Thursday, 8 October 2015

The Rucksack Club – Navigation Meet

The annual Rucksack Club Long, Medium and Short Score Event for orienteers and non-orienteers alike has been known as various things from the simple but mis-leading “fell race” to the “Navigation Challenge” which it almost always is, even without any element of competition. The element of competition is, of course, low key - right up until the course map is revealed!

This year we are helping Rae & Helen put out controls of Thursday and Friday and then, along with others, collecting them on Sunday. We collected Keith on the way north and let him have his first look at his Joss Naylor Lakeland Challenge 22 hour schedule. The three of us had a wander over ground to the south of Harter Fell on Thursday afternoon before going to the hut at High Moss in the Duddon Valley. After a beer in the afternoon sunshine in Eskdale we headed for the club hut in Duddon, High Moss. More or less on a whim we went via Cockley Beck and on Hard Knott Pass saw the start of a magnificent sunset.


20151001_001_nav-meet-58From Hard Knott Pass

On Friday we went out separately, placing (or hiding as some competitors suggested) the remainder of the controls and I headed up Harter Fell into low cloud. Initially, I wasn’t too concerned because I thought I would reach the first control before reaching the cloud base and this turned out to be the case. Before I had time to worry about how to reach the location of the second control in the clag, the clouds lifted a little and blew away to reveal fell tops above an inversion.

20151002_002_nav-meet-1017Clouds thinning above Duddon

20151002_004_nav-meet-1025Dow Crag just above the inversion


20151002_005_nav-meet-1032Dow Crag again  with Caw just visible through the inversion


20151002_007_nav-meet-1041Harter Fell Trig Point


20151002_008_nav-meet-1047Over Green Crag to the Ulpha Fells beyond with Black Combe in the distance

20151002_009_nav-meet-1080Small tarn on Harter Fell and the Dragonfly I shared it with


20151002_010_nav-meet-1089Harter Fell


20151002_012_nav-meet-1108-EditRiver Duddon from Fickle Stepping Stones

Not completing meant we had Saturday to ourselves so we had a wander round the Turner Landscape fell race route, hoping for another day as good as Friday had been. The morning started well as we climbed Grey Friar but by the time we reached Swirl How the cloud had thickened and dropped, robbing us and everyone else on the ridge of the views we had enjoyed the previous day.

20151003_013_nav-meet-23-EditSeathwaite Tarn

20151004_014_nav-meet-29From Harter Fell on Sunday

On Sunday it was back to Harter Fell to collect controls without the Dragonfly by the tarn. The morning mist failed to clear and the day remained hazy and atmospheric. Thanks Rae & Helen for another superb Navigation Meet – looking forward to next year’s already.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Menorca – 23rd to 30th September



20150924_002_menorca-239Beyond Fornells



20150926_004_menorca-531-EditMahon Fish Market

20150927_005_menorca-657Binnibecca Vell

20150928_006_menorca-1156Mobile Phones in Mahon




20150930_008_menorca-1188-EditWaiting to Fly

Mahon’s Fish Market

Fish Markets are always worth visiting whether in Bolton, Bury, Mallorca or Mahon. We arrived at an odd time because the fish stalls were closing as the wine and tapas stalls were just opening. The expected “buzz” was somewhat less than we expected and I wondered if this might be the first fish market to disappoint.




I shouldn’t have worried – we should have visited earlier or later or better still earlier and later. Wandering back up from the port we heard lively and very slightly familiar music coming from somewhere nearby that turned out to be the Fish Market. The party was in full swing – what a wonderful way to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon!

For a taste of what they are dancing to try:

Volare or Bamboleo by the Gipsy Kings



The island’s capital city with plenty to see and do although the “must see” is a “must see” only for tourists – the locals go elsewhere and sometimes to the Fish Market.

The Gin Distillery with its “tasting room” is well worth visiting even if all the gins and liquors aren’t to everyone’s liking – I can recommend the coffee liquor, after several tastings.




A small village on the south east corner of the island easily reached from Punta Prima by the GR223 (Cami de Cavalls) which circumnavigates the island. Alcafar is a gem, seemingly bypassed by commercialism (or at least bypassed by “Huge Hotel” commercialism)  and long may it continue in the same way.




Originally founded by the Carthaginians, it was already the seat of a bishop in the 4th century. After being governed by the Moors under the names of Medīna el Jezīra (Arabic: مدينة الجزيرة‎) and Medīna Menūrqa (مدينة منورقة) for several centuries, Citadel was recaptured during the reconquista by men serving Alfonso II and became part of the Crown of Aragon. During the Middle Ages, it became an important trading centre.

On 9 July 1558, the Turks under Piyale Pasha and Turgut Reis with a powerful Turkish Armada of 140 ships and 15,000 soldiers, put the town under siege for eight days entered and decimated the town. The town was defended by only a few hundred men. All of Ciutadella's 3,099 inhabitants who survived the siege were taken as slaves to Turkey together with other inhabitants of surrounding villages. In total, 3,452 residents were sold into slavery in the slave markets of Istanbul (Constantinople), Turkey.

Despite no longer being Minorca's capital, Ciutadella has remained the island's religious centre as the Bishop refused to move. The festival of Saint John, its patron saint, takes place each year on 23 and 24 of June. The Cathedral of Minorca, located in the old quarter of Ciutadella, was built in 1287 on the foundation of an older mosque. In the 17th century, many of Ciutadella's civil and religious buildings were built in the Italian style and gave it a historical and artistic unity.

Ciutadella's town hall is the former palace of the Arab governor and later served as a royal palace under the Crown of Aragon and again as a governor's palace until the British moved the capital to the eastern town of Mahon in 1722.

[Thanks Wikipedia]