Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019
On the Archduke's Path in Mallorca

Saturday 30 January 2021

Summer in the Alps - 2005 - Sunday 7 August - Gohren to Bellamonte

Sunday 7 August - Gohren to Bellamonte (by Sue) 

There was heavy rain in the early morning that stopped before we emerged from the tent. Struck camp, showered and left at 9:20 am. The weather looked black and foreboding ahead and proved to be just so. 

We entered Austria in Bregenz and journeyed south to Feldkirch through a fairly industrial valley, with steep wooded hills to the east. Turning east towards St Anton, we entered the Alps, and more rain. Stopped for coffee around 10:30 in a warm restaurant adorned with witches. The temperature outside was around 9°C, and it was not the weather to be in shorts. 

As we climbed, the snow level was only a few hundred metres above - distinctly uninviting! A 10 km tunnel ensured that we missed St Anton, and continued on to Landeck. Now another climb to the Passo di Resia, where we finally entered Italy.

The mountain view from near St Anton

Just after the pass, the weather brightened up, but not sufficiently to picnic outside the car. Our beer supply, nicely cooled in the fridge, was a less than appetizing prospect! In the warmth of the car we enjoyed rolls brought at a service station, then continued. 

The descent was lovely, an open valley and green hills. The road to Merano was distinctive due to its castles, and orchards supplying fruit stalls that had been set up at the roadside. 

At a petrol and tea stop in Merano, we considered options for camping. A call to the campsite in Molveno proved they were full. So, beyond Bolzano, we headed up the SS48 towards Cavalese, on the hunt for a campsite. The road was full of hairpins to start with, and we seemed to drive for miles. However we were now deep in the Dolomites - where we wanted to be. Turning off the SS48 at Predazzo, we were encouraged by signs to campsites. As the first was full, we are now installed in Bellamonte, at 1350 metres, in the centre of some nice mountains.


To get some exercise after another day (230 miles) in the car, we walked 3 kilometres to Restaurant El Zirmo. Here, there was a nice view and a traditional meal of stew, mushrooms, polenta and cheese. The walk back was a bit hairy as we had to go round a hairpin bend with no pavements in the dark. We survived that and adjourned to bed around 10 pm. It is cool but quiet.

Try to work out our route - Google Earth (top); Viewranger (below) click on the image for a better view

Notes from Martin:
Low snow line after recent storms. Good not to be walking high today.
A text message from Richard informs us of an England victory ('just') over the Aussies in the second test!

Next Day

A Guinness World Record Holder!

Well, I'm only one of some 37966 people to whom this accolade applies!

My contemporaneous report is here.

Friday 29 January 2021

Summer in the Alps - 2005 - Saturday 6 August - Verdun to Gohren (Bodensee)

Saturday 6 August - Verdun to Gohren - Bodensee (by Martin) 

We decided to speed up our pace a little by taking a motorway route. So we left the misty campsite at 9 am after enjoying their nice chocolate croissants, and headed in fair weather past Metz and on towards Strasbourg along the A4. We left the motorway before Strasbourg and headed into Germany via the Rhine near Achern. Then minor roads through villages brought us to Renchen, where we enjoyed a coffee outside in the sun, and we bought the ingredients for an alfresco evening meal. Nice clean village.


On past Offenberg, heading for Villingen, we found a picnic lay-by and enjoyed lunch on our own personal picnic table. Pate and blue cheese with tomatoes, a nice brew of tea, etc in the sun. My sun hat came out for the first time (a new Tilley hat replacing the one that fell apart in the Pyrenees and was recently replaced free of charge). 

Still a cool start to the day - 11°C (it was 9°C yesterday) - but the car's sensor is a bit erratic and may read low. The straightforward journey was complicated by our very old small-scale maps. We seemed to shoot through the Black Forest (maybe I slept) before getting lost around Geisingen. 

We eventually found Bodensee and went up the north 'coast' which was full of holidaymakers. The first campsite at Nuss which we stopped at looked very full, so we continued on to a 38 hectare site at Gohren, a sort of tented Center Parcs. It was crammed full of people but we were found a muddy spot next to a moss clad permanent caravan. "If the owners turn up you will have to move." It was a dark, dank position - quite claustrophobic, but strangely secluded.

The pebbly beach did provide a good open spot for an alfresco evening meal - salad, salmon, bread, etc with gulls, hawks, divers, swimmers, etc to entertain us, and threatening thick clouds over the nearby Austrian Alps. 

Adjourned to a bar to see Paula Radcliffe lose in the 10000 metres World Championships, then bedtime. 

Rain in the night.

Our 306 mile route can be worked out from these two images 
(as always, click on them for a better image)

Thursday 28 January 2021

Summer in the Alps - 2005 - Friday 5 August - Montreuil to Verdun

Friday 5 August - Montreuil to Verdun (by Sue) 

A very wet start. Left the site at 8:45 after a shower, and drove east in heavy rain towards Arras. Missed the town centre, so continued to Cambrai for coffee. The rain had stopped but it was cool and windy. The church was rather nicer inside than its exterior suggested.

We continued on pleasant roads, frequented by tractors, lunching in the car in a lay-by. A typical French picnic of bread, pate, cheese and nectarines. It was slow going around Charleville-Mezieres, due to roadworks. Slowly, the country is becoming more undulating and forest replaces the continuous arable fields. Buzzards were a feature of today. 

At Montmedy, over a cup of tea, we decided to continue to Verdun to camp. 

Montmedy (and below)

Verdun lies on the Meuse river. Rain threatened again as we arrived around 4:45 pm, checking in to the 'Les Breuils' campsite. After setting up, and a brew, we walked into the town, passing the interesting Citadelle Souterraine and walking alongside the river.

The cathedral was large and imposing with fine windows and cloisters. We ate at Restaurant Taste d'Alsace - good salads, fish / steak and puddings. The town centre, even alongside the river, was quiet. Headed back to a campsite lively with tennis, badminton and chatting.

Other features of today's 234 mile journey:

Lots of WWI graveyards around this route.
Meadow cranesbill in the hedgerows; fields of sweetcorn, trees blowing silvery in the wind, looking as if in blossom.
Increasingly undulating terrain.
Many flowery roundabouts.
Verdun - monument with waterfall below, and vast Cathedral Notre Dame

Next day

Optimism, or What?

Sue and I walked part of this route on our 'Italian Border Route' in 2008.

I'll enjoy the book, even if I never get to walk the route, which is the 'Aosta' Alta Via 1, not its more popular Dolomitic  AV1.

No harm in a bit of optimism!

Wednesday 27 January 2021

Summer in the Alps - 2005 - Thursday 4 August - Travel to Montreuil

Summer in the Alps - 4 August to 6 September 2005 

With no immediate prospect of being able to enjoy a trip such as this one, I'm turning the clock back over fifteen years to the joyous summer of 2005. I'd already enjoyed a taste of the Walker's Haute Route, a few weeks after which Sue and I set off in the car on this month long jaunt. 

The pictures from this trip are confusing me - some appear to have been taken with our old Olympus digital camera, others with our newer Canon S70, which is the only source of accurate dating of the images. Sue seems to have used these cameras, whilst I used an old 35mm SLR with Fujifilm. Next to me, as I write, I have a pile of around 300 pictures, with no digital versions that I can find*, so the illustrations in this set of postings will be a mixture of S70/Olympus digital, plus a few scans from the 300 prints. The dates may not be entirely accurate, but who cares!

Setting off from Wokingham

Thursday 4 August - Travel to Montreuil 

Quite a lot of effort was required on 3 August to get all the necessary bits for the car to travel in Europe, and to complete numerous 'admin' matters needed in order to leave the house for a month. 

Anyway, after a busy day, I picked Sue up from work at 4 pm, and by 8 pm we had driven down to Wokingham, where we had a pleasant, if slightly inebriated, evening with Jill and James.


On 4 August, after waving James off to work in his new Jag XK8, the three of us - Jill, Sue and I went for a half-hour stroll in the woods around Woosehill, before Sue and I headed into Reading to find, with difficulty, its Cotswold shop. At first they refused to exchange the climbing harness bought in Manchester two days earlier that Sue found too small - very upsetting for Sue - but after speaking to the Manchester store they changed their minds, so Sue tried on a few harnesses and decided the one I had brought for her in Manchester did fit after all! [She still uses it.] A wasted couple of hours and a slightly stressful period before a gentle drive down to Folkestone for 12:30 where we got a 14:00 Eurotunnel train rather than the 15:00 crossing I'd booked. 

Cappuccinos whilst waiting to be called, then an uneventful ride, and onward drive to Montreuil on a sunny Thursday afternoon in light traffic. We soon we found the amiable campsite and set up on a nice green placement before wandering around the town's impressive ramparts. We enjoyed a cheap meal at La Paloma Pizzeria in the huge central square. Nice to sit outside as the sun slowly went down, then we adjourned to camp for an early night.

Our new car fridge seems to be working nicely, and at the campsite we've seen a kestrel, collared doves, blackbird, thrush, pied wagtails, sparrows and swooping swallows.

* Digital versions (low res on Jessops Picture Suite CDs) now found (31 Jan), completely by chance when looking for something else. Great!

Tuesday 26 January 2021

Monday 25 January 2021 - A Walk around West Sale and the Carrington Estate

Well, I've exhausted 'Haute Route' entries for a while, so it's back to the environs of Timperley. 

Yesterday would have been a perfect day for a visit to the Lake District, or even a recce for one of Jen Darling's walks in Cheshire or the Wirral. But whilst Sue worked from home, I followed the 'Stay at Home apart from exercise' rule and went on a 11 km jaunt from home, so some of the pictures may be familiar to any readers who are still with me.

The top picture is of Baguley Brook at the end of our road. Its level has returned to normal after last week's rain had doubled its width for a couple of days.

The usually muddy path alongside De Quincey Park was nicely frozen with a crisp white surface thanks to an overnight flurry of snow.

From the same spot, I looked back through the small sunlit park.

After Baguley Brook merges with Timperley Brook to form Sinderland Brook, the mud that blights this path throughout the winter was frozen over today, so I could pass through with dry feet, as opposed to taking my normal route through the park.

My route through Sale West takes me briefly to Firsway.

After that the Carrington Estate is entered, for a section along the Trans Pennine Trail (TPT), reached after the next three pictures, taken within the estate, where I discovered the spot where the parakeets that used to live by De Quincey have re-located.

After fumbling with the paths and getting to a flooded section that turned me back (it's obvious from the route map shown below!), I gained the firm surface of the TPT and found my way home via the recycling centre and the Stamford Brook Estate.

On a day when the canal towpath would have been unacceptably crowded, this 11 km route offered the advantage (Covid-wise) of hardly encountering anyone on the paths.

It was a shame not to be able to venture somewhere a bit more scenic on such a lovely day - but that's life at present.

With very little variety to offer by way of postings like this one, I think I'll revert to an Alpine trip - perhaps the summer of 2005 - when it looks as if Sue wielded our digital camera and I recorded the trip on film, the prints from which I'm finding hard to locate.

Monday 25 January 2021

Another Haute Route Trip - August 2011 - Index

The Haute Route - Note, to view these postings from the start, it may be easiest to click here, then click on 'Newer Post' at the foot of each posting.

The Walker's Haute Route, 2005/6 - Index

The Walker's Haute Route - 2005 and 2006

4 and 5 July 2005 - Travel to Zermatt, and Around Zermatt

6 July 2005 - Zermatt to Europa Hut

7 July 2005 - Europa Hut to St Niklaus

8 July 2005 - St Niklaus to Gruben

9 July 2005 - Gruben to Zinal

10 July 2005 - Zinal to Grimentz

11 July 2005 - Grimentz to Geneva

29 August 2006 - Travel to Argentiere

30 August 2006 - Argentiere to Colde la Forclaz

31 August 2006 - Col de la Forclaz to Champex

1 September 2006 - Champex to Le Chable

2 September 2006 - Le Chable to Cabane du Mont Fort

3 September 2006 - Cabane du Mont Fort to Cabane Prafleuri

4 September 2006 - Cabane Prafleuri to Arolla

5 September 2006 - Arolla to La Sage

6 September 2006 - La Sage to Grimentz

7 September 2006 - Grimentz to Timperley

Aperitif: Another Haute route trip - in 2011

The Walker's Haute Route (17)

Our hotel in Grimentz - today's pictures all taken in Grimentz before we left

Thursday 7 September - Grimentz to Timperley

Hilde's 'backpackers rustle' wakes Colin and me in plenty of time for a sumptuous breakfast at 8 am, after which we stroll around the old town in bright sunshine, duplicating yesterday's photos. 

We linger until the 9:50 bus picks us up for the two-stage 50 minute trip to Sierre. 

The train is ten minutes late but still leaves us with at least an hour's wait at Geneva before the nice easyJet people allow us to check in for the flight home. Colin leaves an hour earlier - we all embark on time. 

And this time I found my way quickly from Hilde's after an efficient taxi ride, onto the A50 / M6, and home on a stunningly clear summer evening.