Like many island based people I love this time of year. The sting has gone out of the sun and usually (yes usually!) most tourists have gone home and it would be just the ‘empty-nesters’ still grimly clinging-on to the last vestiges of a balmy late summer. But not this year! No, indeed not, however there is one pleasurable activity that a pandemic can’t interrupt - and that is walking on this wonderful island. We went out for our first proper walk of the autumn on Sunday and I was astonished how many other people had the same idea. Out first properly organised ‘yomp’ of the season from the outskirts of S’Arraco to Sant Elmo on Sunday was really enjoyable for our small group of friends, as was the light tapas lunch with some liquid refreshment at the end of it. However, what struck me most was just how many people had the same idea, because as we walked we came across scores of other people doing the same thing as us and it seemed that most of our fellow walkers were young people and families. Perhaps I should clarify that statement somewhat - this is because nowadays anyone under the age of fifty, is in my mind, practically a teenager. I have to say that on reflection last weekend’s ‘warm-up’ amble was not the first serious walk of the season, because during September we took advantage of some of the cooler days and rediscovered some seaside walks in our resort towns. For instance, one afternoon we walked along the seafront from the Nikki Beach Hotel at the top end of Magalluf (Calvia Beach?) to the marina on the eastern end of Palma Nova - there and back, almost 8 kilometres with hardly a person to be seen. Enjoyable, if slightly spooky, if you see what I mean?
A SIMPLE 90 MINUTE HIKE - OH YEAH!
I know that for many people they will be rolling their eyes at the more obvious of my enthusiasms, as I know for sure that there are loads of people out there who love to walk and discover this island of ours and certainly don’t need any encouragement from me. Nevertheless, for those of you who are seeking to enjoy the island - keep fit - enjoy the company of friends - or to feel ever-so-slightly-superior in a truly smug fashion, now might be the time to lace up those walking boots. As a man of mature years I now like to pace-myself when taking on a particular walk. Indeed, rather like Sir Tom Moore (no relation!) some of you might like to walk around your gardens/sitting rooms a few hundred times to build up your stamina before you take on anything too taxing. Joking aside, it may not be a good idea to immediately take on walking up Puig Major, or marching along the coast road between Puerto Pollensa and Alcudia - not a good idea at all. But all is not lost for those who want to start a walking regime. There are many really good Majorca guide books available for walkers of all levels and if you go online and search, you will find island walking groups of all levels seeking to recruit new members. Mind you, this might be a time to give a cautious warning. One man’s or woman’s “simple 90 minute hike” has been know to entail a lot more than that for the unwary, yet enthusiastic beginner. Three hours later, with no feeling left at all in any muscle below the waist except those that are excruciatingly painful, is not generally a way to encourage those new to walking to continue. And dare I say it? Beware of the ‘macho’ marcher who likes to show off - particularly if you are a woman.
WHAT TO WEAR WHEN WALKING?
One of the benefits of a regular walking regime, is that you can wear really sexy ‘walking-wear’ without feeling a fraud. Unlike, some folk who wear tracksuits and the like all the time even though they never do anything sporty except queue for a pizza five times a week; walkers are allowed - nay supposed, to look sexily sporty. A few years ago we were on a short but quite tough walk, when I spied a woman in front us on a rocky trail sporting a rather elegant pair of red slingback’s. Apart from admiring her undoubted pluck - it did cross my mind that she hadn’t quite got to grips with the basics of ‘walkwear’. I know that walking boots are not the most elegant of foot apparel, but they are rather essential to almost any type of walking apart from city centre shopping, disco dancing and the like! Some men are as bad, trust me. Expensively branded flip-flops, budgie-smugglers and wife-beater vests are occasionally spotted in the lower reaches of the Tramuntana Mountain range during warmer weather. Mostly however, walkers are sensible as to what they should wear when out walking. The one thing that strikes me though - is that the sturdy rucksack that you purchased in that marvellous sports shop just off the Palma cintura last year, is often filled with stuff you don’t really need, but feel duty bound to fill completely, because? Well, just because! Multiple jumpers ‘just in case’ - wet weather anoraks and trousers, plus all manner of fruit, energy bars and chocolate. Then we have mosquito spray, sun-cream, not forgetting energy drinks and water, plus a dab of makeup for the ladies just in case they come across someone hunky and hallucinogenic and an iPhone or two. So there we have it, walking is the new ‘Go-to’ activity for the young at heart and the not so firm of buttock. However, to use an old and over familiar saying, please ‘pace yourself’. And if you want to join a walking group check to see that they don’t have any Himalayan aspirations, and most importantly make sure mixed tapas, cold beer and cheap red wine can be consumed at the end of your endeavours, as that is undoubtedly the best bit of any walking day out.