire that claimed 29,000 acres last year.

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The miles are easy for now, mainly on 4WD tracks, although some of the winding coastal paths have been more capricious.

Towards the Col de se Gramola the crowds (well…) appear…but the scenery augments too..

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Alas the font at the Coll is dry as a bone – I’m going to suffer for water through most of this trip. But a wander down the road leads to the start of the clamber towards Mola de s’a Esclop…and a kilometre in a handy tap at a farmstead.

One climbs.

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One still climbs; it’s around 700m in all…dinky cairns help (more about these later)…

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I pop up onto a plateau at around 850m and chat with a laid-back (you can smell it :wink:) family who are great fun; they give me some olives and laugh that I will be up here for the night.

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The Font des Quer is a drop down to locate, and pretty poor. I always carry a ‘rigid’ wide-necked 500ml bottle in arid areas….scooping becomes less arduous than with a platty.

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A fine – quite bold and obvious for me – pitch is found at the Era d’en Coll.

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This is quite a late pitch and the light is going at 17:00ish….tent up and make the most of an open tealight stove and laundry meths in a Capri Orange plastic pouch; bloody airlines :lol:

Galatzo looks good in the dusk..

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Lasagna with added Babybels is a fat fest.

I settle down to a movie playing on my Nexus tablet – 13-hour nights need a distraction. Perhaps the zombie theme was ill-chosen given the baleful full-moon….but I'm comfortable enough - the balancing act of a short Neoair that suits me fine for summer nights has been replaced with a full - length Exped synmat (I wish).

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Day two: Around 20km (13 miles) and 960m

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Day two has dawned cold and somewhat overcast; I'm planning on moving (relatively) quickly today as previous experience suggests the route finding will be tricky, especially finding the start of a scramble onto the plateau of Planicia.

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It’s a cold start..

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The recent acquisition of a mapping GPS mitigates navigational issues a lot though - the Editorial Alpina maps that used to be a bit (lot) off in places have been reissued and are now much better - so much so that I rarely use my printed maps for the whole trip.

Ere long I’m swishing through wet leg-shaving diss grass..

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The climb to the Pas des Cosais warms me to the point of breakfast.

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Misplaced confidence in fonts visited on other occasion’s means that the litre of water I chug down for breakfast is more or less it for the day :(

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The first font the is encountered was a merry place of sparkling flowing water....now it is a well engineered bowl of scummy black water. I could filter it, but suspect my filter would then be hors de combat for the rest of the trip...

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Circling Galalzo is a departure for me, but I've climbed it three or four times and today is about getting to Esporles in time for a bus back to Palma - the cheap Hostal/in Esporles being closed for the season. So it is winding through the oak forests for me, passing myriad old charcoal burning sites.

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All too soon the climbing up to the esoteric Pas de Encletxa will begin. Surprisingly the start is relatively easy to find once my eye is in to spotting micro-cairns.

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The clammy day results in a drippy me….

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The route begins up an open and dirty channel then there is a pitch of steepish rock before a very loose and somewhat sketchy tree-choked chimney, the continuation of which is easy but with one 'think about it' move. All in all, easy.

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I pop out onto the plateau of Puntals de Planicia a happy man. Now a trog through the woods to find the descent path to Esporles is required.

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It's pretty easy going - all of the hard yards having been done with the morning’s ascents. The Puig de sa Mola is eschewed in favour of a font; dry as a bone....

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The open main street of Esporles is a pretty empty sight - but as I have been speedy and it is only just past 15:00 I have an hour to kill prior to the €3 bus back to my Palma hotel, a shower, good food; that sort of thing.

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I kill the time with this snack....

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...and a lot of water


Day three: Around 21km (13 miles) and 1360m

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Back to Esporles, suitably loaded with tasty comestibles from the Panaderia.

The route to Valldemossa 6 or 7 miles away is officially closed and there is a bit of route spoiling, but following it is easy enough - and after all my plans/for later in the day include major trespass so might as well start as you mean to go on.

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The local walkers have (as ever) done their bit to re-mark the route – I really like the ‘f*ck you’ attitude to trespass….

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A bit of road walking translates after a while in wanders (yes I got lost...just a little) through scrubby forests and along rough limestone paths. I meet a German walker doing the GR221. He's somewhat trepidatious about breaking the law...but follows my path suggestions readily enough.

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The spin down to Valldemossa is very pleasant...although it does end in the back yard of a house that is being built...the guys doing the construction laugh as they tell me that soon the path will really be closed at this end. I leave an orange richer.

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This does not stop me heading for the pie shop however.

Time for a bit of decision making - it's going to be too early in the day when I hit my planned bivvy spot at the Font des Serps; the section after that is the waterless and quite arduous Alfabia ridge...hmmmmm

Easily up into the Son Moragues estate, then steeply up on a calf-ripping path to a locked refuge and a large pie..

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From here it is jingle all the way to the signs that suggest one might be trespassing should you stray beyond them. They try hard with the fences, barbed wire and path spoiling, but it's still pretty easy to find your way. The chance of encountering a landowner is remote...especially when Mallorca is as empty as I have ever seen it.

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So it's down to the Coll de Soller via the climbing of three fences - one of which was rather high. Once there a casual thumb and I am down into Soller where a few minutes later I am at Casa Marguerita with it's delightful elderly multi-lingingual hostess.

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Day four: Around 17 km (10 miles) and 1046m

The fabulosity of the pathless Alfabia Ridge awaits :D

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Getting back up to the Coll de Soller is an interesting proposition, entailing a €20 taxi-ride. A fine breakfast of a strong Americano and a freshly-made serrano, tomato and olive bocadillo has been fortified by the usual sack-full of pastries.

It seems eminently sensible to begin the day as yesterday ended, with a spot of trespass....

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This is low-light camera shake….no way is it terror… :oops:

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The Serra de Alfabia is a fine limestone ridge that dominates the skyline from Soller. The ridge is largely pathless and quite rough. I’ve done it twice before but not from the Coll de Soller and a little scramble (if it can be found) - the Pas d'en Topa. Somehow this must be breached….

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Dinky cairns mark the way.

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Normally ambivalent about the use (overuse) of cairns in general, I'm a hypocrite on Mallorca, finding them inordinately useful for navigation.

Somewhere up there is a way through the walls of limestone that guard the access to the ridge.

A steep pull up a dry but earthy slope soon leads to the occasional paint blaze pointing the way to the weakness in the escarpment.

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You really don’t want to fall off this….

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….and you won’t as the locals have installed an unnecessary cable…

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Pop out to a point on the ridge approach slopes….

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Finding the path in this sort of terrain is silly hard; it shouldn’t be, but it is. Its capricious…the going is such that you have to really concentrate to stay on track.

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It’s a long and hot trog to the road leading to the military communications station after which things get a little easier.

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Some great places to pitch around here…but no water, which is a shame.

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Another law broken :lol:

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Looking down towards Puerto de Soller…

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…and back to yesterdays descent to the Coll de Soller..

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Onward; its about to get tricky…and oh so slow…

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On the Puig de Alfabia; much beauty but not the best beauty.

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If in doubt eat a cheese and spinach pasty…

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New ground now…moving away from the classic Alfabia traverse….and getting amusingly lost…so lost I contemplate building a cairm myself – just to feel better :oops:

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Ascending the Puig des Coll des Jou is intricate and interesting, the walls being breached by a surprising channel.

When the mists come in it all gets a bit scary and disorienting…

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…but atmospheric….

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The summit of the Puig des Coll des Jou.

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It seems churlish to pass up the opportunity for yet another pie…

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Dropping off the ridge now down towards the Coll d’en Poma.

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Puig de l’Ofre

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Overconfidence means I stray yet again….thus far its been about 4 miles in three hours…..

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Easy ground at last….

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…with some less permanent obstacles…

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At the Col de l’Ofre I decide to take the paths of least resistance for an easy wander back down past the Cuber reservoir to a pitch I know that is sheltered and has reliable water.

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A short (mileage-wise) day, but the hardest of the trip by far….the evening film is sadly not accompanied by popcorn.

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Day five: Around 14 km (9 miles) and 900m

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An easy day on paper….but I’d forgotten the slog up to the Coll de Prat. The weather too is turning into unkind; damp mists blowing in and rain threatening for the later part of the day.

It’s an easy schlep alongside the drainage towards the Font des Prat.

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Clear waters…it’s about a foot deep…

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The Font des Galinea has been enterprisingly rebuilt and now runs well; the first time I have ever seen water flowing here in a decade…

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But the day has turned; wet mists blowing in above 600m mean I won’t be scrambling up my favourite Mallorcan mountain, Massanella; a pity as a bit of research had found a new route up – yet slipping around on wet limestone above the void did not appeal :cry:

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A heart in my heart.

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Old snow stores and fonts on the way down to the monastery at Lluc.

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It’s spitting with the first of the rain as I hit one of the restaurants next to the monastery.

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A bed is secured…you can camp and there are showers, but…

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Without a religious bone in my body I carry on my girls tradition and light a candle for her and those she loved.

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And dine completely alone in the massive galleried cellar restaurant.

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Exeunt

In the morning it’s pissing down – my last day is abandoned and I head to Palma on the bus….which is not without incident….

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The traditional single cognac ritual must be observed :lol:

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And wounds admired…

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And wait for the plane…and the return to grey pies from Greggs..

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edhyatt
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Re: Mallorca pie-fest

Postby rlown » Sat Dec 12, 2015 12:04 pm

Again a nice TR! Thanks!

Again, get some long pants :)

I like that you have places you can stay between sorties. We have a few in the Sierra (see Rouge's posts), but seems a bit different.

May have asked it but what is your stove? esbit? tea candles with alcohol? looks like the latter.

Regards,

Russ
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Re: Mallorca pie-fest

Postby edhyatt » Sun Dec 13, 2015 2:35 am

One day I will get grown up pants :)

Cooking is a Trail Design Tri-ti sidewinder... using an open tealight with dry cleaning fluid (not the best fuel in the universe)...

Rogue appears to have covered a little ground in the Sierra :p :p
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Re: Mallorca pie-fest

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun Dec 13, 2015 8:07 pm

How does this route compare to (or is differently located) than the Campostelo de Santiago? I assume your route was is Spain (since I saw Spanish words in the photos).
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Re: Mallorca pie-fest

Postby edhyatt » Mon Dec 14, 2015 1:32 am

It is on one of the Balearic islands - Mallorca; great walking, been many times.

Island on the right with waypoint mark....

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How it compares to the Camino I know not as I've only ever cycle-toured near that route.
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