Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018
Showing posts with label Colletts 2018. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Colletts 2018. Show all posts

Thursday, 19 July 2018

'Summer in the Alps' Day 18 - The Glorerhütte Circular

Thursday 19 July 2018

We were joined by Jack from Collett's and fellow guests Colin and Ann for this magnificent walk from the Lucknerhaus car park above Kals.

It was a perfect summer's day with a pretty much cloudless sky. That made for great views to Großglockner, which blotted out a nearby horizon, and great views far and wide in other directions.

The ascent to Glorerhütte was well graded. We passed just a few people on the path and we saw only a handful of folk all day. Sue and I recalled our experience of the Rockies last year - there's a marked contrast; the Alps have the benefit of fewer trees, and a route such as today's in the Rockies could be either crowded out or accessible only by permit.

The hut provided refreshments and apfelstrudel, before we ascended from the 2642 metre hut to the 2821 metre summit of Kastenegg. Whilst the ascent included a short and very easy scramble, the wide summit plateau provided an excellent venue for lunch. We stayed there for some time, and even spotted Graham B on the top of Großglockner.

The descent via paths 713a to Pesichachtorl, then path 67 back to the start, was through more of the beautiful meadows that have graced this trip. Marmots and cows went about their business, ignorant of our presence, as we passed by carpets of Alpine Asters and Vanilla Orchids.

After this relatively short excursion, Colin drove us back to Matrei for further R&R and a final meal at Hotel Hinteregger.

Thanks go to Jo, Jack, Katie, Ali and Ben - the Collett's team - and Katerina and her staff at the hòtel, for helping to make the week so pleasurable, and our team of ten for being excellent company.

Today: 11.5 km, 900 metres ascent
Today's pictures:
The view above Lucknerhaus
Apfelstrudel at Glorerhütte
Glorerhütte and Großglockner
Spring gentians
Our group ascends

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

'Summer in the Alps' Day 17 - Lienz

Wednesday 18 July 2018

Mike and Sarah joined us for a relaxing day in Lienz.

This started with a 2.7 km toboggan run preceded by a chairlift, the Hockstein Gondola, by which we gained a respectable height (300 metres). With a good braking system these sledges on rails gave as much of a thrill as you wanted. Not much in our cases, but it was great fun and I'd certainly have speeded up if Sue had shown signs of catching up with me.

Then we strolled over to a castle, Schloss Bruck. This place was built between 1252 and 1277 by the Counts of Görz and has a tall tower and a rich history.

Refreshments were taken during a phone call to Grandma Dot, then we enjoyed a tour of the castle. It houses a museum, and an art gallery that focuses on the work of a local man, Albin Egger-Lienz (1868-1926).

There's a small chapel in the castle with impressive artistic decoration, including wall frescos dating back to 1490.

After some WW1 education with reference to the White War in this area, we walked to the top of the tower. Impressive views over Lienz and the surrounding area.

A walk into the old town saw us scoffing lunch in Café Cappuccino at 3pm! Doesn't time fly when you are enjoying yourself!

Returning to Matrei after a further forage into the recesses of Lienz's old town, we were soon installed in Hotel Rauter (next door to Hinteregger) for Blue Trout (for nine of us - Andrew chose Goat) in celebration of Helen's recent big birthday. The meal was classy, but the trout wasn't very blue. Perhaps not quite as blue as Helen's mum Joan remembers it from her visit in 1952...

Today: 3 km around Lienz
Today's pictures:
The Lienzer Dolomiten from the top of the Hockstein gondola
Mike the toboganist
Elevenses with Dot
Frescos at Schloss Bruck
Lienz from the Tower
Lienz old town

'Summer in the Alps' Day 16 - Türmljoch

Tuesday 17 July 2018

An overcast day with good views but annoying showers.

Thirteen of us, including Sue and me, and Thomas and Andrea from our group of ten, and Jo from Collett's, drove to Hinterbichl to catch the 9.30 taxi up a private road to Johannishütte (2121 metres). This proved a good way to ascend about 600 metres. €12 each well spent.

With rain sheeting down, Sue and I were joined by John and Claire for coffees before setting off in lighter rain behind the other nine, weaving slowly up the mountainside on the good path. The strong coffee saw me rapidly overhaul the rest of the group, but it gave Claire a funny turn! She soon caught up though.

Last time we were on Türmljoch, a 2772 metre pass, it snowed. Today it was just drizzly. We spent a little while there, admiring both Sticky Primroses and Least Primroses once we had established from our flower book which was which, before descending the good path with views across to Simonysee, towards Essener-Rostocker Hütte (2207 metres). A sheltered glade on the way down provided a good spot for lunch, with views across to yesterday's panoramic belvedere walk.

There was more rain while we were hot chocolating in the hut. A game of dominoes passed the time until the rain stopped and we descended back to the cars past a distressed cow in the process of being rescued, through flower strewn meadows full of Martagon Lilies, orchids, columbines,  monkshood, black rampion, angelica and tall woolly thistles, without any further need to deploy our waterproof clothing.

We passed Stoanalm but on this occasion we eschewed its attractions of refreshments.

Beyond a kletterpark, a right turn took us to a path beside a river that thundered down a narrow gorge. Avalanche debris lower down had resulted in the path to Hinterbichl being re-routed. We emerged there in fine weather at around 5.15pm after a thoroughly enjoyable walk.

Today: 18km, 800 metres ascent
Today's pictures:
The view back to Johannishütte and yesterday's hills
Sticky primrose
Least primrose
Martagon lily

Monday, 16 July 2018

'Summer in the Alps' Day 15 - Berger-See-Hütte Circuit

Monday 16 July 2018

Sue and I were joined by Andrea and Thomas for this lovely walk to the south of Pragraten in the Virgental valley.

Time constraints preclude a detailed entry, but suffice to say we all enjoyed a fine day out with wonderful views despite the occasional rain shower.

A long haul up to the hut saw us travelling only marginally faster than two small children. But we were there in time to be enjoying a plate of apfelstrudel by the time the hail started. In order to remain dry, this necessitated a long stop. 

A rain free walk to a small bothy for lunch saw us sheltering from more precipitation. I was furthest in, so hardly noticed the rain.

A belvedere path used by motor cycles to supply the hut took us to a lookout adorned with a wooden pyramidal structure at 2375 metres - the day's high point.

The belvedere continued along the Lasörling Hohenweg, with fine views of the Venediger range, before dropping sedately to the Lasnitzenalm Hütte at 1900 metres, surrounded by friendly cows.

After more refreshments we continued down a motorable track to a left turn at a hairpin bend. This took us down to path number 68, signed to Pragraten. Large beds of wild strawberries were soon encountered.

Eventually reaching the car at around 5.45pm, we were back at Hotel Hinteregger by soon after 6pm, our latest finish of the trip so far.

Today: 18km, 1200 metres ascent
Today's pictures:
The Virgental
Lunch in a bothy
Yellow Rattle
On the belvedere path
Belvedere viewpoint

Herb Paris was seen today, as well as many different saxifrage and orchids.

Sunday, 15 July 2018

'Summer in the Alps' Day 14 - The Lienzer Dolimiti

Sunday 15 July 2018

A group of 13 of us drove up to the Dolomiten Hütte, situated in a wonderful spot at 1620 metres up a toll road to the south of Lienz.

Sylvia was left to potter about whilst the rest of us headed steeply upwards at a brisk pace with frequent pauses. We were accompanied by Jo and Ben of the Collett's staff. Ben only started his job this week, straight from Uni. He's doing fine and can't believe how lucky he is to be working in this mountain environment when many of his friends are stuck in offices.

Some wires on the 'protected path' aided us up to a minor col with fine views on another day of good weather after rain in the night. We passed a salamander that appeared to be in the process of being eaten alive by ants.

Heading on up to the Karlsbader Hütte (2260 metres), John and Claire took an alternative route via a short via ferrata. The rest of us continued over steep ground to reach a driveable track leading to the hut.

Lunch was taken by Laserz See, a small lake with good reflections, then Graham, Sue and I strolled around the lake whilst the others adjourned to the hut for beverages.

A lovely path across a scree slope provided the start of an increasingly steep descent back through woodland to the superbly positioned Dolomiten Hütte, where refreshments were taken indoors due to the threat of a storm that dissolved into sunshine.

Today: 11km, 1000 metres ascent
Today's pictures:
A view from Dolomiten Hütte
Woolly Thistle
On the wires
Approaching Karlsbader Hütte
Lunch at Laserz See

Saturday, 14 July 2018

'Summer in the Alps' Day 13 - The Europa-Panoramaweg

Saturday 14 July 2018

We are now are miscellany of 10, amongst various other guests of Collett's, including Graham and Mary who we know from previous Collett's trips.

Sue and me
Mike and Sarah
Ken and Helen (Ottawa)
Andrea and Thomas (Heidelberg, previously Timperley)
Graham B
Andrew (aka 'Notchy')
We are unfortunately missing David O, who had to pull out.

Today five of us - Sue, me, Mike, Sarah and Andrew, strolled down to the Goldriedbergbahnen gondola and spent a comfy 15 minutes being whisked from 932 metres to 2146 metres.

With cloud on only the highest tops, and eventually even that more or less cleared, it was a lovely day for the panoramic walk to the café at Kals-Matreir-Torl (2207 metres). Mike and Sarah enjoyed an apfelstrudel whilst coffees sorted out the rest of us.

Then the gentle ascent to Libanolkopf (2539 metres) proved a bit too much for Andrew, who wasn't seen again until beer o'clock at 6pm.

The four of us descended to a bench by a path junction for lunch, after which we took a lovely belvedere path back to the café. Here Mike and Sarah decided to head back along the morning's route - thereby forming a lollipop route, whereas Sue and I continued up to Cimaross (2405 metres) before returning to the gondola, thus forming a capital 'B' shaped route. And very good it was too, with fine views to 'almost clear of cloud' Großglockner, which Ken set off to climb today.

Meanwhile, Helen went on a short walk to an alm, and Graham, Andrea and Thomas joined other Collett's guests on a longer walk.

The evening in the hotel restaurant was very sociable.

Today: 11km, 850 metres ascent
Today's pictures:
The view from our window at Hotel Hinteregger
Bearded Bellflower
Mike and Sarah above Material
Sue gives birth to an apfelstrudel!
A view to Großglockner

'Summer in the Alps' Day 12 - Corvara to Matrei

Friday 13 July 2018

After recent exertions, Sue and I were happy to have a rest day, albeit involving a 360 mile drive from our base in the Dolomites to our new HQ, Matrei, in the Hohe Tauern region of Austria.

We drove via Munich, where we picked up Mike and Sarah from EZY1887 at around 5.30.

En route to Munich, on a beautifully sunny day, we had paused for our last elevenses in Italy for a while, at a hotel in Trens, shortly before taking the motorway over the Brenner Pass into Austria.

The top picture shows a house in Trens that features artwork by its most famous 'son', one Innozenz Anton Warathy, 1694 - 1758.

Lunch was outside a service station near some terribly scarred mountains. Not by avalanches as I first thought, but by extensive quarrying.

Despite heavy traffic we were early for EZY1887, which was just a bit late, allowing us time for a leisurely drink in a Thai café in Freising, a few minutes from the airport.

Leaving Andrew (who was on the same flight) to collect his luggage and sort out his hire car, we whisked Mike and Sarah off to the Hinteregger Hotel in Matrei, arriving at 9.20 after a nearly four hour journey that progressed from long queues of traffic to beautiful mountain scenery in the soft evening light.

Jo from Collett's was on hand to greet us and the hotel manager, Katerina, who we met here last year, was as jolly as ever and set about meeting all our needs, including beer, soup and a meat and cheese buffet.

Andrew arrived, a little flustered after his BMW's satnav had confused him by attempting to communicate with him in German, at around 10.30 - so beer o'clock for Andrew was later than usual. The rest of our group had all arrived safely, much earlier.
Today's pictures:
Artwork in Trens
Tea etc in Freising
Evening light near Kitzbuhel (2)

Friday 13th. We thought we'd got away without any more serious an incident than the repeated inability of our Skoda to detect either of our keys despite them both being next to the ignition button, until on arrival at Hotel Hinteregger we were directed straight to Room 101.

Friday, 13 July 2018

'Summer in the Alps' Day 11 - The Porta Vescovo Ridge

Thursday 12 July 2018

Our last day in the Dolomites, and a walk we always enjoy.

Sue and I took a half hour drive behind three coaches full of school children, to Passo Pordoi. The walk along the Porta Vescovo ridge is familiar to us. We soon left the main thoroughfare that was strewn with Globeflowers and headed over the knobbly ridge. Sue found some (fewer than usual) King of the Alps flowers on the summit; I later spotted a few lower down after I failed to reach the summit as, together with a Swedish family, I didn't fancy the scramble to the top.

Descending to the lower path, we joined the walkers and riders on our walk almost as far as the Gorza rifugio, where the schoolchildren had broken into song.

Lunch over, we headed back to Passo Pordoi along the easy lower path, past swathes of Marsh Orchids, calling in at Rifugio Viel dal Pan for some refreshing cokes along the way.

Cloud cleared from all the mountains, leaving us with panoramic mountain views including Marmolada and Piz Boë.

An easy drive back (by 4.15) left us with plenty of time to enjoy our last evening with a number of folk whose company we have enjoyed during the course of the week.

Today: 13km, 900 metres ascent. 

Today's pictures:
Piz Boë from the start of our walk
Marmolada with Martin
Tufted Leopardsbane
The view from Rif Viel dal Pan to Lago di Fedoia
Globeflowers and the Sassolungo massif

Amazing, 'Postcards from Timperley' now number over 3000 postings!

Thursday, 12 July 2018

'Summer in the Alps' Day 10 - The Azalea Terrace

Wednesday 11 July 2018

With more rain - and perhaps thunderstorms - forecast, we decided on a lower level walk today. The 460 bus to Pedraces was taken, whence the two chairlifts to Santa Croce. Sarah, Liz and Xena joined us on the bus and for the rest of the day.

After the terrifying ordeal of the chairlifts, Liz managed to calm her shaking legs and join us for a coffee in the rifugio. This is the starting point of several of the Collett's walks, including one known as the Azalea Terrace, which heads down path 15 to La Villa.

The Santa Croce rifugio is also used by Collett's in the burgeoning 'hut to hut' side of their business. More and more people are booking trips that combine a few days at one of their valley bases with a tailored, self guided, hut to hut tour. It certainly takes the hassle out of making hut bookings, as Emma from Collett's is fluent in Italian and there's no worry about deposit payments.

Anyway, suitably refreshed and calmed, off we went along the fairly busy woodland trail that descends slowly towards La Villa. There are frequent views through the trees to Sassongher, which today had an intermittent cap of cloud. Behind us, the Fanes summits were clear.

We took a longer way down as the weather was holding, leaving path 15 in favour of 15A, which brought us out on the edge of Armentarola, from where an easy walk past sculptures down the valley past San Cassiano to La Villa was followed by an amble past a pair of dippers up the Tort valley to Corvara, reached by 3.30. Lunch had been taken in a lovely flower meadow backed by the Conturines summits, on the way down to Armentarola.

S, L and X joined us in Chalet Roch, where our path emerged in Corvara, for tea/coffee and a perusal of our 2017 Austrian photobook, before returning to Chalet Angelo via a feeding station.

A fairly quick turnaround saw us first in the queue for pizzas at Pizzeria Fornella. Excellent. Unlike the football that saw England finally eliminated by Croatia in the semi finals of the football World Cup.

Today: 17km, 500 metres ascent. 

Today's pictures:
Bus stop view of Sassongher, in Corvara
On a bench, ready to go
View from a picnic lunch spot
Self heal
On the Badia sculpture trail - 'Figöra de ëra sentada'

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

'Summer in the Alps' Day 9 - Col Di Lana

Tuesday 10 July

More cloud this morning. Brian and Sue went off to Bolzano and we awaited a rendezvous with Sarah, Liz and Xena, who are staying at Chalet Angelo. I drove us to Pieve and along a narrow road to the Col Di Lana car park.

Initially in woods, in the presence of nutcrackers, we endured a short shower and passed through meadows rich in Vanilla Orchids and Round-headed Orchids. There was also Moonwort, a strange plant brought to our attention by flower man David. It is absent from our main reference book, but David assures us that it's a type of fern that dates back to the dinosaur period.

We slowly wound our way upwards, reaching a path junction in a meadow of Spotted Gentians and Wolfsbane.

Here we split, with Sue and Xena heading up to the main summit of Col di Lana at 2452 metres, and thence along the fractured ridge to the lower north western summit named Cima Sief (2424 metres). In a (successful) bid to relieve Liz of any vertigo worries, she and Sarah and I took a lower route, the Teriol Ladin path, through wonderful flower laden meadows, before taking a right fork and rising briskly to Cima Sief, arriving about a minute before Xena and Sue, who reports as follows:

"After leaving the others, Xena and I climbed to a chapel, the lunch hut we've used previously, and a summit cross. The path, strewn with Saxifrage, led downwards, beneath wooden structures, and into a series of tunnels. Torches were useful to explore a few metres of the once kilometre long tunnels that opened out at vantage points. More wires aided our descent to the crater made by a 45,000 kg Austrian bomb, now a jumble of rocks. A last ascent brought us to the final summit, where the others were waiting."

As the sun was out, despite the fact that we were encircled by grey cloud, we enjoyed lunch here before descending the ridge via a long series of reconstructed trenches. The flowers were spectacular - many Saxifrages, Rhaetian Poppies and Glacier Crowfoot. Stonechats and wheatears fussed as we passed.

Under a greyer sky, light rain fell as we traversed the Teriol Ladin path to the north east of the ridge, past pink Alpenrose and numerous Spotted Gentians. A snow patch yielded some Dwarf Snowbells, Spring Pasque Flower and Alpine Pasque Flowers.

Climbing to a ridge, Liz almost stood on an adder that hurriedly hid from us, leaving a stunned frog to attempt an escape. We then had to ascend to a minor outlying summit on a narrow path. This path wound down the hillside before contouring high above a couple of valleys. A slow worm was encountered.

On one corner was a Cobweb Houseleek in vibrant flower.

Back in the woods, the Teriol Ladin path continued to descend on a well constructed belvedere, where we encountered an English family with two dogs - the only people we met all day - before returning to the car at around 4.45pm.

We had just managed to avoid some heavy rain that lasted for the next few hours.

Back to Chalet Angelo for drinks, then showers at Chalet Roch. It was pouring with rain for our short walk to Gran Fanes for dinner, spent with Jack and Emma from Collett's. 

Today: 12km, 1100 metres ascent.  Sue and Xena did a bit more.

Today's pictures:
Setting off from the car park above Pieve
The view towards Marmalada
Roseroot and Spotted Gentian
Approaching Cima Sief's summit
The view to Setsas

With thanks to Sue for many of the words herein.