- I’ve had my holiday / time off request approved at work (thank you!) (PHEW!!)
- Dave’s coming too!
Woo Hoo x 2!
The latest in our bi-annual Pembrokeshire-get-togethers-with-a-walk.
The usual Paddington rendezvous with Hazel and Charles then out on an earlier than usual GWR train service to Newport where Dave was waiting for us. Two hours later, we drew up outside Mayhem. G&T in the new summer house (aka Winterfell) segued into refills with curry dinner. Uh oh.
No onward journey to the caravan – spare beds were available and the Saturday walk was on the southern section of the coast path – made for a boozy evening and a late night, finished off with a slice of Charles’ home made and aptly-named Decadent Chocolate and Banana Pie (as seen on David Rocco’s Dolce India).
…. dawned grey and wet, as the tail ends of Hurricanes Lee and Maria made their way across the UK. Still, “it’s never to wet to walk”, so Dave drove us over to Freshwater East and the start of a new section of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path: Freshwater East Beach to Manorbier (and back).
The rain eased off for our outward walk … returning just as the church came into sight. So we dripped into the Beach Break Tea Rooms (and Gift Shop).
Restored by an excellent round of Welsh Caul / Haddock Chowder / Baked Potato followed by cups of tea / coffee / hot chocolate, we headed back out again under still cloudy skies – but thankfully the rain held off for the whole of our walk back to Freshwater East and its magnificent beach. Windy though.
The Freshwater East cafe / bar didn’t appeal, but The Cake Shop on Pembroke’s Main Street proved an excellent alternative. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a vast array of home made cakes and biscuits (their Facebook photos don’t lie!) …. extremely hard to choose what to have! After a lot of deliberating, (Christmas Fruit) Cake won out (and the rain resumed).
Back at Minwear Wood I had a nap while the others chatted over a glass or two of Prosecco. Then dinner – super tasty roast veg and ginger soup made by Steffi accompanied by Cardigan Bakery bread and a selection of Caws Cenarth Cheeses.
Early to bed. Despite the nap.
No rain … well, not until we’d breakfasted and started to think about a stroll in the woods.
Plan B (really, Plan A!) was put into action: A tour round the Aisles of Aldi. On the shopping list for this visitation, this week’s special offer electric log stove to go into the Not-Just-Summer House (Steffi) and wine (everyone else). Some Christmas treats also made it into my basket; it’s never the wrong time of year for Christmas Cake and / or Stollen in my book.
The rain had clearly settled in for the day so once back at base we lent our selves to putting the stove together and helping Maurice and Charles prepare our Mexican lunch extravaganza. With a small glass of wine to set the mood and to help tidy up the left over nachos….
A leisurely lunch, lingering until 2.30pm before setting off on the journey home. “Dave’s Taxi” to Newport, GWR to Paddington and then negotiating the weekend engineering works on the tube.
Home by 8pm.
Trip No. 2 of 2018 is, as yet, unbooked. Hazel and I are waiting for Exodus to run a special offer 🙂
Destination: The French Pyrenees.
When: June 2018.
What: Highlights of the GR10, with Hazel.
How: On Exodus’ Pyrenees: The GR10 trip (no link – they don’t like me doing that!)
Why: More mountains! Europe! Summertime!
Plus we both had a fab time on the Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB), aka Exodus’ TWB, back in 2012.
The GR10 is the Grande Randonnée, long distance path, that runs along the French side of the Pyrenees, providing la grande traversée des Pyrénées. It’s been on my trekking radar for a while, but work and more far flung destinations mean I won’t be able to tackle all 538 miles any time soon. This trip seems a good way to get a feel for how it “works” and only needs a week off work.
Ten days end to end, with 7 full days of walking (mainly point-to-point), and 4 nights in basic mountain huts and the rest in simple hotels, Exodus rate the trip as activity level 5 – “Challenging”, one notch up from their Mont Blanc Circuit, TWB version.
Day 1: Fly to Toulouse; transfer to Gavarnie.
Day 2: Walk the Cirque de Gavarnie and up to the Espuguette hut.
Day 3: Follow the GR10 to Pragnères; transfer to Barèges.
Day 4: Trek along the Vallée d’Aygues-Cluses; enter Néouvielle National Nature Reserve.
Day 5: Climb to the Col d’Estoudou (2260m) and up to the Col de Portet (1069m); transfer to Saint-Lary (Ariège edition).
Day 6: Free Day in Saint-Lary.
Day 7: Morning trek up to the Col d’Azet (1580m); descend to Loudenvielle.
Day 8: Enter the Val d’Aube; climb to Couret d’Esquierry (2131m); walk to les Granges d’Asteau.
Day 9: Ascent to the Coume de Bourg Pass (2272m) via Lac d’Oô; ridge walk down to Superbagnères. Overnight in Bagnères-de-Luchon.
Day 10: Transfer to Toulouse; fly to London.
We’ve booked! Deposit paid and Premier Inn (one night at) purchased. Now I just need to book the time off work…..
Where next-ish, as Phil and I are off to Berlin first.
Destination: The Eastern Alps, crossing from Italy to France and back.
When: Winter / Spring 2018.
What: Transalpine Snowshoeing, with Steffi.
Three Four reasons:
We’ve gone for the Exodus trip because it looked the most adventurous of their Winter 2018 Snowshoe offering – it’s rated as activity level 4, moderate/challenging, and we’ve 2 nights in a mountain hut, backpacking in our essentials for those nights/days. Plus all meals are included and the price was right (especially with their Winter Trip 5% off offer and our return customer 5% discount). I am really looking forward to all those “superb views”!
How: On Exodus’ Transalpine Snowshoe Week (no link – they don’t like me doing that!).
We’re flying London Gatwick – Turin (and back) with British Airways and have gone for flight-inclusive: partly for convenience, and in particular to get the transfer to Thures (part of Cesana Torinese, which is 43 miles from Turin and on the border with France, Wikipedia tells me) at the start of the trip and back from Cervières (across the border, in Hautes-Alpes, France) at end; and partly based on cost, flight-inclusive is only £120 more than flight (and transfer!)-exclusive.
The group flight leaves Gatwick horribly early on the way out, so we’ve booked a twin room at the Premier Inn, Gatwick for the night before, for the princely sum of £43.50.
Day 1: Arrival and transfer to Thures (part of Cesana Torinese)
Day 2: Val Thuras* & Cima del Bosco*
Day 3: Fontana del Thures – Mautino Hut*
Day 4: Explore around the Mautino Hut
Day 5: Mautino Hut – Cervières
Day 6: Cervières south faces
Day 7: Cervières loop walk
Day 8: End Cervières
* Not much info in English, so these links are to Italian pages on Wikipedia.it, and to the website for the Capanna Mautino (aka the Mautino Hut).
Destination: Berlin, Germany.
When: December 2017.
Why: Michael and Katja invited me and Phil to spend a few days with them, and to enjoy good food and good wine (and beer and coffee!) in their excellent company. It’s over 6 years since I last visited – in 2011, in between Croatia and Paris.
How: London (LHR) to Berlin (TXL), and back, with British Airways.